AMAZING TAP HANDLES!!!

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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Friday, March 27, 2015

Tap Handle #480: Steamworks (U.S.) - Steam Engine Lager

Tap size: 11.25"
Rarity:  Scarce
Mounting:  internal 3/8" nut

Not to be confused with the Steamworks Brewing from Canada that I profiled in post #430, this tap comes from the Steamworks Brewery in Durango, Colorado in the U.S. It is very unique, because most of the taps I have seen from the brewery simply feature a metal pipe and a metal-backed label featuring the brewery name and beer variety, with a flared top. In this case, there is a gauge attached to the pipe under the label, and at the top is a small cage that screws on to the pipe. Inside the cage is an LED that flashes when it detects motion (I have tried to capture the effect in the last few photos). I'm not sure whether the brewery actually did all this work, or someone else decided to do it on their own, but either way it is a pretty cool effect, and since I've never seen another like it, it appears to be one-of-a-kind. I love the brewery's industrial-looking labels, and the fact that the pipe has flaws and solder joints only adds to that great industrial look.

Click through to read more about Steamworks Brewing, their Steam Engine Lager, and to see more photos of this unique tap...

Monday, March 23, 2015

Tap Handle #479: Cisco - Sankaty Light Lager

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

Sankaty Light represents another lighthouse based on a real structure, the Sankaty Head Lighthouse. This tap is a "newer model"...the old Sankaty Light tap (pictured at right) is wooden, with a smooth surface, decals of the Cisco symbol and beer name, and small black circles in windows of the lantern room. It also has a ferrule. My tap is made of resin, with sculpted bricks, a sculpted and raised Cisco symbol, and the beer name carved into the base  along with windows and a door. A railing is sculpted outside the lantern room, and yellow circles are painted on the windows to simulate the lantern light. A small patch of green grass circles the very bottom of the lighthouse, and there is no ferrule. I'm calling my version of the tap scarce since I have never seen another.

The Sankaty Head Light is a lighthouse located on Nantucket Island. The shoals off the eastern coast of Nantucket had a long history as a hazard to navigation. The United States government decided in the 1840s that a prominent lighthouse should be erected to alert mariners to that hazard. Congress appropriated $12,000 for its construction in 1848, with additional funds totaling $8,000 in following years. The light went into service in 1850, located at the easternmost point of the island in the village of Siasconset. The tower is 60 feet high; its lower portion is constructed of brick, and its upper part is granite. The light's turning mechanism was powered by a weight-driven brass clockwork,

A brick house was built next to the tower at the time of its construction to house the light keeper's family. In 1887 this house was torn down and a new structure was built. Renovations to the tower at the time included installation of a new lantern section, adding some 10 feet to its height. In 1933 the light was electrified, and the mechanical works to turn it were taken out of service. It was one of the first lighthouses in the United States to receive a Fresnel lens, which was removed in 1950, and is now at the Nantucket Whaling Museum. The light was fully automated in 1965. In 1987, the lighthouse was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Sconset Land Trust acquired the lighthouse in 2007, and had it moved away from the eroding bluff (approximately 400 feet) in October of that year.

For more about Cisco Brewing, see this post.

Click through to read more about Cisco's Sankaty Light Lager, and to see more photos of this brilliant tap...

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Tap Handle #478: Lion Brewery - Lionshead

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

When I first received this tap, it was pretty beat up, with paint loss all over, but fortunately it had no chips or breaks. Due to the color scheme, one of my friends referred to the tap as "Chewbacca". Kelly, the museum's resident artist (and also a Leo), decided to repaint it, but made some enhancements along the way that really make the tap pop. Notice the eye pupils and the pink nose...Kelly studied photos of real lions to get the details down right, even adding tartar to the teeth! The results are a subtle yet amazing new look for what was once a worn-out tap. The Lionshead tap was made in decent numbers and is easy to obtain, making it uncommon rather than rare.

Click through to read more about the proud Lion Brewery, their Lionshead Beer, and to see more photos of this now one-of-a-kind tap...

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Tap Handle #477: Nevada City Brewing - California Gold Lager

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

This tap, though made of resin, has been made to look like carved wood, and does an incredibly good job of achieving that look, right down to the "chisel marks" visible on the shaft on the back side of the tap. It features a prospector holding a tin pan in one hand and a nugget of gold in the other, an appropriate tap for a beer called California Gold, although the name of the beer does not appear on the tap itself. There are lots of great little details, from the prospector's suspenders to the wheat stalks and hops carved on the shaft on the front side. For some reason my camera gave the tap a yellow color that I was unable to correct in Photoshop; the true color is less yellow and more tan, kind of a golden oak. Not long after Nevada City Brewing closed in 2006, these could be found occasionally on the secondary market, but over the last 4-5 years I have not seen another, making it now quite scarce.

Click through to read what little information I could find on Nevada City Brewing, their California Gold Lager, and to see more photos of this rich and rewarding tap...

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Tap Handle #476: La Quinta - Poolside Blonde

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

This La Quinta tap was a birthday present from my dad, who managed to obtain it while vacationing in Palm Springs. It's a really beautiful tap, with a palm tree as the main feature. The detail is incredible, from the leaves and scales at the top of the palm to the grooves carved all the way up and down the trunk. The brewery label appears on three sides of the tap and is a bright and colorful desert scene. The variety label fixture is metal, allowing magnets to be used to indicate which beer is being poured, and meaning that the tap can be used for all of La Quinta's varieties. I have never seen this tap before, which makes it very rare.

Click through to read more about La Quinta Brewing, their Poolside Blonde Ale, and to see more photos of this stately tap...

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Tap Handle #475: Terrapin - Hopsecutioner IPA

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

Terrapin's Hopsecutioner tap is in my opinion the better of the two that they produce, featuring a masked and robed "executioner" turtle, sitting in a bed of hops and holding a lever. The shaft has a wood look, similar to Terrapin's other tap, but features a guillatine in the middle of it...how cool is that?! The base features a silver band with the brewery's logo, and there are rope bands circling the tap in multiple spots. Although the beer is still in production, the tap is not currently produced by the brewery - they now put a label on their standard tap - making this one quite rare.

For more about Terrapin Brewing, see this post.

Click through to read more about Terrapin's Hopsecutioner and IPA and to see more photos of this killer tap...

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Tap Handle #474: Tampa Bay Brewing - Midnight Crossing Black IPA

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

Like the One Night Stand tap profiled in my previous post, Midnight Crossing is a very different-looking tap from the rest of TBBC's lineup. This one is a beauty, featuring an airplane flying through a lightning storm, with angry blue and black clouds behind the plane. Note how the lightning graphics are not only in the scene with the plane, but also continue down the black shaft of the tap. The plane, which looks like a Cessna, is done in a bas relief style. The TBBC logo is at the top of the tap, and all of the lettering found on the tap is raised. The "Midnight Crossing" lettering has a white to blue color fade from top to bottom. The front and back of the tap are identical to each other, as are the two sides to each other. One very peculiar feature involves a triangular inset around the letters "IPA". It looks like the shaft and top of the tap were two different pieces, and the shaft was routed to allow the top part to fit. There's a small red triangle near the base of this inset, and a slightly recessed purple ring around the base. The tap manufacturer would probably have a great story to tell about the design and assembly of the tap. It is currently the hardest to find of all the TBBC taps.

For more about Tampa Bay Brewing, see this post.

Click through to read more about TBBC's Midnight Crossing Black IPA and to see more photos of the tap...