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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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Friday, January 8, 2016

Tap Handle #557: Gritty McDuff's - Red Claws Ale

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

It took a great deal of patience before I finally got a lucky break and obtained this tap, which was high on my wishlist at the time. Resembling the logo of the Maine Red Claws, a developmental basketball team for the Boston Celtics, as well as their mascot Crusher, the tap features many fine details and bright colors. A lobster, wearing a Red Claws jersey with the number "1", holds a basketball in one claw, emerging from a fountain of water. At the base is the brewery's symbol in the form of sticker; below that, "Red Claws Ale" appears as recessed lettering within a green banner. Although it has a ceramic look and feel to it, it is actually resin. These were used in restaurants and bars in the Portland area, as well as in Gritty's brewpubs and the Portland Expo during basketball games, and were available to purchase for a few years in Gritty's retail store until they were sold out, with most snapped up by local fans of the team. Due to all of the fine detail, especially around the water, they chipped and broke easily. The tap is now quite scarce - I believe I have only seen two others that were undamaged, and I haven't seen one since purchasing mine last year. The few I have seen were missing the custom stand that was sold with the tap (pictured to the upper right).

The Maine Red Claws are a basketball team of the NBA Development League based in Portland, Maine. It is affiliated to the Boston Celtics. When former Boston Celtics assistant coach Jon Jennings was presented with the opportunity to own an D-League team in 2009, he traveled across the Northeast to find the perfect home, settling on Portland. It proved to be a wise choice. Before the team had even played its first game, they lead the entire league in season ticket revenue, selling 1,432 season tickets for home games in their 3,100-seat arena, the Portland Expo Building. The name was chosen as the result of a "name the team" contest. The team's innovative logo, submitted by a company in Cincinnati in exchange for a jersey, put them at the top of the merchandise rankings. They also had 60 sponsorships from community businesses, including a bakery called Isamax and Gritty McDuff's brewery.

For more about Gritty McDuff's, see this post.

Click through to read more about Gritty McDuff's Red Claws Ale and to see more photos of this jammin' tap...

Gritty McDuff’s Red Claws Ale is an Irish Ale and what the Brits call a fine session beer: smooth, not too strong and full of flavor. Red Claws Ale has a dark red-amber color; a full, round malt palate; nutty and roasted accents, and a delicate hop flavor that whispers with just a hint of floral finish. It is the perfect ale for a long afternoon in the pub with good friends and traditional fare. It was created as a sponsorship product with the Maine Red Claws basketball team. As part of the deal, Red Claws Ale was the only Maine microbrew sold in the Portland Expo Building during basketball games. The beer does not appear on the brewery's list of current beers, and there have been no reviews of it on Ratebeer or Beer Advocate since 2014, so its current status is unknown.

Ratebeer weighted average:  2.98 out of 5
Beer Advocate:  78 out of 100 (okay)

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