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, May 29, 2015

Another Hobgoblin Tap Handle Repaint

Museum Artist/Restoration Project Manager/Miracle Worker Kelly has completed another Hobgoblin repaint, this one as a commissioned piece for a friend. I think he surpassed his previous repaint job that I talked about in this post. Once we delivered the finished product, our friend described his reaction to it as follows:

"I just love the subtle touches Kelly applied. For example the copper highlights on the shoulder shroud and all the shading on the skin. The eyes pop so much more than on the original. Also love the gold handle of the sword and silver blade. The purple and green scheme works great. I can't say enough about it. It's at the top of my list of favorite taps!!!"

I'm very lucky to have a friend as talented as Kelly, who has given taps new life through repainting and repairs!

Click through to see more photos of this gorgeous beauty...

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Tap Handle #496: Northwest Brewing - Hoppy Bitch IPA

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

I paid a recent visit to Northwest Brewing and will have a post on that trip soon. In the meantime, I'm profiling what is probably their most popular tap, Hoppy Bitch. I'm not sure what it is about this tap that drives collectors wild...perhaps it's the name, or the abstract female form, or maybe the devilish aspect featuring horns and a tail...but it's probably all of these, along with the simple black, white and red color scheme, that makes it desirable. The glossy high finish all over the tap, especially the black, means fingerprints easily show up, so it needs to be cleaned if it is handled. This tap rarely hits the secondary market, and when it does it is very expensive.

For more about Northwest Brewing, see this post.

Click through to read more about Northwest Brewing's Hoppy Bitch and to see more photos of this sought-after tap...

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Tap Handle #495: Bad Martha

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

This beautiful mermaid came into my possession fairly recently, but I promised the brewery that I would profile it right away. The  mermaid was the concept of owner Jonathon Blum...he wanted to create a mystique based on historical events (Bartholomew Gosnold was the first settler to arrive on the Martha's Vineyard and reportedly brought barley with him for brewing). As for the mermaid, Bad Martha, who the brewery is named after, Blum wanted to create a figure that was sensual rather than sexual. The legend accompanying her creation goes something like this:

"When Bartholomew Gosnold first arrived on the Vineyard in 1602, he had a very thirsty crew. Gosnold set out looking for ingredients to brew his mates some beer. Finding none, he drifted to sleep on the beach. He awoke in the night to a sensual mermaid, beckoning him. Unable to resist the temptation, Gosnold followed, and soon found himself in a field of lush grape leaves. Any other European might have delighted in the possibility of making some great wine, but Gosnold, the good Englishman that he was, used the grape leaves as the secret ingredient in a wonderful batch of beer. Once the ale sufficiently clouded his mind, Gosnold was unsure if he’d ever seen the mermaid at all."

Featuring a blue-clad, dark-haired mermaid with a "bad" tattoo, the sculpting, painting and detail are gorgeous, and I thoroughly approve of the matte finish. The sculpting of her features does a wonderful job of subtly conveying a fantasy character with a not-quite-human appearance. The label also features an image of the mermaid and the name of the brewery, and it is generic - this tap is used for all of the brewery's varieties of beer. At the bottom of the tap are the words "Martha's Vineyard", the island where the beer is brewed. This tap was produced in limited numbers and was expensive to make, and the secondary market value and scarcity has affirmed this.

Click through to read more about Bad Martha Brewery, their flagship Vineyard Ale, and to see more photos of this mystical, sensual, and beautiful tap...

Friday, May 15, 2015

Tap Handle #494: Mother Road - Roadside American Ale

Tap size:  10.5" tall by 4" deep
Rarity:  Rare
Mounting:  internal 3/8" nut

According to Mother Road, this tap handle design is a composite of several of their favorite 1930s automobile hood ornaments: the late 20s and early 30s Duesenbergs; the mid 30s Auburns; and the late 30s Cadillac V-8 and V-16s. Each of these were in the streamline modern or deco style and graced the finest automobiles on the road at the time.  In what is a rare design feature, the internal nut is mounted at an angle, leaning the tap forward like an actual hood ornament and forcing me to move the backdrop during some of the photos...you'll need extra depth when displaying this tap. I received 4 labels and have chosen to profile Mother Road's Roadside American Ale, since it is one of their highly-rated core beers and the label on the bottle is fantastic. The brewery has named each of their tap handles (I profiled "Ellie" back in post #324), and this tap handle is named Josephine, after the 1920s and 30s jazz singer and dancer, Josephine Baker. Her dancing was scandalous for the time and often censored. Ms. Baker popularized the Charleston and was infamous for her Banana Dance. The tap has been expensive when found on the secondary market.

For more about Mother Road Brewing, see this post.

Click through to read more about Mother Road's Roadside American Ale and to see more photos of this graceful tap...

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Tap Handle #493: Rivertown - Hop Bomber Pale Ale

Tap size:  12"
Rarity:  Very Rare
Mounting:  standard 3/8" ferrule on 5/15" anchor bolt

Rivertown's Hop Bomber is probably my favorite tap of all that the brewery has produced. With a military gray-green color, the name of the beer recessed into the shaft in white letters, and the classic (and now obsolete) Rivertown label on top, it's a real beauty. The front and back are identical to each other, as are the two sides to each other. I pursued this tap for years before finally acquiring one. Very few of them have been found on the secondary market - I've seen maybe 4 others - and I expect them to remain very rare, since the brewery no longer produces this beer. It will look good next to some of the other bomb-themed taps that you will see profiled here in the Museum very soon.

Click through to read more about Rivertown Brewing, their Hop Bomber Pale Ale, and to see more photos of this explosive tap...

Monday, May 11, 2015

Slight Change To Photos

New posts are on hold right now due to the death of my camera. From this point forward I'll be using a new camera that should take really beautiful photos, but I'm still learning my way around it so it might be another day or two before a new post appears. You may notice some slight differences between the cameras, but hopefully the new photos will be superior to the old...I'm already noticing better color accuracy and better low light response. Thanks for your patience during this time...

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Tap Handle #492: Stone Coast - Black Bear Porter

Tap size:  17.5" tall, 4.75" wide
Rarity:  Scarce
Mounting:  standard 3/8" ferrule on 5/16" anchor bolt

When the person who sold me this tap shipped it to the wrong address by mistake, I was worried I'd never see it, but fortunately the tap found its way to me and it all worked out. The first thing you notice about it is the immense size - it's taller than my backdrop, and is probably one of the tallest taps in the collection. It's also very wide, which forced me to move the backdrop away from the stage when taking the photos. There's a real (though hollow) hockey puck, which is attached to the hockey stick with two screws. The puck bears a colorful, cartoonish label with the beer variety (this image was also used on the bottle label), and the name of the brewery is on the shaft of the stick. Black tape has been wrapped around the stick in a couple of places. Black Bear Porter is named after the University of Maine's Division 1 hockey team, the Black Bears, who won two national championships, one in 1993 and again in 1999. I'm not sure if the tap used by Sunday River (Stone Coast's sister company) is the same, but since Stone Coast has been gone for several years now, this tap is very scarce - in fact I've never seen another.

Click through to read more about Stone Coast, their Black Bear Porter, and to see more photos of this sporting tap...

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Tap Handle #491: Nickel Brook - Naughty Neighbour American Pale Ale

Tap size:  12.5"
Rarity:  Very Rare
Mounting:  oversized 3/8" ferrule on 5/16" anchor bolt

Nickel Brook's Naughty Neighbor tap is one of the most impressive taps in the collection. The figure bears a likeness to the model on the bottle's label (see image to right). It is heavy and solid, and made of ceramic - a rarity for figural taps - and was fired at least 4 times during the painting process. Each of those firings require skill, energy (to run the kiln) and labor. Also, around the base of the girl the manufacturer appears to have used real silver or platinum. Put all that together and you have a tap that was very expensive to produce and difficult for sales reps to manage. There were two production runs of this tap; the earlier run did not include the atom symbol on the shaft. Due to the expense, Nickel Brook discontinued the tap after the two initial runs, moving to a more generic tap. As a result, this tap is now very rare and has commanded a high price on the secondary market, where I've seen about a half dozen in total. Thanks to friend of the museum Denis for the information regarding its production status. 

Click through to read more about Nickel Brook Brewery, their Naughty Neighbour American Pale Ale, and to see more photos of this exquisite tap...