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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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...

Monday, October 5, 2015

Tap Handle #520: Bud Light - Boxing Kangaroo

Tap size:  8.75" tall by 4" deep
Rarity:  Very Rare
Mounting:  standard 3/8" ferrule on 5/16" anchor bolt

Like the Bud Light Rain Stick, I believe this tap was made for the Outback Steakhouse restaurant chain. The tap is fairly simple, featuring a kangaroo wearing boxing gloves while holding a sign. Despite its simplicity, it is very difficult to find one intact. The most common problem is the ears breaking off - the ears were actually sculpted and attached separately, so they are even more prone to breakage. Occasionally the tail or nose breaks off, and the label peels off very easily. The label is difficult to replace, as it is laminated and has a notch in it where one of the boxing gloves holds the sign. Also, many are missing the string that fits into two holes in the sign and runs around the back of the kangaroo. The string is brushed with a stiffener that makes it feel like wire.

There are two different sculpted faces on the kangaroo; the one I have profiled looks like it is grinning, while the second one (which I also own) appears to be straight-faced, with smaller eyes and nose (see photo to right). For those who have narrow mounting restrictions, you should know that the tail causes the tap to be deeper than most, a total of 4" deep.

To read more about Bud Light, see this post.

Click through to see more photos of the tap...

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Reviews for the Sweet Tooth Hard Root Beer Battle: Coney Island vs. Not Your Father's Root Beer

I wanted to get this post up as summer ends because the numbers show that Hard Root Beer was a pretty huge deal when it hit the market in a big way this summer. Although Sprecher has been making hard root beer since 2013, it has not been distributed nationally, making it very difficult to find. This year, Small Town Brewery's "Not Your Father's Root Beer" got some big backing when Pabst bought a large stake in the brewery and started contract brewing it in LaCrosse, Wisconsin. Meanwhile, Coney Island Brewing, which is owned by Samuel Adams, began to distribute "Coney Island Hard Root Beer". Sam Adams has the chops to move this product nationally...look no further than their Angry Orchard Hard Cider line to see how they can perfect a recipe in an emerging market and make it available almost anywhere.

Click through to read more about my encounters with Hard Root Beer...

Tap Handle #519: Colonial - Gully Washer Winter Ale

Tap size:  9"
Rarity:  Scarce
Mounting:  standard 3/8" ferrule on 5/16" anchor bolt

A "Gully Washer" is an Australian term for a very hard rain that often causes flooding. What does that have to do with a man holding a chicken? I have no idea. Maybe he saved the chicken from a flood? Regardless of the cryptic imagery, I really like this tap. It features a man dressed in cool Australian outback clothes, holding a chicken. A large medallion is attached to the front of the tap, which bears the name of the beer and states that it is "seasonally brewed". Near the bottom is a small sign with the name of the brewery. There is a weird effect with the man's eyes, where one is larger than the other, but maybe he's just squinting. I have no idea if this tap design was used for other varieties, or if it was only used for Gully Washer. Since the tap is from Australia, and Gully Washer Winter Ale was retired several years ago (returning later under a different name), this tap is very scarce - I have never seen another. It probably belongs on the "cream of the crop" list as well, due to its rarity.

Click through to read more about Colonial Brewing, their Gully Washer Winter Ale, and to see more photos of this curious and baffling tap...