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.

Tap Handle Blog Simple Search

Friday, April 29, 2016

Tap Handle #599: New Orleans Lager and Ale (NOLA) - Rebirth Pale Ale

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

NOLA continues to put out some great figural taps. This one features a tuba with the beer variety on the front of the bell and a NOLA sign just above the valves. The front and back are identical to each other, as are the two sides to each other, so I reduced the number of photos taken. The details and color of the tap are outstanding. At one time these were very hard to come by and commanded a high price; now they are fairly easy to find and the price has dropped to a far more reasonable level.

For more about NOLA brewing, see this post.

Click through to read more about NOLA's Rebirth Pale Ale and to see more photos of this swingin' tap...

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Tap Handle #598: Rolling Rock

Tap size:  9.75" tall x 4" deep
Rarity:  readily available
Mounting:  standard 3/8" ferrule on 5/16" anchor bolt

This is what I would classify as a "toy on a stick", and it costs a bit more than I usually spend for that kind of tap, but it is really beautiful. The white horse head has the appearance of marble or alabaster, and the labels on each side have metallic flakes in the green that make them shine. In fact, they are so reflective that some of the photos appear to make the tap look defective! The tap is sculpted to curve forward, giving it a depth of about 4" and forcing me to move the stage back to take some of the photos. It can easily be found on the secondary market, but commands an unusually high price.

For more about Rolling Rock, see this post.

Click through to see more photos of this majestic tap...

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Tap Handle #597: Brasserie de Brunehaut - St. Martin

Tap size:  10.5"
Rarity: 10 or less seen, import
Mounting:  standard 3/8" ferrule on 5/16" anchor bolt

This beautiful tap may possibly be modeled after a real structure somewhere, or maybe it is modeled after old paintings or drawings of the destroyed Saint-Martin Abbey. Regardless, it is an amazing tap, with meticulous detail in the renditions of stone bricks, shingles, the cross on the top, and various windows. There is a label on all 4 sides with the name of the brewery and the words "Anno 1096", which in Italian means "Year 1096" and refers to the founding of the St. Martin Abbey. A decal on the front resembles a stained glass religious scene, and is so bright and colorful that it imparts the look of real stained glass exceptionally well. The front and back are identical to each other, as are the two sides to each other, so I have reduced the number of photos taken. The tap is not variety-specific and is used for all varieties that are imported to the U.S. (I have chosen to profile their highly-regarded Triple). It is also very scarce, most likely due to its import status, as I have only seen two others, and they were fairly expensive.

Click through to read more about Brasserie de Brunehaut, their St. Martin beers, and to see more photos of this iconic tap...

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Tap Handle #596: Anheuser-Busch - Shock Top Pumpkin Wheat

Tap size:  12.5"
Rarity:  seasonal, readily available, mass produced
Mounting:  internal 3/8" nut

This is the sixth Shock Top tap profiled on the site (the seventh is coming soon). I really wanted this one because I think the pumpkin sculptings around the base of the tap and in a patch under the orange slice head look really nice, and make it distinctive from other Shock Top varieties. This is actually an older version of the tap; the newer version has alternating orange and green stripes painted on the mohawk. Like most Shock Top taps, it is prone to chipping and paint damage due to all the detail and texturing. You can find these all over the secondary market at decent prices.

For more about Shock Top, see this post.

Click through to read more about Shock Top Pumpkin Wheat and to see more photos of this tap...

Thursday, April 21, 2016

New Scarcity Guide Completed

I have completed work on a new guide to tap scarcity. This is intended to replace the rarity rating for each tap and you might find it worth a read. A link to the guide has been provided over in the sidebar. Or you can follow the link here:

Scarcity Guide

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Tap Handle #595: Wild Apple Hard Cider

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

This tap is similar to other "dagger" type taps like Killian's or MacTarnahan's, featuring a wrapped grip, ornate hilt and a blade. Where this tap differs is in the apple that the dagger has pierced. This apple, which bears the name of the cidery, adds a bright splash of red color to the tap, and even a little brown and green thanks to the stem and leaf on top. The overall effect is really nice and makes it my favorite "dagger" tap. Due to what I'm assuming is a small sized cidery (I can't find an address or website), and a limited distribution area, this tap is very scarce - I've never seen another.

Click through to read about Wild Apple Hard Cider and to see more photos of this piercing tap...

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Tap Handle #594: Gray's - Busted Knuckle Irish Ale

Tap size:  9.25"
Rarity:  Scarce
Mounting:  standard 3/8" ferrule on 5/16" anchor bolt

I tried for years to acquire one of these taps to no avail. I finally obtained one last year and I love it! I'm not sure if this is one bad-ass looking leprechaun, or if it is simply a brawling Irishman, but it has excellent detail and bright coloring, with a green hat and shirt, a black hatband, and orange hair and beard. Below this character is a yellowish-green sign with the brewery's name, the beer variety in raised lettering, and recessed clover symbols. On each side of the sign is the same clover symbol and the name of the brewery. The front and back of the sign are identical to each other, as are the two sides to each other. The character, however, is a reverse image front and back, instead of a fully sculpted figure. This creates a really bizarre-looking profile when viewing the character from the side. As has been the case with the last several profiles I've posted, this tap is quite scarce. I've only seen two others, and those were prior to my acquisition, so it has been a long time since I've seen one, and the price was well over $100.

Click through to read more about Gray's Brewing, their Busted Knuckle Irish Ale, and to see more photos of this rough-and-tumble tap...

Friday, April 15, 2016

Tap Handle #593: Chili's (Chilihead) - Rusty's Road Knight Amber Ale

Tap size:  13.25"
Rarity:  Scarce
Mounting:  internal 3/8" nut

The first thing you notice about this tap when holding it is the weight - it is at least 2-3 pounds! It's got to be one of the heaviest taps in the collection. It's also fairly tall at over 13". It features an armadillo perched on top of a cactus. The cactus is rather crudely sculpted and painted, but the artist did put some effort into the armadillo - it is very cartoonish and, dare I say, cute, painted a copper color, with sunglasses that have purple shades. Below the armadillo is a sign that is sculpted to resemble weathered wood, but is also painted a copper color, with the name of the beer in recessed letters. The beer and tap were custom made for Chili's in 1995 by Chilihead Brewery, when there were only 400 Chili's restaurants in existence. The production on these handles was a maximum of 400-500, and may have been significantly less. Due to its bulk and weight, the ease in which they were damaged (broken ears and snouts were the most common), and the lack of sales for the beer, most of the taps ended up in landfills when Chili's discontinued producing Rusty's Amber. As a result, this is one of scarcest taps you will see - I've never seen another.

Click through to read more about Chili's, what little I could find about their Rusty's Road Knight Amber Ale, and to see more photos of this elusive tap...

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Beer Advocate Magazine - "The Pull of Tap Handles"

I thought I'd post this link to a Beer Advocate Magazine article from Issue #106 written back in November. It's a brief and shallow fluff piece on tap handles, and there's probably not much there that you didn't already know...although there are a few interesting facts regarding the Sapporo Katana tap, as well as reports of a new Heavy Seas tap that sounds awesome (no photos are provided though). The low point of the article for me involved people in a pub in Atlanta picking the SweetWater trout or the Dogfish Head puzzle tap as the "most memorable" tap designs, which is laughable. Had they bothered to contact Amazing Tap Handles, I could have given them a lot more information - and some shining examples of "memorable" taps!

You can find the link to the article here.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Tap Handle #592: North Country - Paleo IPA

Tap size:  12.25"
Rarity:  Scarce
Mounting:  internal 3/8" nut

North Country's Paleo IPA tap differs from the gnome and elf fantasy theme found in the brewery through wood carvings, their other tap designs, and their website. Instead, this tap pays homage to owner Bob McCafferty's previous occupation as an archaeologist, with the main features being an archaeologist's trowel and a shaped piece of polished stone, displaying the name of the beer in a blocky, almost cartoonish font that is meant to appear primitive yet colorful. The brewery's name resembles a stamp on the surface of the trowel. The surface of the trowel is highly reflective, so when it is turned directly towards or away from a light source, it turns dark in my photos. The rest of the tap looks like a column of stone with stick figure cave paintings on the bottom. The detail in the stone sculpting, and the colors used to paint it, are exceptional, and the trowel looks real. The front and back of the tap are reverse images of each other, so I took a full range of photos to show the different profiles that the tap displays. This is yet another tap recently profiled that I would classify as scarce, since I have only seen about three others. Thanks to the great visual appeal of the tap, as well as the scarcity, I expect the price to stay well over $100 on the secondary market.

Click through to read more about North Country Brewing, their Paleo IPA, and to see more photos of this revealing tap...

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Tap Handle #591: Long Doggers (Florida Beer Company) - Hatteras Red American Red Lager

Tap size:  10.25"
Rarity:  Scarce
Mounting:  internal 3/8" nut

Hatteras Red is the eleventh lighthouse themed tap I have profiled (I think). Although the inspiration is the same as that for the Carolina Beer/Foothills Brewing tap from profile #97, the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse in North Carolina, one feature that immediately sets it apart from the others is the surfboard leaning up against the lighthouse on the front of the tap. The surfboard has the name of the beer in raised letters on its surface. The base of the tap has maroon brick "panels" with tan accent bricks, and the shaft of the light house has a black and white striped pattern swirling around it. The top of the lighthouse is black, with a chromatic reflective tape placed around the top that catches and reflects nearby light to simulate the action of the the lighthouse. The tap is scarce; because the beer is contract brewed for the six Long Dogger restaurants in Florida, there probably weren't very many produced - mine is the only one I've ever seen.

Cape Hatteras Light is a lighthouse located on Hatteras Island in the Outer Banks in the town of Buxton, North Carolina and is part of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore. On July 10, 1797, Congress appropriated $44,000 for erecting a lighthouse on the head land of Cape Hatteras and a lighted beacon on Shell Castle Island, in the harbor of Ocracoke in the State of North Carolina. The Cape Hatteras light was needed to mark very dangerous shoals which extend from the cape for a distance of 10 nautical miles and had earned the nickname “Graveyard of the Atlantic.”. The Cape Hatteras Lighthouse was constructed in 1803 of dark sandstone, with a light consisting of 18 lamps with 14-inch reflectors. It was visible in clear weather for a distance of 18 miles. In 1860 the Lighthouse required protection due to the outbreak of the Civil War. In 1862 the Lighthouse, lens and lantern were damaged by the Confederate Army.

At the behest of mariners and officers of the U.S. Navy, Congress appropriated $80,000 to construct a new beacon at Cape Hatteras in 1868. Completed in just under two years, the new Cape Hatteras lighthouse cost $167,000. The new tower was the tallest brick lighthouse tower in the world at 200 feet above ground. The old tower was demolished in 1872. In 1879, the tower was struck by lightning. Cracks subsequently appeared in the masonry walls, which was remedied by placing a metal rod to connect the iron work of the tower with an iron disk sunk in the ground. In 1912 the candlepower of the light was increased from 27,000 to 80,000.


Ever since the completion of the new tower in 1870, there had begun a very gradual encroachment of the sea upon the beach. Since that time the surf gnawed steadily toward the base of the tower until 1935, when the site was finally reached by the surf. Several attempts were made to arrest this erosion, but dikes and breakwaters had been of no avail. In 1935, therefore, the tower light was replaced by a light on a skeleton steel tower placed farther back from the sea on a sand dune. The old tower was then abandoned to the custody of the National Park Service. After the Civilian Conservation Corps and Works Progress Administration erected a series of wooden revetments which reclaimed the beach, the Lighthouse was re-activated, although the nearby skeleton steel tower was left in place as a contingency.


In 1999, the Lighthouse had to be moved from its original location at the edge of the ocean to safer ground 2,900 feet inland. Due to erosion of the shore, the lighthouse was just 15 feet from the ocean’s edge and was in imminent danger. International Chimney Corp. of Buffalo, New York was awarded the contract to move the lighthouse, assisted, among other contractors, by Expert House Movers. The move was controversial at the time, with speculation that the structure would not survive the move, resulting in lawsuits that were later dismissed. Despite some opposition, work progressed and the move was completed on September 14, 1999. The Cape Hatteras Light House Station Relocation Project became known as “The Move of the Millennium.” General contractor International Chimney and Expert House Movers won the 40th Annual Outstanding Civil Engineering Achievement Award from the American Society of Civil Engineers in 1999. The Cape Hatteras Lighthouse is the tallest masonry structure ever moved (200 feet tall and weighing 5,000 tons).

Adjacent to the Cape Hatteras Light is the Hatteras Island Visitor Center and Museum of the Sea, operated by the National Park Service, which is located in the historic Cape Hatteras Lighthouse Double Keepers' Quarters. Exhibits include the history, maritime heritage and natural history of the Outer Banks and the Lighthouse. The visitor center offers information about the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, ranger programs and a bookstore.

Click through to read more about Long Doggers, their Hatteras Red American Red Lager, how I was able to link the tap to the restaurant, and to see more photos of this symbolic tap...

Friday, April 8, 2016

Tap Handle #590: 40 Arpent - Milk Stout

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

The 40 Arpent tap is simple but attractive. To the right I have attached the design notes for the tap found on the brewery's website. A round disc sits on top of a shaft made of corn and wheat stalks; the disc bears the decal featuring the emblem of the brewery. On top of that is a small yellow sign that was originally desgined to be slotted to allow a beer variety card to be inserted, but at some point the design changed and it is instead recessed, allowing a label to be attached. The color is dominated by the green corn stalks and the disc, but the yellow sign and wheat stalks offsets the green nicely. The front and back are not the same and have variations in their sculpting, which is why I have taken a full set of photos. Since the brewery is relatively new and fairly small, this tap can be hard to come by on the secondary market - I believe I've only seen 3 or 4 others - and it commands a higher price than you would expect.

An arpent is a French unit of land measurement - slightly smaller than an acre - that was originally used by the French to divide property along a waterway. Land grants given by the King of France to Louisiana residents were often six arpents wide by forty arpents deep. The land grants created several 40 arpent canals that allowed inhabitants access to waterways as well as a chance to develop their land. St. Bernard’s 40 Arpent Canal, which was built in the 18th century, stretched from what is now the Faubourg Marigny, roughly paralleling the Mississippi River on the East Bank down through modern St. Bernard Parish and part of the East Bank of Plaquemines.

Click through to read more about 40 Arpent Brewing, their Milk Stout, and to see more photos of this attractive tap...

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Tap Handle #589: Figueroa Mountain - FMB 101 Kolsch

Tap size:  12.25"
Rarity:  Scarce
Mounting:  internal 3/8" nut

Typical US 101 sign
Every spring I can count on my dad to bring me a great new tap for my birthday that I've never seen before. Last year it was the La Quinta palm tree tap featured in profile #476; this year, it's the FMB 101 Kolsch tap from Figueroa Mountain. Its most prominent feature is the large US 101 sign at the top, with the initials of the brewery appearing where "US" would normally be found. Below that is a marker that indicates the Kolsch variety, and another small round sign with the brewery's insignia. All of these signs are attached to what resembles a metal pole sticking out of the base. The base itself is a scenic rendition of the winding roads, cliffs, and green fields found along Highway 101 as it passes through the Santa Ynez Mountains in California. All these features, combined with the tall size, make this a very impressive tap. I have not seen one on the secondary market, so that currently makes the tap scarce, although I think that will change very soon.

US 101 passing through Santa Ynez
Mountains
U.S. Route 101 (US 101) in the state of California is one of the last remaining and longest U.S. Routes still active in the state, and the longest highway of any kind in California. US 101 was also one of the original national routes established in 1926. Although the highway has been superseded in overall importance for transport through the state by Interstate 5 (I-5), US 101 continues to be the major coastal north-south route that links the Greater Los Angeles Area, the Central Coast, the San Francisco Bay Area, and the North Coast (Redwood Empire). Significant portions of US 101 between the Los Angeles area and the San Francisco Bay Area follow El Camino Real, the historic road connecting the former Alta California's 21 missions. US 101 also has portions designated as the Santa Ana Freeway, Hollywood Freeway, Ventura Freeway, South Valley Freeway, and the Bayshore Freeway. The Redwood Highway, the 350-mile-long northernmost segment of the highway, begins at the Golden Gate and passes through the world's tallest and only extensive preserves of virgin, old-growth coast redwood trees.

Click through to read more about Figueroa Mountain Brewing, their FMB 101 Kolsch, and to see more photos of this scenic tap...

Friday, April 1, 2016

Tap Handle #588: Anthem - Uroboros Stout

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

Anthem's tap handle is one of my favorite new additions to the collection, because if you follow this site, you know I love industrial and steampunk themed taps. It features a curious-looking black orb on top of a long cylindrical shaft that is loaded with intricate details like pipes, hoses, vents, and buttons. The copper color is gorgeous, and is highlighted in various places with red tones. In what is a unique feature, the labels are actually printed on rigid plastic, and a slot is provided in the front of the tap that allows the label to simply slide in. It gives a durability to the labels, and makes changing them out a breeze...it is so innovative I'm surprised we don't see more of this type of label design. I received two labels, Uroboros Stout and Golden One. The Golden One label is more colorful (see photo to right), but I like the fantasy-like lettering and the small skull and crossbones on the top and bottom of the Uroboros label a little better, and so have chosen to profile it...plus the beer sounds delicious! You may be curious about the black orb on top, as was I, so I was able to dig up some information provided by Anthem founder Matt Anthony:

"The Anthem logo was created by my very talented designer and friend, Marc Bostian. I started working with Marc early on in the planning stages. One day we met for him to show me several different ideas and designs he had. From the instant I saw it I fell in love and knew that was going to be the logo. The hand drawn organic figure balanced with the clean lines of the text were a perfect example of what I was shooting for with the beer: handmade  sophistication...I can certainly appreciate everyone’s interpretation. That said, it is a person. The misshapen eyes, star mouth and giant star on his forehead, all make me think of some imaginary place where he came from. Where everyone was “perfect,” symmetrical and identical. A place where everyone was expected to follow the same path in life. But this little guy knew he wanted something different. He knew he wanted to strike out and follow his own path, no matter the risk. What I see in him is a person, perfect in his imperfection. A true individual. He has no name, at least not yet. Marc and I have just been calling him The Imp. Maybe one day he’ll get a name. Until then, I think people will have an easier time seeing what he is when they see our tap handles next month."

Currently this tap is scarce - I have only seen a few others - and this scarcity, when combined with the industrial/steampunk design, suggests the tap will command a hefty price on the secondary market.

Click through to read more about Anthem Brewing, their Uroboros Stout, and to see more photos of this imaginative tap...