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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Monday, May 30, 2016

Tap Handle #609: Kyodo Shoji Koedo - Coedo Ruri Premium Pilsner

Tap size:  12"
Rarity:  50 or less, import
Mounting:  internal 3/8" nut

This gorgeous tap from Coedo oozes with style and has some very cool and unusual features. A woman wears a black kimono with the name of the brewery not only in recessed letters down the side, but also in a jumble of characters pooled around the base. The kimono is tied in back with an elaborate bow. The woman's hair is balled up in the back and she holds a fan in her hand. The hat, however, is the most unique feature. The hat is screwed in to the top of the woman's head; it bears the name of the beer and is colored with the hue that the beer is named after. This makes changing the beer a breeze - you simply unscrew the hat topper and screw in a different one. Given the choice of toppers, I picked the bluish-purple Ruri to give the tap a bold splash of color. The only downside to the tap is that the black tends to show particles from the packing material, and the semi-gloss finish is highly reflective when taking photos. These Coedo taps appear on the secondary market occasionally and command a fairly high price.

Click through to read more about Kyodo Shoji Koedo/Coedo Brewery, their Ruri Premium Pilsner, and to see more photos of this elegant tap..

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Tap Handle #608: St. Francis - Gluttony Oktoberfest

Tap size:  10.75"
Rarity:  10 or less, small scale, seasonal
Mounting:  internal 3/8" nut

With the appearance of a statue of carved stone, this tap handle is sculpted to resemble Saint Francis. Usually Saint Francis is pictured with a bird in his hands to symbolize his love for nature and animals; here he holds a goblet of beer instead of a bird, and the symbolism is obvious. The detail is impressive, including the cobblestone base he is standing on, the front of which displays a label featuring the variety of beer. Nowhere on the tap is the name of the brewery displayed; however, the St. Francis figure himself, along with the symbol of the brewery which appears on both sides of the base, indicate that the tap belongs to the St. Francis Brewery. The tap is used for all of the brewery's "seven deadly sins" line, so labels such as Envy or Lust can also be found displayed on the tap. Due to scale of production (the seven deadly sins line is brewed by a contract brewer), these are very hard to find, and the seasonal Oktoberfest label is very rare as well. The rarity and visual appeal of the tap keep prices quite high for undamaged versions.

Fun fact: I believe Museum Restoration Expert Kelly is distantly related to one of the owners of the St. Francis Brewery, Rick Michalski.

Saint Francis of Assisi, born Giovanni di Pietro di Bernardone, informally named as Francesco, lived from 1181  to 1226, and was an Italian Roman Catholic friar and preacher. He founded the men's Order of Friars Minor, the women’s Order of Saint Clare, the Third Order of Saint Francis and the Custody of the Holy Land. Francis is one of the most venerated religious figures in history. Pope Gregory IX canonized Francis in 1228. Along with Saint Catherine of Siena, he was designated Patron saint of Italy. He later became associated with patronage of animals and the natural environment, and it became customary for Catholic and Anglican churches to hold ceremonies blessing animals on his feast day of October 4.

In 1219, he went to Egypt in an attempt to convert the Sultan to put an end to the conflict of the Crusades. By this point, the Franciscan Order had grown to such an extent that its primitive organizational structure was no longer sufficient. He returned to Italy to organize the Order. Once his community was authorized by the Pope, he withdrew increasingly from external affairs. Francis is also known for his love of the Eucharist. In 1223, Francis arranged for the first Christmas live nativity scene. In 1224, he received the stigmata, during the apparition of Seraphic angels in a religious ecstasy, making him the first recorded person to bear the wounds of Christ's Passion. He died during the evening hours of October 3, 1226, while listening to a reading he had requested of Psalm 142 (141).

Click through to read more about St. Francis Brewing, their Gluttony Oktoberfest, and to see more photos of this venerable tap...

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Tap Handle #607: Heileman (Pabst) - Old Style Traditional Lager

Tap size:  10.75"
Rarity:  50 or less, readily available
Mounting:  3/8" ferrule on 5/16" anchor bolt

Pabst has recently heightened its marketing efforts of its brands in the last few years, with taps being one of the areas they have focused on. Like the Pink Elephants, Octopabst, and Pepper the Unicorn from the previous post, Old Style's tap has also received a re-design. This tap is three sided, featuring a sculpting of the downtown Chicago skyline. The classic Old Style red and blue badge, which dates back to 1902, appears on all three sides, along with sculpted ribbons above and below it that proclaim Old Style is "Chicago's Beer Since 1902". The striped decal on the base and gold-colored ferrule completes the look. Since all three sides of the tap look the same except for the skyline, I have taken more photos of the top of the tap than the base. It is fairly easy to find and affordable on the secondary market, although occasionally one will sell for around $100.

For more about Heileman, see this post.

Click through to read more about the historic Old Style brand and to see more photos of this high-rising tap...

Friday, May 20, 2016

Tap Handle #606: Pabst - Project Pabst

Tap size:  11" tall x 4" deep
Rarity:  readily available, special event
Mounting:  internal 3/8" nut

This Pabst tap features "Pepper the Unicorn", a symbol Pabst created 6 weeks prior to the first Project Pabst event in Portland in 2014. They had a team create a 22 foot unicorn statue, which stood at the center of the festival. PBR, Figure Plant, Superfly, and David Korins design all came up with the idea of having a unicorn and they helped design the statue of Pepper, complete with a color-changing LED horn that displayed the colors of the rainbow. The unicorn symbol was chosen due to a tongue-in-cheek myth in Portland that the city was built on a unicorn burial site and that it used to be the “city of unicorns". The tap handle was used to dispense Pabst on draft at the event and is a tie-in to the statue, and features Pepper standing on a segmented red white and blue platform with the Pabst symbol on it. The symbol also appears on a large medallion between the unicorn's front legs, hanging from a chain around Pepper's neck. The unicorn is colored silver, except for a white mane and tail, copper-colored hooves, and a a brand or tattoo of the Pabst symbol on its right flank. The horn sticks out at a slight angle, giving the tap a depth of 4", but that shouldn't be a problem for displaying it if the unicorn faces forward. Given that the tap was originally created for a concert in Portland in 2014, these were initially rare, but the success of the first concert leading to a second concert in 2015, and an expansion to 4 concerts in 4 cities in 2016, combined with a push in marketing that would disgust the hipsters that saved the brand in the 2000s, has made these easy to obtain if you are willing to spend around $100.

For more about Pabst, see this post.

Click through to read more about Project Pabst and to see more photos of this mythical tap...

Monday, May 16, 2016

Tap Handle #605: Stony Creek - Cranky IPA

Tap size:  10.25"
Rarity:  readily available
Mounting:  3/8" ferrule on 5/16" anchor bolt

What a beautiful tap Stony Creek has designed! During the brewery's re-branding in 2015, owner Ed Crowley Sr. brought in Good Beer Hunting's Michael Kiser, a brand strategist and expert storyteller. Kiser worked with Crowley to design a visual aspect that would embody the re-branding he was looking to accomplish. Together, they designed the vibrant, multicolored heron that is prominently displayed throughout the company's entire portfolio. "Cranky" is a nickname for the Great Blue Heron, which is central to Stony Creek's logo that appears on a label on the front and back on the tap. Below that logo is an oval section where a label for the beer variety is placed. You have to look closely to realize that the heron's legs extend through these labeled areas, and its feet emerge from underneath as it stands on top of the gorgeous copper ferrule. At one time these taps were very hard to find, but they have now become cheap and plentiful.

Click through to read more about Stony Creek Brewery, their Cranky IPA, and to see more photos of this colorful tap...

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Tap Handle #604: Anheuser-Busch - Shock Top Honey Bourbon Cask Wheat

Tap size:  12.25"
Rarity:  readily available, fragile
Mounting:  internal 3/8" nut

Honey Bourbon Cask Wheat is the seventh Shock Top tap profiled on the site, and is my favorite of the bunch. There are more details on this tap than on any of the others, and they all work well together. The familiar orange slice head is wearing honeycomb-shaped sunglasses and sports the newer style of mohawk - striped. Around the rest of the tap you can find drips of honey, beehives, and honeybees. Like all Shock Top taps, there are lots of detailed edges that are easily damaged, especially around the base or the mohawk. Although Honey Bourbon Cask Wheat is one of the most rare Shock Top varieties, and despite not being listed on their website as an active beer, this tap is still fairly easy to find on the secondary market, but typically commands a higher price than other varieties.

For more about Shock Top, see this post.

Click through to read more about Shock Top's Honey Bourbon Cask Wheat and to see more photos of this buzzin' tap...

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Tap Handle #603: Heileman - Grenadier Red

Tap size:  8.5"
Rarity:
Mounting:  internal 3/8" nut

The rarest Grenadier - an Oktoberfest label and letter
As I've stated in previous posts, most of the time the origin and history of a tap handle are steeped in mystery, with very little information available. The Grenadier tap is a rare exception to this norm. In 1909, G. Heileman Brewing introduced a patent for Grenadier beer. After Prohibition ended, the Grenadier image became an advertising character for Heileman's Old Style brand, as you can see in this Youtube video. In 1995, after struggling to survive bankruptcy, Heileman launched the Grenadier premium brand of beer, which included Grenadier Red (at a time when red beer was hot marketing gimmick) and Oktoberfest. To promote this premium brand, Heileman commissioned 600 of these tap handles to be made, sculpted by artist Ferdinand Rebechini, who signed the first casting used for the mold, and thus his signature appears on the back of every tap. The taps were all individually numbered, which is stamped under Rebechini's signature. Each tap was originally distributed in a burgundy colored felt bag, with an accompanying letter and a box, with the box numbered to match the tap. Unfortunately I don't have the bag, box, or letter...if I ever get the letter I will update this post with a copy of it. Despite its smaller size, the solid pewter casting makes it quite heavy - 1 pound, 4 ounces to be exact. It reminds me of a large version of the old Dungeons and Dragons game miniatures from the 1980s made by, oddly enough, a company called Grenadier. I've included a photo of the bottom of the tap to show how unusual the mounting area looks. The tap has appeared with varying frequency on the secondary market over the years as people liquidated old stock or found one in a chance discovery. Most taps do include the bag or the box, but the letter is very rare, as is a tap with the Oktoberfest label. Due to the durability of the metal casting that resists breakage and the fact that 600 exist, I imagine this will continue to pop up from time to time, and the price has dropped greatly from the premium it once commanded.

Ferdinand Rebechini was a veteran of the U.S. Army and served with the 30th Infantry Division during World War II. A well known metal sculptor, he was the owner of Rebechini Studios in Elk Grove Village in Chicago. His diverse works include abstract figures, a scene of man in a spacesuit on the moon, and a 16" statue of Michael Jordan. He passed away in 2003, only 8 years after the Grenadier tap handle was produced.

For more about G Heileman Brewing, see this post.

Unlike the tap, I can't find any information on Grenadier Red beer and there is no entry on Ratebeer or Beer Advocate. Stroh retired the brand in 2006 when they bought Heileman, so it was only in existence for a little over one year.

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

Tap Giveaway #4 Results - UPDATE

UPDATE:

Ariel has claimed the prize, so this contest is in the books. The next contest is only a few weeks away...

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I'd like to thank each person who entered the giveaway contest. Giveaway #4 saw a record number of 15 entries. The winner of the contest, chosen at random, is:

Ariel N.

Ariel has 48 hours to respond or the prize will go to someone else. Due to the high number of entries and the popularity of the tap, I will give away another one in June. Everyone who entered this contest and didn't win will automatically be entered into the June contest.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Tap Handle #602: Gordon Biersch - Light

Tap size:  13"
Rarity:  10 or less seen, hand-made, import
Mounting:  internal 3/8" nut

This Gordon Biersch tiki-themed tap was used at their brewpub and restaurant in the Aloha Tower Marketplace in Honolulu, Hawaii (see photo to right). It is made of wood, and as such, it displays evidence that it was well-used, with dents, small chips out of the wood, and areas where the finish has been worn off. I think the tap still looks great, and it is another tiki-themed tap to add to the collection. The top of the tap has a hollowed-out ring where a ceramic insert has been glued in; this insert has the name of the brewery, the beer variety, the location, and some nice floral graphics on a decal that has been fired on to the ceramic. A metal band has been attached to the bottom to protect the wood and keep it from splitting due to the internal nut placement and being bolted down to the tap dispenser. I'm calling this tap an import, since it is not something you'd see in the continental U.S.

For more about Gordon Biersch, see this post.

Gordon Biersch Aloha Tower photo courtesy of powerhouseband.org.

Click through to read more about Gordon Biersch's Light and to see more photos of this exotic tap...

Friday, May 6, 2016

Tap Handle #601: Big Rock - Rhine Stone Cowboy Kolsch

Tap size:  11.5"
Rarity:  less than 10 seen, readily available, hand-made
Mounting:  standard 3/8" ferrule on 5/16" anchor bolt

In the world of tap handle design, no piece of footwear appears on a tap handle more than the cowboy boot. Anheuser-Busch has one; Coors has a couple different versions, one of which appears here in the Museum (profile #576). Big Rock has placed one as a part of this Rhine Stone Cowboy tap, rather than making it the sole focus. This makes the boot smaller than the Coors or A-B versions, but here the aesthetics are much nicer. The boot sits on a large sign with the name of the beer in raised letters on it. At the base is the Big Rock logo, also appearing as sculpted letters. On top of the base is a chicken; the chicken figure or symbol is found on many of the newer Big Rock taps. The back of the tap is a reverse image of the front. The tap is not classified as an import, since Big Rock distributes the beer in Canada but not the U.S. When the tap does appear on the secondary market, the price has been very reasonable.

For more about Big Rock Brewing, see this post.

Click through to read more about Big Rock's Rhine Stone Cowboy and to see more photos of this kickin' tap...

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Tap Handle #600: Amsterdam Brewery - Boneshaker IPA

Tap size:  11.5"
Rarity:  10 or less, readily available
Mounting:  internal 3/8" nut

Here we are once again at another milestone, tap profile #600. There are some great taps coming up on the way to profile #700, but for now I'd like to turn your attention to this Boneshaker tap from Amsterdam Brewing. Although it's not my favorite Amsterdam tap (that would be the Cruiser), it's still very nice. A large radius or tibia bone makes up the entire tap. The words "Boneshaker" and "Unfiltered India Pale Ale" run up the length of the bone; at the top is a small scene depicting a skeleton on a bicycle, while the bottom features the name of the brewery. Although the tap is almost the same when comparing the front to the back, the bone is shaped in such a way to make the appearance different from each view, and so I have taken a full range of photos. 

Click through to read more about Amsterdam Brewing, their Boneshaker IPA, and to see more photos of this connected tap...

Monday, May 2, 2016

Tap Handle Giveaway #4 Announcement and Details

May is here, and as promised at the end of the previous contest in March, I'm going to be giving away another tap handle. This will be the fourth contest that the Museum has sponsored. Previous tap contest entries and winners were:

#1 - East Coast Taps nautical theme - won by Denis G. (out of 3 entries received for trivia contest)
#2 - Florida Keys mermaid - won by Sean W. (out of 6 entries received)
#3 - Big Dawg - won by Charlie W (out of 4 entries received)



This time I'm giving away a tap that was featured in a previous profile (#544): Beer Army (see photo to left). You can find more photos in the tap profile post. I'm throwing in a Zero Dark Thirty label for the tap, as well as a couple of stickers and cards (see photo to right). Past winners are not eligible to participate in this contest (except for Charlie W.). 


To enter the contest, you only need to submit your name through the "Contact Me" feature in the sidebar, or email me if you have my email address. I will choose one winner at random on May 10th, so you have until May 9th, 11:59 pm PST to enter. Once I announce the winner they will have 2 days to respond to my email or I will choose a new winner. Good luck!