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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.

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Thursday, June 4, 2015

Tap Handle #498: San Francisco Brewing

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

For years I tried unsuccessfully to obtain a tap from a closed California brewery that featured the Golden Gate Bridge, but acquiring this San Francisco Brewing tap may be even more satisfying than acquiring the first. I've driven over this bridge multiple times and each time I'm in awe at the engineering and construction that created it. The tap is simply gorgeous, capturing the art deco styling and rich reddish-orange color of the bridge towers with amazing detail. There is a narrow strip running down the middle of the tap where the beer variety is indicated with a label. Although the label I have is Kolsch, I couldn't find any description of that variety anywhere (including the brewery website!), so I decided to profile one of San Francisco's core beers, Broadway IPA, instead. The front and back of the tap are identical to each other, as are the two sides to each other. I've only ever seen one other of this tap, and as you can imagine for a tap this beautiful and rare, it's quite expensive on the secondary market.

The Golden Gate Bridge is a suspension bridge spanning the Golden Gate strait, the mile-wide, three-mile-long channel between San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean. The structure links the U.S. city of San Francisco, on the northern tip of the San Francisco Peninsula, to Marin County, bridging both U.S. Route 101 and California State Route 1 across the strait. The bridge is one of the most internationally recognized symbols of San Francisco, California, and the United States. It has been declared one of the Wonders of the Modern World by the American Society of Civil Engineers.

The Frommers travel guide considers the Golden Gate Bridge "possibly the most beautiful, certainly the most photographed, bridge in the world". It opened in 1937 and was, until 1964, the longest suspension bridge main span in the world, at 4,200 feet. In 1989 the Loma Prieta Earthquake jarred the Bay Area with a force measuring 7.1 on the Richter scale. The Golden Gate Bridge withstood, undamaged, the most devastating quake to strike the Bay Area since 1906.

The color is called International Orange, and was chosen for its visibility in fog and to passing ships. Thankfully the U.S. Navy did not get their wish to paint the bridge with black and yellow stripes. The name Golden Gate, which comes from the Strait, is generally accepted to have been first called "Chrysopylae" or Golden Gate by Army Captain John C. Fremont, around 1846.  It is said it reminded him of a harbor in Istanbul named Chrysoceras, which translates as Golden Horn.

Click through to read more about San Francisco Brewing Company, their Broadway IPA, and to see more photos of this iconic and beautiful tap...

San Francisco Brewing Company was founded in San Francisco, California in 2012 by Joshua Leavy. Leavy developed a love for craft brewing in college when he shadowed a microbrewery for a class project. The passion, dedication, and spirit that the brewers demonstrated while making their craft was inspiring. After settling back into his hometown of San Francisco, he started brewing on the stovetop of his kitchen, formulating different recipes. He created a massive brew tower, welding the pieces together himself, in order to create larger batches of more complex beers. The impressive tower made its way to every tiny apartment he moved to within the city, and allowed him to brew for many special events and celebrations for family and friends. Leavy found a brewing location and started with two varieties of beer, later expanding to 5 year round beers and several seasonal and specialty brews, which are distributed throughout the city.

When looking for a name for the brewery, Leavy decided to acquire the rights to the historic San Francisco brand. The old brewery building that had brewed San Francisco Beer had been repurposed as an Absinthe bar, making the brand name available for Leavy. The San Francisco Brewing Company was, in its origin, a bar known as the Andromeda that opened in 1907, built after the 1906 earthquake, and was the second-oldest bar in San Francisco. The Andromeda was San Francisco's oldest micro-brewery, and one of the first four brew pubs in the United States. It was located on the edge of what was once known as the Barbary Coast, where executives, politicians and sailors all rubbed elbows while prostitutes flaunted their charms at the brass rail of the ornate bar.

In 1913, the Andromeda gained wide respect when Jack Dempsey, the future heavyweight champion, was employed there as a bouncer. During Prohibition, the Andromeda Saloon was one of very few pubs that survived, and it did so by calling itself the Andromeda Cafe - which provided classy seafood fare such as fresh oysters and clams, all the while still serving alcohol discreetly. After Prohibition, it was rumored that in 1939, Baby Face Nelson was captured in the pub by the FBI.

Decades later, in 1977, the brew pub was renovated and renamed the Albatross Saloon, and gained notoriety among San Francisco bars for its rich history. The bar itself was the original solid plank of mahogany used during its Barbary Coast days, and the vintage fan system run by leather belts and pulleys has remained in operation from 1916 until today in its most recent incarnation. Allan G. Paul, while living on Telegraph Hill, developed an obsession with Barbary Coast history and unique, micro-brewed beer. Paul bought the Albatross Saloon in 1985 and renamed it the San Francisco Brewing Company.

The bar still housed all the historical pieces from its early days, but had his addition of antique-style micro-brewing, which brought beer in brass pipes straight from the basement, where it fermented and self-carbonated, into a pint glass. Tours of the pub, its famous Dempsey Room, and the brewery itself were given upon request. The brewery featured live music from classic jazz combos to blues and even more modern and avant-garde performances. Some of its chief attractions were the oddly named beer titles, which included the Bock Obama and the Hugh Hefnerweizen. The San Francisco Brewing Company closed its doors in 2009 due to financial issues. In 2010, the former Andromeda Bar/Albatross Saloon/San Francisco Brewery building was remodeled and reestablished under new ownership as the Comstock Saloon, an Absinthe bar.

Broadway IPA is a light-bodied "west coast" India Pale Ale featuring Cascade and Willamette hops. This brew is bursting with a bouquet of floral, citrusy hop flavors and aromas.

Ratebeer weighted average:  2.97 out of 5
Beer Advocate: no rating

San Francisco Brewing Company
1405 Franklin Street Suite 102
San Francisco, California, USA 94109

Source Material

Photo of Golden Gate Bridge courtesy of

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