About This Site

Welcome to Amazing Tap Handles - The Tap Handle Museum. Here you will find photos of the Museum's collection of beer taps, along with brewery info. Have a look around the Museum, and use the contact form in sidebar to leave me feedback about the site, talk about taps, or if you have a rare tap handle you'd like to sell to the Museum. I'd love to hear from you! Please, no inquires about buying taps - they're not for sale.

Copyright Legalities

Photos or tap descriptions used in this blog may not be misrepresented as your own. Photos may not be used for financial gain whatsoever, as the uniqueness of the photo would unfairly associate a seller's product and reputation with this site. Tap descriptions may be used word for word as long as this blog is cited as the source, and a link is provided to this site.

Brewery history may not be used for any reason without citing the blog post or original source from which it was taken, and providing a link to such.

Failure to follow the guidelines above is a violation of Copyright Law, which protects original works of ownership.

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Thursday, December 31, 2015

Tap Handle #555: State Street - Amber Ale

Tap size:  15.25" tall x 5.5" wide
Rarity:  Scarce
Mounting:  internal 3/8" nut

Made to look like an actual street pole during the early 1900s Chicago (which you can barely see in front of the OG Shoes sign in the photo to the right), State Street's tap handle is monster: at 15.25" tall it is one of the tallest in the collection. and thanks to the signs on top, the width is 5.5", forcing me to move my stage back to take some of the photos. The pole itself is fairly simple but is made of metal, giving the tap a heavy, solid feel. The street signs are plastic and nicely done; metallic green paint was used for the color, which makes the signs highly reflective. The front and back are identical to each other, as are the two sides to each other, so I've taken a smaller number of photos. Due to the fact that the brewery was small (their beers were contract brewed) and that they were only in existence for two years in the 1990s, this tap is very scarce - I've never seen another.

State Street is a large south-north street in Chicago, Illinois, USA and its south suburbs. It begins at North Avenue, the south end of Lincoln Park, runs south through the heart of Downtown Chicago, and ends at the southern city limits, intersecting 127th Street along the bank of the Little Calumet River. Its intersection with Madison Street has marked the base point for Chicago's address system since 1909. In its early days, State Street became a shopping destination during the 1900s when it was considered one of the busiest streets in the world. It is home to several landmark buildings, including the Chicago Archbishop's Mansion, The Original Playboy Mansion, Holy Name Cathedral, Chicago Theater, and many others. It is referred to in the song "Chicago," sung by Frank Sinatra, where Sinatra refers it to "State Street, that great street."

Click through to read what little I could find on State Street Brewing and to see more photos of this scarce tap...

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Tap Handle #554: Jack Daniel's Distillery - Old No. 7 Black Label Tennessee Whiskey Bottle

Tap size:  8.75"
Rarity:  Scarce
Mounting:  internal 3/8" nut

As I've stated in the past, although the primary focus of this site is beer taps, I will occasionally acquire taps representing spirits or root beer. Although I'd like to have a tap from the short-lived Jack Daniel's Brewery, this tap from their Distillery is a nice consolation. I really like taps that resemble bottles or glasses and look as if they have alcohol in them. This actually has the appearance of a real Jack Daniel's whiskey bottle, although it is acrylic rather than glass. If there's one nitpick I have, it's that the back is flat rather than being "full-figured" all the way around; otherwise it's a brilliant tap. Jack Daniel's is not available on tap at bars and restaurants, nor is it available in the distillery, which lies in a county that still practices prohibition. Instead these taps were made as promotional pieces for their tasting room that lies in the next county, and are incredibly rare. For a brief period they were available on the secondary market (at high prices) when a tap manufacturer's old stock was liquidated; since then, no others have appeared.

Click through to read more about Jack Daniel's Distillery, their Old No. 7 Black Label Tennessee Whiskey, and to see more photos of this spirited tap...

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Tap Handle #553: Jever - Friesland Pilsner

Tap size:  9.75"
Rarity:  Scarce
Mounting:  internal 3/8" nut

Jever beer coaster featuring
the Westhever Lighthouse
This is a rather unusual tap - the top is a lighthouse, but the bottom looks like a glass of beer. The lighthouse top is very similar in appearance the one found on to Cisco's Sankaty Light tap handle. Although I'm not quite sure which lighthouse it represents, I believe it might be the Westerhever Lighthouse, which lies northeast of Jever across the North Sea. There are other, closer lighthouses to Jever, but for some reason this lighthouse has some kind of significance to the brewery (see the coaster to the upper right). Turning attention back to the tap, in what I consider a nice touch, the brewery's name appears as raised green letters on the surface of the beer glass, rather than being a decal. Speaking of decals, there is one under the brewery's name that states the beer variety. Near the top is another decal with an image of the old brewery and the words "Aus Dem Friesischen Brauhaus Zu Jever" which means "From The Friesian Brewery In Jever". A third decal is found near the bottom and it reads "Imported From Germany", which means this tap was most likely used in the U.S. The front and back are identical to each other, as are the two sides to each other, so I have only taken half of the photos I normally take. The tap is quite scarce; although the Jever Brewery is well-known and successful, it is not on the same marketing level as Heineken or St. Pauli, so these are quite hard to find. Thanks to the simplistic design, they are fairly affordable despite the scarcity.

Click through to read more about the Jever Brewery, their highly regarded Friesland Pilsner, and to see more photos of this enlightening tap...

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Tap Handle #552: Forgotten Boardwalk

Tap size:  11.75"
Rarity:  Scarce
Mounting:  standard 3/8" ferrule on 5/16" anchor bolt

If you thought this tap was associated with Alice in Wonderland, you can be forgiven for being wrong, as I thought the exact same thing when I initially acquired it. Although it does bear a strong resemblance to the Cheshire Cat, the main difference is the third eye on the cat on the label. This feral cat, called "Growler", is the official mascot of the brewery, and she was chosen due to the numerous feral cats living under the New Jersey boardwalk. The third eye represents "all-seeing", or in other words, Growler's knowledge of strange tales that have happened along the Jersey shoreline for many years. The paint scheme and sculpting are simple yet appealing, and although no variety appears on the tap label, this tap was not used for all varieties; in fact, the brewery has many colorful variations (see photo at upper right). I've seen about 5 others on the secondary market, making this tap scarce, although the simplicity helps keep the price inexpensive.

Click through to read more about Forgotten Boardwalk Brewing and to see more photos of this curious tap...

Monday, December 21, 2015

Tap Handle #551: Grupo Modelo - Negra Modelo Dia De Los Muertos Calavera Skull Candle

Tap size:  11"
Rarity:  Rare
Mounting:  internal 3/8" nut

This Negra Modelo tap celebrates Dia De Los Muertos, or Day of the Dead. It features a candle base with melted wax running down it (and pooled at the bottom), as well as a skull-shaped candle with a sculpted flame tip at the top. The skull is painted with intricate folk art patterns and has marigolds in the eyes; it is referred to as a calavera skull candle. There is an alternate version used for the Modelo Especial brand that is similar but does not feature the flame tip on top. These taps have exploded onto the secondary market in large numbers, but demand has helped to keep prices high.

Calaveras (skulls) are probably the most recognizable emblems of the Day of the Dead. Calaveras are whimsical caricatures - most commonly drawings - of skulls or skeletons. In most cases, calaveras are depicted in humorous settings, often in scenes depicting traditional activities. Candles are lit to guide spirits back to their home. Marigolds symbolize death, and their strong fragrance also helps lead the dead back to their home.

Click through to read more about Grupo Modelo, their Negra Modelo Vienna-style lager, and to see more photos of this symbolic tap...

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Tap Handle #550: Harpoon - UFO Pumpkin Ale

Tap size:  13.25"
Rarity:  Unknown
Mounting:  internal 3/8" nut

Despite currently being the 15th largest craft brewery in the country and the 21st largest overall, this is Harpoon's first tap profile on this site. They have never seemed inspired to produce figural taps...the ones that they do produce can be classified as "toy on a stick", which describes the tap that I'm profiling in this post. Had the tap not been included with a group of other taps I purchased, I wouldn't have gone out of my way to seek it out. The base is made of turned wood and has some paint peeling, and the oval pumpkin is made of foam and will eventually degrade. I'm not even sure that it is legitimate version of the tap - I've never seen another with this oval-shaped pumpkin...all of the other UFO Pumpkin taps I've seen have a pumpkin that is more round and made of resin. Those taps are easy to find and inexpensive.

Click through to read more about of Harpoon Brewing, their UFO Pumpkin Ale, and to see more photos of the tap...

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Tap Handle #549: Blind Pig - English Style Ale

Tap size:  10.5"
Rarity:  Scarce
Mounting:  internal 3/8" nut

When I first had the opportunity to acquire this tap, I hesitated, as I was unwilling to pay a lot of money for a "pig head on a stick". However, after researching the brewery history behind the tap, and discovering that the brewery has been closed for many years, when I got a second chance at the tap for a very reasonable price I pulled the trigger. Although it is somewhat crude in its sculpting and painting, and truly being a "pig head on a stick", there is still something quite satisfying about owning it. It probably has something to do with its place in brewing history - Blind Pig is recognized for creating the first Double (Imperial) American IPA - or perhaps it's the scarcity...either way, it is a welcome addition to the collection. Russian River, which revived the brand in 2006, used graphics on the label and taps that are very similar to the original Blind Pig's graphics, with the main difference being the gold medal award listed on the original graphics, and Russian River appearing as the brewery name on the newer graphics. Russian River's tap features a cane instead of a pig head (see photo to upper right). Since the Blind Pig Brewery has been gone since 1997, this tap is incredibly scarce - I believe I have only ever seen 3-4 others.

Click through to read more about Blind Pig Brewing, their English Style Ale, and to see more photos of this unsightly tap...

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Tap Handle #548: Genesee - J.W. Dundee's Original Honey Brown Lager

Tap size:  12.75" tall by 4" wide
Rarity:  Very Rare
Mounting:  flared 3/8" ferrule on 5/16" anchor bolt

Way back in tap profile #83, I profiled a Dundee Honey Brown tap featuring a drumming bee. This tap, which features a brewmaster admiring his product, represents the same beer before its name was changed. First created in 1994, J.W. Dundee's Honey Brown Lager had its name changed to Dundee Honey Brown in 2008, so that dates this tap sometime between 1994 and 2008. Needless to say, it's been at least 7 years since these taps were in use, and they are quite rare. I've seen maybe less than a dozen over the past couple of years, and though they are reasonably priced, all were missing the label. This tap was used for all J.W. Dundee varieties, which included Amber Lager and Pale Ale. If you have mounting restrictions, it's best to mount this with the arm facing forward, since that protruding arm gives the tap a 4" width, making it wider than most other taps.

For more about J.W. Dundee, see this post.

Click through to see more photos of this uplifting tap...

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Tap Handle #547: Icehouse (Miller) - Racing Piston

Tap size:  10.75"
Rarity:  Scarce
Mounting:  internal 3/8" nut

There are several racing-themed taps created by Miller - the MGD Rusty Wallace stock car and the Bobby Rahal Indy car are two that I've profiled so far - and this Icehouse Racing piston is part of that theme. If this was metal, it would be extremely heavy, but instead it is resin and is deceptively light. I have no idea what purpose it was made for, but it had to be a special event, because these are very scarce - I've only seen 4 others.

For more about Icehouse, see this post.

Click through to see more photos of this dynamic tap...

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Tap Handle #546: Sazerac - Fireball Cinnamon Whisky

Tap size:  10.75"
Rarity:  Scarce
Mounting:  standard 3/8" ferrule on 5/16" anchor bolt

Although the vast majority of taps on this site are beer brands, occasionally I will acquire other types of taps, such as hard cider or root beer, which are not uncommon to see on tap in a pizza place, restaurant or bar. Take a moment to think on this: how often do you see a tap featuring spirits (alcohol, not ghosts) at such places? The answer is pretty much never. I suspect these types of taps are made for special occasions, which makes them incredibly rare. This one features the devilish figurehead for Fireball, done in bas-relief style, against a black background. The name appears just below the figure in raised white letters, and under that is a decal of a fireball and the words "Cinnamon Whisky". At the bottom is another decal of the catchphrase "Tastes Like Heaven Burns Like Hell". The front and back are reverse images of each other, and the color scheme is the same as Northwest's Hoppy Bitch and Rapscallion taps. Earlier this year, a few of these Fireball taps hit the secondary market at great prices, considering the scarcity, and they haven't been seen since.

Fun fact: mixing Fireball with Angry Orchard creates a great cinnamon apple drink. Some call it Fiery Orchard; the immature kid in me prefers the name Angry Balls.

Click through to read more about The Sazerac Company, their Fireball Cinnamon Whisky, and to see more photos of this fiery tap...

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Tap Handle #545: Fortnight - Porter

Tap size:  11.5"
Rarity:  Rare
Mounting:  internal 3/8" nut

The Fortnight lion tap is much better in person - photos don't really do it justice. Resembling marble-sculpted lion statues that you would see at the entrance to an estate, this tap actually looks like real marble, thanks to the beautiful paint job and the cracks and chips sculpted into it. The lion sits on a pedestal and holds a shield under one paw. The shield is where the beer label is attached. At the top of the pedestal, both front and back, the brewery's name is carved and painted black. Overall its a really beautiful tap. They have become easy to find, and as a result are very inexpensive on the secondary market.

Click through to read more about Fortnight Brewing, their Porter Ale, and to see more photos of this stately tap...

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Tap Handle #544: Beer Army

Tap size:  12.25"
Rarity:  Rare
Mounting:  standard 3/8" ferrule on 5/16" anchor bolt

From the moment I first saw this tap I knew I had to have one. The military theme is amazingly well done - the main feature  is the shaft of the tap, which is modeled to represent a .50 caliber bullet. A huge dog tag is attached to the bullet on both the front and back, with a recessed area within the tags where a label can be placed, and beaded chain connects the two tags together. I have several labels (pictured to the right) but I have chosen to profile their Heroes Never Die IPA. At the very top of the tap is a small red eagle with a banner of four stars arcing above its wings, and the Beer Army's emblem, featuring a devil dog, appears on the front of the eagle like a shield. Down each side of the shaft, between the dog tags, the brewery's name appears as recessed letters. I love that copper-colored ferrule as well! The front and back are identical to each other, as are the two sides to each other, so I have only taken photos of one side. The tap is rare, although if you want one you can go to eBay and find it from seller rpandre2 for a very reasonable price. You'd be buying it directly from Beer Army, so a portion of the sales helps fund the Beer Army Foundation's scholarship program. Although the brewery is no longer in existence, I was able to talk to Scott Andrews, the Public Affairs Officer for Beer Army, and found out that they have survived by using contract brewing, as well as through their Outpost bar and their Burger Company. So buy a tap, and support a good cause and the Beer Army too, for as they say, "if you drink beer, you're in the Beer Army!"

Click through to read more about Beer Army, their Heroes Never Die IPA, and to see more photos of this always faithful tap...

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Tap Handle #543: Snow Dog Brewing - Vail Snow Dog Ale

Tap size:  14.5"
Rarity:  Scarce
Mounting:  custom 3/8" ferrule on 5/16" anchor bolt

You can't help but be impressed by the massive size of this Vail Snow Dog Ale tap handle - it's huge! Shaped like a giant femur bone, it is made of plastic and is very lightweight, almost like a large toy bone. The label is attached to a thick, round, clear acrylic piece that appears to be glued to the tap, and there is one on each side. The ferrule used is quite unique, with a lip around the outside of it, allowing the bottom of the bone to fit inside of it. Since the brewery has been gone for many years, as you might expect this tap is very scarce - I have never seen another.

Click through to read what little information I could find on Snow Dog Brewing, their Vail Snow Dog Ale, and to see more photos of this monstrous tap...

Monday, November 23, 2015

Tap Handle #542: Gordon Biersch - Festbier

Tap size:  11"
Rarity:  Uncommon
Mounting:  large 3/8" ferrule on 5/16" anchor bolt

This is the first of two Gordon Biersch snowglobe taps I own. There were 4 different varieties, each with a unique scene within the snowglobe, and the bases have different colors as well. The base is sculpted as a group of wheat stalks with a rope tied around them. The brewery's name and the beer variety appear on the signage below the wheat tips. Inside the snowglobe, a serving girl carries a mug of beer in each hand. Off to the side is a striped pole with a banner attached to it. Behind the girl is a maypole with colored streamers attached to it. Inside the globe is a small amount of glitter, which is what gives a snowglobe its appeal. Usually you would tip and shake the tap to agitate the glitter for a nice effect, but I wouldn't recommend it in this case. The banner is very loosely attached to the striped pole, as are the streamers to the maypole; I've seen some examples of the tap that received too much shaking, and the banner or the maypole streamers had come loose, sitting on the bottom. Snowglobes are also prone to getting large air bubbles that form at the top and detract from the appearance; so far, mine is bubble-free. There were hundreds of these taps made, so they are easy to find on the secondary market and priced very reasonably.

For more about Gordon Biersch, see this post.

Click through to read more about Gordon Biersch's Festbier and to see more photos of this exquisite tap...

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Tap Handle #541: Fairhope - I Drink Therefore I Amber Ale

Tap size:  12"
Rarity:  Scarce
Mounting:  internal 3/8" nut

Fairhope's pelican mascot that appears on their tap handle was named "Hugh" by some brewery customers and "Chester" by others. The colors and details on this tap are beautiful; the pelican is sitting on a post made to look like wood. The brewery's name is sculpted in raised letters at the top of the sign, while the beer variety appears as a decal under the brewery's name. At the bottom is a metal band with rivets in it. The tap is very rare, in part due to its fragility; I believe I have only seen maybe a half dozen that weren't damaged, and for those taps the price was quite expensive.

Click through to read more about Fairhope Brewing, their I Drink Therefore I Amber Ale, and to see more photos of this majestic tap...

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Tap Handle #540: Rabbit Hole - 10/6 English IPA

Tap size:  12"
Rarity:  Rare
Mounting:  internal 3/8" nut

Rabbit Hole's tap handle is the second of the three Alice In Wonderland themed taps that are in the Museum's collection (the first was Mellow Mushroom's Bogart Ale in profile #454). Featuring a gigantic top hat, there is a pocket watch just below the brewery's name at the top of the hat. A sculpted gold chain wraps around the back of the hat and is attached to the pocket watch's handle. Below the pocket watch is a recessed rectangular area where the beer label is placed (see right). I have a label for each of their core beers, but I've chosen to profile 10/6, since it just seems to fit with the hat and theme so well. At the bottom of the hat is a purple wrap. I can't find any information on why the brewers settled on the Alice in Wonderland theme, but if I do I'll add that in the future. The tap is rare but commands a higher price than you'd expect on the secondary market.

Click through to read more about Rabbit Hole Brewing, their 10/6 English IPA, and to see more photos of this maddening tap...

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Tap Handle #539: Mountain Creek - FOH L. Ale

Tap size:  10.25"
Rarity: Very Rare
Mounting:  standard 3/8" ferrule on 5/16" anchor bolt

The FOH bartender is a really nice tap. Sporting a mustache, red vest and bow tie, and white apron over black slacks and shoes, this well-dressed character holds a frothing mug of beer in his left hand while his right hand rests behind his back. The bartender stands on a platform that has the name of the beer sculpted in red and black letters on the front. The glossy finish makes it difficult to photograph...a matte finish would have been preferred here. Probably the most curious feature on the tap is the name of the beer itself. FOH means Front-Of-House, which refers to the front of a restaurant. FOH supervisors normally deal with staff and issues that directly involve the customers. But what does the "L. Ale" mean? "L" could stand for lite or perhaps lodge, but is unlikely to be lager, as you wouldn't refer to a brew as a "Lager Ale", so this remains a mystery, as does the upside down necktie within the letter O. A few years ago these were very scarce...more recently, a small amount of them hit the secondary market, and since then the supply has dried up. Considering that the tap is used for only one contract brewed ale in a few restaurants and taverns at or near the Mountain Creek resort in New Jersey, I would expect this tap to be pretty hard to find.

Click through to read more about Mountain Creek, their FOH L. Ale, and to see more photos of this dapper tap...

Friday, November 13, 2015

Tap Handle #538: Leinenkugel - Summer Shandy

Tap size:  13.25"
Rarity:  Uncommon
Mounting:  standard 3/8" ferrule on 5/16" anchor bolt

This tap is very similar to the Leinenkugel Sunset Wheat canoe I posted back in profile #203, but the color is different (white vs. blue), and the top features a whole lemon embedded in the tip of the canoe rather than the orange slice in the previous entry. These canoes became so popular that the brewery created additional figural toppers to cover more varieties. I wasn't really looking to acquire this one since I already had the Sunset Wheat, but it arrived as part of a group purchase, making it icing on the cake, and led to the purchase of a third canoe, which will be profiled in a future post.

For more about Leinenkugel, see this post.

Click through to read more about Leinenkugel's Summer Shandy and to see more photos of this splashing tap...

Tap Handle #537: Barrel Harbor

Tap size:  11"
Rarity:  Rare
Mounting:  internal 3/8" nut

This has to be one of the coolest taps released in the past year. Featuring a squid on a stack of barrels with an elongated skull, it reminds me a bit of H. P. Lovercraft's Cthulu work, which I am a big fan of. There are lots of great details here - the suckers on each of the squid's tentacles, the rope wrapped around the pier, the metal bands around the barrels (and the faux wood grain on those barrels), and the coral on the base with the gold star above it (I have no idea what the star signifies). On the thin platform beneath the barrels, decals all the way around indicate the brewery's name. There is no place to put a label for variety, so the tap is used for all of Barrel Harbor's beers (I chose to profile their highly regarded Brown Ale). At one time this tap was scarce and hard to get, but it has since moved to rare status and is more easily attainable.

Click through to read more about Barrel Harbor Brewing and to see more photos of this awesome and imaginative, yet creepy, tap...

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Tap Handle #536: Grand Canyon Brewing - Sacred Saguaro Vienna Lager

Tap size:  11.5"
Rarity:  Rare
Mounting:  internal 3/8" nut

It has been quite some time since I profiled a tap from Grand Canyon Brewing - profile #130, to be specific - which was quite literally years ago. I had always admired this rare seasonal tap featuring a Saguaro cactus, but I had always passed on them due to price until I finally acquired one last year. Since the front and back are mirror images of each other, I have only taken photos of the front side. There are flowers in multiple places on the cactus, a sign with the name of the brewery and variety of beer, fence posts with barbed wire wrapped around the posts and cactus, and cattle skulls at the bottom. The word "Seasonal" runs up the front of the cactus. This tap doesn't appear on the secondary market very often, which usually makes it a little expensive to obtain.

The saguaro cactus is one of the defining plants of the Sonoran Desert. These plants are large, tree-like columnar cacti that develop branches (or arms) as they age, although some never grow arms. These arms generally bend upward and can number over 25. With the right growing conditions, it is estimated that the slow-growing saguaro can live to be as much as 150-200 years old. They can grow to be between 40-60 feet tall, and they are the largest cactus in the United States. When rain is plentiful and the saguaro is fully hydrated it can weigh between 3200-4800 pounds.

For more about Grand Canyon Brewing, see this post.

Click through to read more about Grand Canyon Brewing's Sacred Saguaro Vienna Lager and to see more photos of this prickly tap...

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Tap Handle #535: Adroit Theory

Tap size: 10.5"
Rarity:  Scarce
Mounting:  black 3/8" ferrule on 5/16" anchor bolt

Produced in 2013, this wicked-looking tap handle comes to me courtesy of blog reader Jeff. There are skulls everywhere on the tap, which ties into the heavy metal music theme that the brewery plays in its tasting room. The large skull on the front bears a strong resemblance to the symbol used for the comic book character The Punisher. There are pieces of wood glued to the front and back, encircled by a wide band at the bottom that has a decal with the name of the brewery in a Gothic style font. Speaking of Gothic, I have seen the symbol on the back before, but I cannot recall where. It is similar to the Cross of Lorraine, although that particular cross has a small crossbar at the top and a larger crossbar below the smaller one. Up each side of the tap are small skulls, and at the very top is a white star on top of a half-buried triangle. The sheer amount of detail on the tap is incredible, and I haven't even mentioned the black ferrule. Since the brewery makes small batches of many different beers, the tap does not signify any single beer variety and is used instead for all of their varieties (I'll profile one of their more well known beers). Since I have never seen another, I'm calling this tap scarce.

Click through to read more about Adroit Theory and to see more photos of this imposing tap...

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Tap Handle #534: Fordham (Coastal) - Rams Head IPA

Tap size:  12"
Rarity:  Rare
Mounting:  standard 3/8" ferrule on 5/16" anchor bolt

This is a really interesting tap. Oh, we've seen plenty of taps with a ram's head on them, but what makes this one unusual is the color scheme. The half-red, half-creme colored head with a blue "V" on the forehead and a blue nose, the black stripes on the horns, the blue and red sunken stripes on the shaft, and the metallic blue ferrule make this tap truly unique. I'm certain the color scheme has some significance but I have no idea what that significance is. Even the lettering of the brewery's name and the beer variety are different - blue letters with a red outline (which is reversed on the Rams Head decal). When it first appeared a couple of years ago the uniqueness commanded a high price, but with the growth of the brewery and an increase in production the tap has become less rare and more affordable.

Click through to read more about Fordham Brewing, their Rams Head IPA, and to see more photos of this colorful tap...

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Tap Handle #533: Woodstock Inn Station & Brewery - Pig's Ear Brown Ale

Tap size:  11.25"
Rarity:  Very Rare
Mounting:  Standard 3/8" ferrule on 5/16" anchor bolt

Woodstock Inn taps have long been popular even though they are not the most detailed taps. This Pig's Ear tap is probably their most well-known and sought-after, and is probably my favorite of those that the brewery produces. It features a bas relief pig looking out of a window or barn door. The name of the brewery and the variety of beer are sculpted onto the tap as raised letters. Once very scarce, this tap has popped up with greater frequency lately, dropping it to more affordable levels, but it can still be considered very rare.

Click through to read more about Woodstock Inn, Station & Brewery, their award-winning Pig's Ear Brown Ale, and to see more photos of this rustic tap...

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Tap Handle #532: Foster's Boomerang

Tap size:  15.75"
Rarity:  Rare
Mounting:  internal 3/8" nut

The Foster's boomerang does not have a lot of detail, but is impressive in its shape and size instead. Used in Outback Steakhouse restaurants to serve Foster's on tap, this monster measures a whopping 15.75" tall and 7" deep. The latter measurement forced me to move the stage back for some of the photos, and is good to know if you have mounting restrictions. Like the Foster's surfboard I profiled back in entry #465, this tap is a deep blue color, with decals of the brewery's name, symbols, and striped colors. The price of this tap fluctuates quite a bit but lately seems to have settled to an affordable amount. They are rare but seem to appear on the secondary market regularly.

For more about Foster's, see this post.

Click through to see more photos of this whopper of a tap...

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Tap Giveaway Contest #2 Results UPDATE

UPDATE:  Sean has claimed his prize, so the contest is officially closed.

Thank you to everyone who participated in the contest, I wish I could give you all prizes but it's just not in the cards at this time. The winner of the contest, chosen at random, is:

Sean W.

Sean has 48 hours to respond or the prize will go to someone else. Keep watching for more tap giveaways, I hope to make this a regular feature soon...

The Museum Turns 4 Years Old, Part 3: The "Cream of the Crop"

Last year I introduced a new feature called "Cream of the Crop". This was a fantasy exercise in which I attempted to choose which 20 taps I would start my collection over with. It was a very stressful exercise to have to choose only 20 taps. So now that I've added another 172 taps, it has become that much harder. This year I'll try the same exercise, but with 25 taps instead of 20.

Click through to discover my "Cream of the Crop"...

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

The Museum Turns 4 Years Old, Part 2: Individual Tap Statistics

This is an update to a feature I first introduced last year. To revisit the concept, I'm listing which taps generate the most page views on the site. I've divided the rankings based on the year that I profiled the tap, so I've listed the 20 taps with the most views for Year 1, Year 2, Year 3, and Year 4. The number in parenthesis is the previous year's ranking if different; "NR" means the tap was not on the list last year. The first tap on the list has the most views, and the other taps follow in descending order.

As predicted, year 3 changed dramatically, with changes in position on almost every entry, 7 new entries in the top 20, and correspondingly 7 falling off the list. I'm predicting that Year 4 will experience a similar shift next year.

Click through to see the lists..

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

The Museum Turns 4 Years Old, Part 1: Site Statistics

It's time for me to take a break from tap profiles and focus on the annual celebration of the creation of this site. This year the Museum is 4 years old, and while I won't have as many bells and whistles as last year's epic blowout, I have some interesting updates to the numbers, a couple of announcements for new features, and a proposal for my readers.

So, on to the numbers...

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Tap Giveaway 2015 Contest #2 Details - UPDATE

As I mentioned in a previous post, this year I'm giving away a beautiful blonde mermaid tap handle from the Florida Keys Brewery. Last year I had people answering trivia questions. This year you simply need to submit your name through the "Contact Me" feature in the sidebar or email me if you've contacted me before. I will choose one winner at random on November 1st. Once I announce the winner they will have 2 days to respond to my email or I will choose a new winner. Good luck! 

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Tap Handle #531: Anheuser-Busch - Budweiser F-16 Fighting Falcon

Tap size:  8.75"
Rarity:  Scarce
Mounting:  standard 3/8" ferrule on 5/16" anchor bolt

A future tap handle collector and museum curator.
In 1987, a young U.S. Air Force mechanic departed the United States (for the first time) and arrived in Kunsan, South Korea, a rural city hosting an Air Force base, situated on the country's southwest coast and abutting the Yellow Sea on one side and fields of kimchi on the other. Having received specialized training on the F-16 Fighting Falcon in Phoenix, Arizona prior to his assignment to Korea, he soon became a "Crew Chief" (primary mechanic) of his own F-16, despite being only 20 years of age. He went on to win "Crew Chief of the Month", and his aircraft set a record for number of sorties, which allowed him to travel with it to a competition in the Philippines, as well as to a sales demonstration in Singapore. Due to his award, he also received an "incentive flight", riding (for a single flight) in the back seat of an F-16D two-seater. When he left Korea in 1988, he would never work on F-16s again, but he still occasionally thought about his experiences and how much he enjoyed maintaining a world-class fighter jet, especially when his next assignment involved aircraft older than he was.

That young Airman was me.

I usually don't share personal experiences here on the museum's website, but in this case I feel it is warranted. It helps you understand why I love this tap so much. Produced by Budweiser and featuring an F-16 Fighting Falcon, it has been speculated that this tap was used at either Officer's Clubs on various Air Force bases or at air shows, but due to the small number I have seen, I believe they were for a special event. Although it appears to be a "toy on a stick" with Budweiser decals on the wings and the base, the actual appearance closely resembles the standard mounting method that the Air Force uses to display retired aircraft, where the aircraft is mounted to a post, at a nose-up incline (see photo to right). The tail decal shows the year and serial number; usually there are two large letters above this that indicate the aircraft's base of operation. For example, my F-16 in Korea had the letters "WP" above the serial number, indicating it was based at Kunsan. I have fond memories of working on F-16 aircraft, so I made an extra effort to acquire this tap when it became available. It is extremely rare - I think I've only seen about 2-3 others, and they have always been very expensive. Budweiser also produced a similar tap for the Navy that features a submarine, and it is even more rare than this one.

For more about Budweiser, see this post.

Click through to read more about the F-16 Fighting Falcon and to see more photos of this engaging tap...

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Tap Handle #530: Redhook - ESB

Tap size:  11.5"
Rarity:  Scarce
Mounting:  metallic purple 3/8" ferrule on 5/16" anchor bolt

This is the third of three Redhook taps I acquired around the same time period - the IPA Tiki and the Mudslinger bike handle being the other two that were recently profiled. I've seen several taps featuring dog bones, but this is the first tap I've seen featuring a rawhide chew. Notice the detail in the folded ends and the yellow stains around the folds - this thing looks real! It has the typical Redhook sign attached, a large ESB label, and at the bottom is the purple and gold "W" symbol for the University of Washington and the phrase "GO DAWGS!" "DAWGS" is a reference to UW's nickname for its teams and mascot, the Husky, and explains the choice of the rawhide chew for the tap. Also, since purple and gold are the UW's colors, the metallic purple ferrule is a very unique touch - you don't see colored metallic ferrules on very many taps. Reader Keith informed me that in 2013, Redhook signed a new advertising deal that continued to make them UW’s official beer, and this rawhide chew tap was made to commemorate that deal. Very few of these were ever produced - I believe I have only ever seen two others. This scarcity makes the value a bit hard to pin down.

The University of Washington was founded in 1861, making it one of the oldest universities on the West Coast. It features one of the most highly regarded medical schools in the world. The UW occupies over 500 buildings, with over 20 million gross square footage of space, including the University of Washington Plaza, consisting of the 325-foot UW Tower and conference center. The campus is situated on the shores of Union and Portage Bays, with views of the Cascade Range to the east and the Olympic Mountains to the west. The university has two other campuses, one in Tacoma and one in Bothell. 

For more about Redhook, see this post.

Click through to read more about Redhook's ESB and to see more photos of this tap...

Tap Giveaway Contest

It's October and you know what that means - okay, besides my anniversary posts, it's time to give away a tap. This year I'll be giving away a beautiful blonde mermaid from the fine folks at Florida Keys Brewing (see photo to right). Stay tuned for details for the contest within the next couple of days...

Monday, October 19, 2015

Tap Handle #529: Anheuser-Busch - Shock Top Twisted Pretzel Wheat

Tap size:  12"
Rarity:  Uncommon
Mounting:  internal 3/8" nut

You have to give Anheuser-Busch credit where it's deserved - they sure have done a good job commissioning beautiful Shock Top taps. The Twisted Pretzel Wheat is one of my favorites of the Shock Top lineup. There are pretzels all over the tap, with grains of salt attached to them. Towards the top of the tap the pretzels are the common round version, but at the base they are long and twisted together. The tap has a small sign below the beer name that says the beer is a Limited Edition. What this means is that instead of this tap being common with thousands made, it is uncommon with probably only several hundred made. They are easy to find on the secondary market, but the uncommon status makes them more expensive than most other Shock Top varieties.

Click through to read more about Shock Top Twisted Pretzel Wheat and to see more photos of this twisted tap...

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Tap Handle #528: Redhook - IPA (aka Ballard Bitter)

Tap size:  13.75"
Rarity:  Scarce
Mounting:  standard 3/8" ferrule on 5/16" anchor bolt

As you know if you follow this blog, I love Tiki-themed taps. I jumped at the chance to acquire this tap for the museum and I absolutely love it. I'm not sure whether it is made of wood or resin, but it is most likely resin made to look like wood. It's hard to say when this tap was made, as the recipe changed over the years and was eventually replaced with Long Hammer IPA. Redhook hasn't brewed their IPA/Ballard Bitter since some time in 2013, so that year may have been when the tap was used. It is very scarce - I've only seen two others, and one of the two was broken.

For more about Redhook, see this post.

Click through to read more about Redhook's IPA (aka Ballard Bitter) and to see more photos of this exotic tap...

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Tap Handle #527: Samuel Adams - Rebel IPA

Tap size:  9.75"
Rarity:  Common
Mounting:  unique tapered 3/8" ferrule

There are three beers in Samuel Adams' Rebel IPA lineup, and this can is the most commonly found. Blue Rebel Rider and green Rebel Rouser cans also exist but are more rare. This tap looks and feels like a real spray can, right down to the plastic lid glued on top. The ferrule is very unique - it is black and flares out to cover the entire bottom of the can. I don't think I've seen anything like it before. One very annoying feature is the metal ball rolling around inside the can. Oh, it's kind of neat at first, but the more you handle the tap, the more annoying it gets. It's much better to mount the tap and let it sit quietly on a shelf. I only took close up photos of one part of the can, since the detail is in the artwork itself and not the tap. For many years Sam Adams resisted brewing a year-round American IPA, but they finally caved in and created Rebel, which they are trying to market and distribute heavily. As a result, these taps are numerous on the secondary market and the price has dropped dramatically over the past two years.

For more about Samuel Adams, see this post.

Click through to read more about Samuel Adams' Rebel IPA and to see more photos of this colorful tap...

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Tap Handle #526: Uncharted Cider (MillerCoors) - Smith & Forge Hard Cider

Tap size:  11.75"
Rarity:  Very Common
Mounting:  internal 3/8" nut

This is a very nice, simple and straightforward tap that is part of the Smith & Forge "masculine" marketing campaign. It is meant to look like a blacksmith's forge hammer. It uses a two-tone color scheme (orange and grey) with large, bold fonts for its lettering to help with the masculine look. Due to the big marketing push mentioned above, there were literally thousands of these taps made, so they are very easy to find on the secondary market and the price is very affordable.

Click through to read more about Uncharted Cider's (or should I say MillerCoors') Smith & Forge Hard Cider and to see more photos of this manly tap...

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Tap Handle #525: Redhook - Mudslinger Brown Ale

Tap size:  13.5" tall by 5" deep
Rarity:  Rare
Mounting:  internal 3/8" nut

Redhook's Mudslinger tap handle bears a remarkable likeness to a real handlebar grip from a mountain bike. The grip is composed of rubber, and the brake lever and shaft are aluminum. There is a small Redhook sign attached to each side, and the name "Mudslinger" appears on the shaft, while "Brown Ale" appears on a small label that encircles the grip. A brake cable travels from the brake lever and goes inside the bottom of the shaft. Also, take note of the screw that protrudes from under the brake lever - this can actually unscrew and has been missing on a few taps I've seen. For those who have narrow mounting restrictions, you should know that the brake lever causes the tap to be deeper than most, a total of 5" deep. Do not attempt to pull on the brake lever - it is fixed in position and can't depress without causing damage. The tap appears frequently on the secondary market, and the price is fairly reasonable. 

For more about Redhook Brewing, see this post.

Click through to read more about Redhook's Mudslinger Brown Ale and to see more photos of this adventurous tap...

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Tap Handle #524: Pyramid - Fling Pale Ale

Tap size:  11.25"
Rarity:  Very Rare
Mounting:  special elongated 3/8" nut

The first thing you notice about the Fling tap when you are holding it is the weight - this is a very solid and heavy tap. Due to the weight, it is most likely constructed of steel. As to whether the steel made it expensive to produce, I'm not totally sure, but it seems like it would. The tap appears to be a collection of different machine parts, from the solid and beautiful metallic green coil (which is not springy whatsoever) that rests on some kind of gear or cog, to the shaft with the long nut on the end for mounting. At the top of the tap is what feels like a plastic pyramid, glued to a round piece that bears a label with the brewery's name and the beer variety on it. To my knowledge this version of the tap was only produced for a year, since Fling was only offered in the spring of 2010. Due to the fact that Blue Point already owned the name "Spring Fling", Pyramid was forced to call this seasonal ale "Fling", with the "Spring" implied by the green coil of the tap. An alternate version featuring a coil colored yellow instead of green was used for a different variety (whose name escapes me right now). Neither version has appeared on the secondary market in quite some time. The price has risen steadily as you would expect when the supply dries up.

For more about Pyramid Brewing, see this post.

Click through to read more about Pyramid's Fling Pale Ale and to see more photos of this twisted tap...

Monday, October 12, 2015

Tap Handle #523: Coronado - Islander IPA

Tap size:  13.25"
Rarity:  Scarce
Mounting:  Standard 3/8" ferrule on 5/16" anchor bolt

Coronado Brewing's Islander IPA is a fascinating tap. Some people call it a tiki, but I feel it more closely resembles the moai statues on Rapa Nui, which is more commonly known as Easter Island. The letters "IPA" are sculpted and raised from the forehead. The tap appears to be made of wood - it has a mahogany grain pattern, and what appears to be saw marks on the backside, which although wouldn't be hard to create through the use of paint, that intricate type of detail is seldom found on older resin taps. Also, since the bottom section is definitely made of resin, if the top was resin you'd expect it to be all one piece; however, it is evident that the top portion has been glued to the resin base, making it even more likely to be made of wood. If it is wood, that makes the tap very valuable, due to the expense of the hand carving and all of the fine indentations in the wood - it was very labor-intensive to create. The bottom section features a label with the brewery's name and the beer variety. If you look closely at the label, you will also see a mermaid holding a tankard of beer, with a small image of the Hotel Del Coronado to the left - both the mermaid and hotel were also tap handles that were profiled on this site. This tap has long been retired from the brewery, and is seldom found on the secondary market; when it does appear, it commands a hefty price due to its rarity, craftsmanship, and the popularity of tiki-themed items.

Rapa Nui is a Chilean island in the southeastern Pacific Ocean, at the southeasternmost point of the Polynesian Triangle. Easter Island is famous for its 887 extant monumental statues, called moai, created by the early Rapa Nui people. In 1995, UNESCO named Easter Island a World Heritage Site, with much of the island protected within Rapa Nui National Park.

For more about Coronado Brewing, see this post.

Click through to read more about Coronado Brewing's Islander IPA and to see more photos of this mysterious tap...

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Tap Handle #522: Shmaltz - HE'BREW

Tap size:  8.5"
Rarity:  Very Rare
Mounting:  standard 3/8" ferrule on 5/16" anchor bolt

This is a great little tap featuring a bust of a Jewish man holding up a sign that reads "HE'BREW THE CHOSEN BEER". Below the man is a bow tie shaped banner with "Shmaltz Brewing Co." written in cursive. On the back of the banner appears the now-familiar letters of an S inside of a C, and a copyright date of 2005, which dates the tap's origin to the Mendocino Saratoga Springs contract brewing period. The rest of the base is simply a shaft with the words "Est. 5757 1996". At first this seems to make no sense - how could the brewery be established in 5757? This is easily explained by the fact that 1996 in our calendar year corresponds to the year 5757 in the Jewish calendar. Mystery solved! This tap is used for all varieties, and is very rare and hard to find - which makes it expensive. If you plan on acquiring one, pay particular attention to all of the lettering on the tap - it is all sculpted and three dimensional, which makes it easy to chip.

Click through to read more about Shmaltz brewing, their HE'BREW brand of beers, and to see more photos of this schlocky tap (see, I can poke fun through the use of shtick too!)...

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Tap Handle #521: BridgePort - Hop Harvest Ale (Big Brew Series)

Tap size:  12.25"
Rarity:Very Rare
Mounting:  internal 3/8" nut

This is probably the coolest BridgePort tap out there. It is composed of 3 parts: the arm is divided into two segments that screw together, and the small mug of beer that has a sign in it is glued to the hand. The base of the tap is made to look like a rolled-up sleeve. On the "sleeve" is a decal featuring the BridgePort symbol and name, with the words "Established in 1984", and "Oregon's Oldest Craft Brewery". The decal appears on both the front and back of the base, as does the tattoo "Big Brew" on the arm. The Big Brew series consists of 4 varieties, any of which can appear on the sign at the top of the tap. Since each of the Big Brews are only made for a limited time each year, the production of this tap is also limited, and as a result it is very rare - and very expensive.

For more about BridgePort, see this post.

Click through to read more about BridgePort's Hop Harvest Ale, and to see more photos of this larger than life tap...