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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Sunday, August 28, 2016

Tap Handle #630: Pabst - Kegatron

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

Pabst has really been on a roll lately, cranking out tap handle designs as if they've finally discovered that collectors want them, but yet they still don't sell taps as merchandise! It's a puzzler for sure. Fortunately there are other means to obtain them, and I waited for a price drop before buying mine. Inspired by artwork from MälVy Clark Westbrook (see photo to right), there are lots of amazing details on this tap. Kegatron, as it is called, is transforming out of a Pabst beer keg. If you look closely, the top of the keg is the "neck" of Kegatron. Pabst decals appear in multiple places on the tap as well. They are easily found on the secondary market and although the initial price was high, it has since stabilized to a more reasonable level, more along the lines of the Pabst unicorn than the Octopabst.


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


Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Tap Handle #629: Belfast Bay - Stone Crab IPA

Tap size:  9.25"
Rarity:  50 or less seen
Mounting:  3/8" ferrule on 5/16" anchor bolt

It's been a long time since I profiled Belfast Bay's first tap, Lobster Ale...in fact you have to go all the way back to March of 2012 and profile #108! The previous tap featured a lobster claw, but this tap features the claw of a stone crab. It's a real beauty, too, with black pincers and orange-colored, segmented legs. The brewery name is a decal applied near the top of the claw, but the beer name is actually sculpted as raised lettering under the decal. Although it's a little on the small side, it is still very impressive. While the Lobster Ale tap continues to be produced, this tap was only available for a limited time and is now out of production and hard to find. It's been at least several months since I've seen one.

For more about Belfast Bay, see this post.

A stone crab, also known as a Florida stone crab, is definitely an unusual creature. With its Popeye-sized claws and tiny body, this six-inch crustacean folds up into a football in repose and bristles out into an irritable, spiky tank when its blood is up, like any other crab. But that’s not what’s special about it. The Florida stone crab a uniquely sustainable food animal. Found from North Carolina to the Gulf of Mexico, Florida stone crabs can only be legally harvested from October 15 to May 15. Fishermen go out in sturdy 45-foot boats with crews of three or four, and set down hundreds or thousands of traps on the rocky seabed 35 to 70 miles off of the coast, leaving shore before the sun rises and returning as it dips below the horizon, rain or shine. The traps, which are usually baited with pig’s feet, are smaller and more cube-like than lobster traps, and they’re made of milk-crate plastic instead of wood - natural predators, like octopuses, sea turtles, and big fish, will target trapped crabs, and can easily chew or claw through wood.

After a certain period, they return to the traps and haul them out. And that’s where the critical step takes place that makes the stone-crab industry uniquely sustainable. The key is popping off the claw while keeping the crab alive - the crab evolved the ability to regenerate its limbs over and over again so that it could sacrifice an extremity or two to escape from its enemies. The claws are then graded according to size, taken back to the docks, and boiled in a big vat, which turns the claws bright orange. By law it can't be shipped fresh, because it spoils too fast, so it is always first cooked and then chilled so that the meat will not stick to the shell; it can't be frozen, because the meat will be dry and stringy when defrosted. The crabs, meanwhile, take about a year to grow their claws back.

Click through to read more about Belfast Bay's Stone Crab IPA and to see more photos of this gripping tap...

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Tap Handle #628: Blue Corn Cafe & Brewery - Honeymoon Wheat Ale

Tap size:  13" tall by 4.25" deep
Rarity:  10 or less seen, beer retired, hand-made
Mounting:  3/8" ferrule on 5/16" anchor bolt

I laughed out loud when I first saw photos of this tap. A bee wearing a pilot's cap and flying goggles is "mooning" a large, silver crescent moon while standing on one end of it. The moon has been given facial features, and is actually rolling its eyes at the juvenile action that the bee is performing. The color and detail of the tap are excellent. The size of the tap is impressive as well, standing at 13" tall and having a depth of 4.25". It has instantly become one of my favorite taps in the collection, especially since it is so rare - Blue Corn Cafe ordered very few of these, and it has been out of production for a long time. I've only seen two others, and they were both expensive at over $200 each.

For more about Blue Corn Cafe and Brewery, see this post.

Click through to read more about Blue Corn Cafe & Brewery's Honeymoon Wheat Ale and to see more photos of this revealing tap...

Monday, August 15, 2016

Tap Handle #627: Guns & Oil - Maverick Lager

Tap size:  10.75"
Rarity:  10 or less seen, small scale, hand-made
Mounting:  internal 3/8" nut

This tap from Guns & Oil Brewing is shaped like an oil derrick, and though it seems simple, an incredible amount of work went into making it. Each piece of metal must be cut, shaped, and welded in place. Then the top piece, which bears a label with the brewery's name and beer on it, is attached. Finally the base is attached and a hole is drilled in the bottom so that the mounting nut can be welded on. The overall effect is an incredible piece of metal artwork. Since the front and back are identical to each other, as are the two sides to each other, I have reduced the number of photos taken. The tap has only appeared on the secondary market twice that I can recall.

Click through to read more about Guns & Oil Brewing, their Maverick Lager, and to see more photos of this elaborate tap...

Tap Handle Giveaway #7 Results - UPDATE

John has claimed his prize, so Tap Giveaway #7 is a wrap.
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I'd like to thank each of the 12 people who entered this month's giveaway contest. The winner of the contest, chosen at random, is:

John P.

John has 48 hours to respond or the prize will go to someone else. September is right around the corner, so if you've been trying to win don't give up! The tap in the next contest, like the Leinenkugal IPL in this month's contest, will be one that I haven't given away before, so make sure you check back for the chance to win a free tap!

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Tap Handle #626: Oasis - Tut Brown Ale

Tap size:  11"
Rarity:  10 or less seen, small scale
Mounting:  internal 3/8" nut

Okay, I'll admit that of the many things I have professed to love in tap designs, Egyptian influence is one that has not previously come up. This obelisk from Oasis is the first to make the list based on its shape and the hieroglyphics on each side. In stark contrast to the hieroglyphics, the name of the brewery and beer, which appear on the sides, evoke more of an art deco look that you might find in a club in the 1920's and 30's. With the tap being made of ceramic rather than resin, all the lettering and images are decals that have been fired on. Since the front and back are identical to each other, as are the two sides to each other, I reduced the number of photos taken. The tap dates back to the late 1990's period of the brewery, making it extremely hard to find despite Oasis being one of the largest brewpubs in the country during that time. These ceramic taps chipped easily and were often thrown away as a result. I've never seen another.

Click through to read more about Oasis Brewing, their Tut Brown Ale, and to see more photos of this iconic tap...

Monday, August 8, 2016

Tap Giveaway #7 Announcement and Details

It's time to give away another tap handle. This will be the seventh 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)
#4 - Beer Army - won by Ariel N (out of 15 entries received)
#5 - Beer Army #2 - won by Larry C (out of 14 entries received)
#6 - Red Hook Seedy Blonde - won by Bill S. (out of 13 entries received)

This time I'm giving away a tap that you will not see profiled on the site for quite some time yet: Leinenkugal IPL. This is great, rustic-looking tap with signs nailed to a log (see photo to left). The tap is new and unused. I do have the original box but it has seen some wear, and the styrofoam inside the box has really taken a beating, though this does not affect the tap itself in any way. 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 we've been in contact previously. I will choose one winner at random on July 15th, so you have until August 14th, 11:59 pm PST to enter. Once I announce the winner they will have 48 hours to respond to my email or I will choose a new winner. Good luck!

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Tap Handle #625: Maumee Bay - Major Oliver's Golden Lager

Tap size:  11.25"
Rarity:  10 or less seen, beer retired, hand-made
Mounting:  3/8" ferrule on 5/16" anchor bolt

This was a tap that I missed out on the first time I saw it before I finally got my hands on one. It features a bust of Major William Oliver sitting on a pedestal. The brewery's name does not appear on the tap, but in their early days the Major Oliver's brand was associated with them since they were located in the historic Oliver House. There were a few different varieties of Major Oliver's beer, which is indicated by an area on the front of the tap where a label is applied. Since their Major Oliver's brand has been retired for a long time and little information is available on it, I have chosen to focus part of my write up on the legendary Buckeye Beer, which Maumee Bay produces. This tap is quite scarce - I've only seen two others and they both were close to $100.

Major William Oliver was an officer who fought at Fort Meigs during the War of 1812. Quite some time later, he commissioned Isaiah Rogers to design a hotel building with a main front overlooking a beautiful park with shade trees and private rooms that offered a view of the Maumee River, in an area known as the Middlegrounds. Famous for his palace hotel designs, Rogers also gained national recognition as Chief of the Bureau of Construction in the U.S. Treasury Department, a position appointed to him by President Lincoln. The grand opening dazzled citizens with its million and a quarter bricks that went into the construction and the 171 rooms each with its own fireplace, running water, and gas lighting. Beautiful furnishings such as rosewood chairs, a carved piano, and lace curtains decorated the interior of the Oliver House. Guests enjoyed all the finest luxuries, including an omnibus that transported travelers from the railroad station to the hotel. The menu was only of superior quality.

Unfortunately, by 1894 hotels began to move closer to the downtown area, while manufacturing began to move into the Middlegrounds. The economic and social pressures from industries surrounding the hotel eventually forced the Oliver House to be reduced to a common rooming house. In 1919, Edward N. Riddle bought the Oliver House and converted it into an industrial plant for the Riddle Co., manufacturers of lighting fixtures. The new plant required that the interior be totally gutted. The only remnants of the grand hotel were two ornamental marble mantels, some wallpaper, and a black walnut and ash floor in the lobby area. However, the company did not survive the Great Depression, and during that time it is said to have been used as a flophouse. In 1947 the Oliver House changed owners again. Used for industrial purposes once more, it housed an axle manufacturer called Toledo Wheel & Rim. Twenty years later, in 1967, Successful Sales Co. purchased the Oliver House, for show and storage of novelty items that the company sold, and the building was also occupied by various small businesses until its purchase by James and Patricia Appold. The Oliver House stands as the only remaining hotel designed by Isaiah Rogers.

The Oliver House served as a medical center for the wounded during the Spanish-American War and this historic hotel has a haunted reputation. Numerous apparitions have appeared to guests and diners over the years. The most common, is that of a soldier who has come to be known as “The Captain.” He is said to show up most frequently dressed in full uniform. Paranormal investigations and strange sightings there are common.

Click through to read more about Maumee Bay Brewing Company and to see more photos of this historic tap...