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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Thursday, July 13, 2017

Tap Handle #653: Green Parrot Bar (Shipyard) - Green Parrot Session Ale

Tap size:  10"
Rarity:  less than 10 seen, contract beer
Mounting:  internal 3/8" nut

This is a really beautiful tap. It features a parrot at the top with sign above it that says "Green Parrot Session". Partially covering the parrot's body is the likeness of a state highway road sign with "GPS" (Green Parrot Session) and a 1 on it, with musical symbols that reflect the Green Parrot Bar's status as a national-recognized music venue. Below the sign is the word "Ale". The shaft of the tap is sculpted and colored to resemble the tail feathers of the parrot. Since the front and back are identical to each other (as are the two sides), I have reduced the amount of photos taken. The beer is brewed under contract by Shipyard, although they also sell it in select bars in the New England area. It is unclear if the tap is used in these other locations, or is limited to only the Green Parrot Bar. It doesn't pop up on the secondary market very often, so I don't have a very good grasp for price levels.

Click through to read more about the Green Parrot Bar, its Green Parrot Session Ale, and to see more photos of this colorful tap...

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Tap Handle #652: Greenbrier Valley - Mothman Black IPA

Tap size:  11"
Rarity:  less than 50 seen
Mounting:  3/8" ferrule on 5/16" anchor bolt

Back in tap post #636 I profiled the Greenbrier Valley Wild Trail featuring Sasquatch's foot. This second offering from Greenbrier Valley is actually my favorite of the two taps. It features the legendary mothman creature on top of metal tower. The mothman is quite ferocious-looking, with red eyes, a pointy, triangular mouth, claws, and large bird-like wings. The tap is three-sided, with the base bearing the name of the beer and the symbol of the brewery on all three sides. It rarely pops up on the secondary market and tends to sell for more than the Sasquatch foot.

For more about Greenbrier Valley Brewing, see this post.

In West Virginia folklore, the Mothman is a legendary creature reportedly seen in the Point Pleasant area from November 12, 1966, to December 15, 1967. The first newspaper report was published in the Point Pleasant Register dated November 16, 1966, titled "Couples See Man-Sized Bird ... Creature ... Something". The national press soon picked up the reports and helped spread the story across the country. The Mothman was introduced to a wider audience by Gray Barker in 1970, and later popularized by John Keel in his 1975 book The Mothman Prophecies, claiming that there were supernatural events related to the sightings, and a connection to the collapse of the Silver Bridge. The Mothman is the subject of regional folklore and popular culture. The 2002 film The Mothman Prophecies, starring Richard Gere, was based on Keel's book. An annual festival in Point Pleasant is devoted to the Mothman legend, and a 12 foot metallic statue of the creature, created by artist and sculptor Bob Roach, was unveiled in 2003. The Mothman Museum and Research Center opened in 2005.

Click through to read more about Greenbrier Valley's Mothman Black IPA and to see more photos of this frightening tap...

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Tap Giveaway #12 Results - UPDATE

Ken has claimed his prize, so this contest is officially over.
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I'd like to thank each of the 5 people who entered this month's giveaway contest. The winner of the contest, chosen at random, is:

Ken M.

Ken has 48 hours to respond or the prize will go to someone else. I will be giving away another great tap in July, so make sure you check back for the chance to win a free tap!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Tap Giveaway #12 Announcement and Details

It's time for another tap giveaway! This will be the 12th 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)
#7 - Leinenkugal IPL - won by John P (out of 12 entries received)
#8 - Shiner Smokehaus - won by Graham B. (out of 12 entries received)
#9 - Haacht Rince Cochon - won by Blair B. (out of 15 entries received)
#10 - Hobgoblin (new style) x 2 - won by Patrick M. and Doug K. (out of 22 entries received)
#11 - Celt Thirsty Warrior - won by Jeff H. (out of 16 entries)


For this contest I'm giving away the same tap as I did for contest #7 - a Leinenkugal IPL The tap is new and unused in its original box. 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 Sunday, June 25th, so you have until Saturday, June 24th, 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!

Friday, June 9, 2017

Tap Handle #651: Cobbler Mountain Cellars

Tap size:  11.75"
Rarity:  less than 10 seen
Mounting:  internal 3/8" nut

The Cobbler Mountain tap is one that photos can't do justice to...once you hold it in your hand you appreciate all of the fine details that went into its production. The most prominent features are the large barrel in the middle of the tap and the tree branch that forms the shaft of the tap. The barrel has a symbol on the side that looks Celtic, along with the name of the cidery. That name also appears as recessed letters on the tsp shaft, giving it the appearance of being "carved into the wood". An elf character holding an apple appears on the end of the barrel, and he is designed in bas relief. Finally, at the top of the tap is a circle that bears the same symbol that is found on the side of the barrel; however in this case it is made of brass and die cut. In fact there are matching brass plates above and below the barrel bearing the words "hard cider". It's a beautiful tap and very scarce, too - only 200 were made, and this is the only one I've ever seen at the time of this writing.

When I first spoke with Laura Louden, the owner of Cobbler Mountain Cellars, about acquiring this tap, she was able to provide me with some of the backstory behind it. Louden's father, a writer and teacher, used to tell his students tales about the elves and fairies that lived in the woods, and one of his characters was named "Scrumpy". The elf that appears on the end of the barrel on the tap is also named Scrumpy, in homage to Louden's father and his tales. Scrumpy is also a term used in Western England to refer to what was otherwise called "rough", a harsh cider made from unselected apples. Today the term is more often used to distinguish locally made ciders produced in smaller quantities and using traditional methods, from mass-produced branded ciders.

As a hard cider fan, I also took Laura up on her offer to acquire a case of their ciders, with 8 different varieties to try (see photo to right). I'll be sharing my thoughts about each variety in a subsequent post.

Click through to read more about Cobbler Mountain Cellars and to see more photos of this magical tap...

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Tap Handle #650: Magic Hat - Wilhelm Scream

Tap size:  13.5"
Rarity:  readily available, seasonal
Mounting:  3/8" hex nut on 3/8" anchor bolt

A few years ago, after Magic Hat had launched a popular tap series that featured a three sided base with a small snow globe on top for Limited Run beer varieties such as Winter Howl and Vinyl Lager, they went with a simpler tap design, in which their taps were given flat bases but still maintained figural imagery by using pieces that protruded away from the tap. Their Wilhem Scream beer tap was one of the first to receive this treatment. It features a three-dimensional sculpted pumpkin screaming into a microphone. The microphone is actually a piece of metal with a decal on it that bends forward to help create the figural look. The front and back are identical to each other, as are the two sides, so I reduced the number of photos taken. It was expensive on the secondary market when first released in 2014, but over the years the price has steadily dropped to bargain levels, as there seem to have been thousands of these taps made.

The name “Wilhelm Scream” refers to a Hollywood sound effect that has been used in more than 200 movies over the last 70 years. You can watch a compilation video here (warning: once you hear it, you will ALWAYS know it when you hear it). Also, Wilhelm Scream beer has its own unusual video, which you can watch here.

For more about Magic Hat, see this post.

Click through to read more about Magic Hat's Wilhelm Scream and to see more photos of this creepy yet cool tap...

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Tap Handle #649: Redhook - IPA

Tap size: 12.25"
Rarity:  beer and tap no longer produced
Mounting:  3/8" ferrule on 5/16" anchor bolt

Every now and then I discover that a tap that has been in the collection for a long time that somehow never got profiled in the Museum. It's made to look like a rocket with a ringed planet balanced on top. Three fins at the base of the tap help give it that rocket feel, and also make it 3-sided, with 3 decals between the fins with the brewery name and beer variety. Although it is not an exact likeness, I believe this tap was inspired by the Fremont Rocket, a sculpture in the eclectic neighborhood of Fremont in Seattle (see photo to right). As I discussed in profile #528 of the Redhook Tiki IPA, aka Ballard Bitter,  Redhook hasn't brewed their IPA/Ballard Bitter since some time in 2013, so that year may have been when the tap was used. They occasionally pop up on the secondary market, and when they do the price is very reasonable.

For more about Redhook, see this post.

For more about Redhook IPA (aka Ballard Bitter), see this post.

Photo courtesy of Seattle Bloggers.

Click through to see more photos of this out-of-this-world tap...

Friday, May 19, 2017

Tap Handle #648: Redhook (Buffalo WIld WIngs) - Game Changer Pale Ale

Tap size:  10.5"
Rarity:  beer retired
Mounting:  3/8" ferrule on 5/16" anchor bolt

This tap is so well made that it looks like a real remote control! Game Changer Pal Ale was made in collaboration with Buffalo Wild Wings, and they are known for their hot wings, TV sports viewing, trivia games, and beer. This remote fits that TV viewing and trivia game theme perfectly. The buttons on the front are all raised like those of a real remote, and Redhook decals appear in various places. A series of symbols appears along the top of the remote's "window", and although I wish I knew what they mean, for now it remains a mystery. Since the beer is no longer produced, the tap is becoming more scarce and price is rising accordingly.

Buffalo Wild Wings is an American casual dining restaurant and sports bar franchise in the United States, Canada, Mexico, the Philippines, the United Arab Emirates, which specializes in Buffalo wings and sauces. As of February 2017, it had 1,240 locations (631 directly owned by the company, and 609 franchised locations) across all 50 U.S. states and DC. An alternate nickname in recent usage by the company is B-Dubs. It was co-founded in 1982 by Jim Disbrow, Scott Lowery, and Bernard Spencer. Disbrow, Lowery, and Spencer came up with the idea one weekend when they got together in Kent, Ohio, for Disbrow to judge an amateur figure skating competition at Kent State University in 1980. They decided to open up their own restaurant, first in Columbus, Ohio, and then in Westerville, Ohio one year later.

Originally called Buffalo Wild Wings & Weck, in 1990 Buffalo Wild Wings & Weck began to franchise. In 1998, the name was changed to Buffalo Wild Wings Grill & Bar. The corporate headquarters was located in Cincinnati, Ohio until 1997 when it moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota. The chain is best known for Buffalo-style chicken wings along with over a dozen dipping sauces, as well as a complement of other items such as chicken tenders and legs. The chain's menu also features appetizers, burgers, tacos, salads, and desserts, along with beer, wine, and other beverages. They are known for their famous "Blazin Wing Challenge." They challenge customers to eat 12 of their hottest wings under six minutes. The winners receive a free T-shirt and get their picture on their wall of fame. The restaurants feature an open layout with a bar area and patio seating flanked by over 50 televisions and media screens.

For more about Redhook Brewing, see this post.

Click through to read more about Redhook's Game Changer and to see more photos of this game changing tap...

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Tap Handle #647: Twisted X

Tap size: 12.25"
Rarity:  50 or less seen, tap retired?
Mounting:  internal 3/8" nut

Although this tap is very much in the style of a toy-on-a-stick, the inexpensive price and the Mexican Day of the Dead styling of a skull in a sombrero was too good to pass up. It also came with some great labels, and I've chosen to profile the beer variety based on which label is my favorite: Chupahopra. There is room for a label on both the front and the back of the tap. As is normal for dark colored taps, fingerprints and dust will show up quite easily. I was told that this style of tap is no longer in production, but I have been unable to verify that. If so, I imagine these will be harder to find in the years to come.

Click through to read more about Twisted X Brewing, their Chupahopra IPA, and to see more photos of this stylish tap...

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Collectors Club Update

Back in my last anniversary post I mentioned the formation of the Amazing Tap Handles Collectors Club (ATHCC). So far there are 22 members who have joined the Club. Members are scattered across the U.S. and Canada, so how do you bring such a geographically diverse community together? By forming a message board that allows members to communicate with each other in real time. So far topics have covered a wide range of subjects - introductions and inspirations, favorite taps, display ideas, purchase experiences, a price database, and links to places to purchase taps. There have been tap sales, giveaways, and rare taps I have made available for sale exclusively to Club members.

I should also disclose that tap giveaways may move exclusively to the Club sometime in the near future.

The Club is open to anyone who wants to join, with one exception - people who sell taps on eBay, including flipping taps for big profits, are not eligible to join. There a multiple reasons for this policy, but I can't explain further at this time.

If you'd like to join, send me a message using the "Contact Me" gadget in the sidebar. I hope to see you in the Club!

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Tap Giveaway #11 Results - UPDATE

Jeff has claimed his prize, so the is contest is officially over.

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I'd like to thank each of the 16 people who entered this month's giveaway contest. The winner of the contest, chosen at random, is:

Jeff H.

Jeff has 48 hours to respond or the prize will go to someone else. If you've been trying to win a tap, don't give up...it took Jeff 8 contests to finally win, so sometimes you just have to be patient and persistent. I will be giving away another great tap in May, so make sure you check back for the chance to win a free tap!

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Tap Giveaway #11 Announcement and Details

Let's giveaway a tap before April is over! This will be the 11th 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)
#7 - Leinenkugal IPL - won by John P (out of 12 entries received)
#8 - Shiner Smokehaus - won by Graham B. (out of 12 entries received)
#9 - Haacht Rince Cochon - won by Blair B. (out of 15 entries received)
#10 - Hobgoblin (new style) x 2 - won by Patrick M. and Doug K. (out of 22 entries received)


For this contest I'm giving away another tap that I have never profiled: the Celt Thirsty Warrior Cider tap handle. This is an awesome tap that is probably the second most valuable tap that I have given away (based on secondary market value) and is an import. The tap is new and unused in its original box. 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 Sunday, April 30, so you have until Saturday, April 29th, 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!

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Tap Handle #646: Flying Mouse (new style)

Tap size:  11"
Rarity:  less than 10 seen
Mounting:  3/8" ferrule on 5/16" anchor bolt

As fantastic as the original tap from Flying Mouse Brewery was, this new tap exceeds it in every way. A full-figured Bartleby Hopsworth, sporting a Rocketeer-style jet pack, is kneeling on top of a large furnace. His hands are holding on to a sign that allows a label to be attached to indicate the beer variety. Gears, struts, rivets, copper bands, valves, and pipes, along with the jet pack, give the tap a very strong steampunk influence. Decals on the back enhance the tap by simulating flames in the furnace, and pressure gauges decals enhance the steampunk feel. The Flying Mouse brewery symbol appears on the front, while the brewery's abbreviated name, "Flymo:b", is sculpted into the door of the furnace. To the right you will see a label sheet that came with the tap, which includes a wide variety of beers to label the tap with. Since the original tap reflected Bartleby's backstory as a mouse who invented wings so he could fly, this tap suggests that Bartleby took his desire to fly to the next level by replacing his wings with a jet pack. The amount of detail and the Steampunk theme make this a top tap in the collection. A couple of these have hit the secondary market at outrageous prices, but otherwise they are pretty scarce.

For more about Flying Mouse, see this post.

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

Friday, April 7, 2017

Tap Handle #645: Monterey Bay Brewing - Mad Otter Pale Ale

Tap size:  10.25"
Rarity:  less than 10 seen, hand-made
Mounting:  3/8" large ferrule on 5/16" anchor bolt

This tap comes with a great story. I've shared the long version with my Collectors Club members, but I'm going to give you the short version here.

Every year my dad spends a couple of months in Palm Springs, and on the return trip home he stops to see me for my birthday, usually bearing a tap I've never seen before as a present. Last year it was the Figueroa Mountain 101 and the year before that it was the La Quinta (and before that it was the Vancouver Island Killer Whale). This year he couldn't find anything for me, and he asked me if there was a brewery along the way that might have a tap I'd want. It took me a few minutes of thinking before I asked him if his trip was going through Monterey, which it was. I asked him to stop at the Monterey Bay Brewing Company to see if he could pick me up a Mad Otter tap. When he arrived in Monterey he called the brewery, but got an answering machine. After following some leads, he was able to get in contact to one of the owners, Mark Fitch. My dad explained to Mark about my museum and the blog and how he wanted to get me the tap for my birthday. Mark was very adamant that the brewery did not sell their taps. In fact, only 2 taps, both damaged, had ever got away from their control. It takes a long time to get them because they are hand made and painted by one guy in the U.S. Disappointed, my dad left his contact information and my blog address in case Mark decided to change his mind.

As my dad was almost out of town, he got a phone call back from Mark, telling my dad he had looked at my site and was wondering if my dad was still in town. My dad said yes, so Mark agreed to meet him at a nearby mall. When they met, they hit it off right away, and Mark sold my dad a tap handle. When my dad presented me with the tap and the accompanying story on my birthday, I was stunned. I never imagined he would be able to get me one of these Mad Otter Ale taps. It features a blue otter in a top hat that's right out of Alice in Wonderland. The otter's eyes and partial grin look a little crazy. He holds on to the front of his jacket with white gloved hands. Although the brewery's name does not appear on the tap, a yellow label with black letters bearing the name of the beer is prominent at the bottom. The round base is a newer re-design of the tap; an older version has a blocky base that has the beer name and the brewery name on the label. Another difference is that the older version has a blue hatband while this newer version is white. Since these taps are hand-made in small numbers and the brewery keeps tight control over them, this is one of the scarcest taps you will see here on the site.

Click through to read more about Monterey Bay Brewing, their Mad Otter Ale, and to see more photos of this insanely awesome tap...

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Tap Handle #644: 7 Seas - Cutt’s NW Amber Ale

Tap size: 9.75"
Rarity:  hand-made
Mounting:  internal 3/8" nut

There's not much to say about this tap, as it is a giant number "7" made out of wood, in a gothic style font shape, with a red overlay front and back that has the word "Seas" cut into it. Another notable feature is the name of the beer, which has been woodburned into the sides of the tap, giving it some unique character.  They appear on the secondary market from time to time and are fairly affordable. I wanted one because it is a local brewery, and I plan on visiting the brewery at some point, since it is only a few hours away from me.

Click through to read more about 7 Seas Brewing, their Cutt's NW Amber Ale, and to see more photos of this by-the-numbers tap...

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Tap Handle #643: Charles Wells - Dry Hopped Lager

Tap size:  11"
Rarity:  10 or less seen, import
Mounting:  custom 3/8" ferrule on 5/16" anchor bolt with set screw

Feast your eyes on this amazing tap! Courtesy of the wonderful people at Charles Wells Brewing, this tap is an absolute stunner. It is modeled after the brewery's founder, with tattoos on his chest that hint at various aspects of the brewery, such as its founding date (1876), location (Bedford), and Charles Wells' worldly travels in the Merchant Navy. He has one leg placed on top of a barrel that bears the name of the brewery and the beer, while the name of the beer is also tattooed on his back. The tattoos are not decals but are actually sculpted into the figure. I included an extra photo of the base of the tap to show the addition of a hexhead setscrew that can be used to tighten the ferrule to a 3/8" bolt during mounting. I'm thrilled to add this tap to the collection, as it is highly detailed and difficult to find.

In return for the brewery's generosity to the museum, I'd like to take a moment to talk about the brewery's charity partner, MIND. MIND are the leading mental health charity in England and Wales. They provide advice and support to empower anyone experiencing a mental health problem. They campaign to improve services, raise awareness and promote understanding, and their mission is simple: they won't give up until everyone experiencing a mental health problem gets support and respect. MIND also provides help and support directly to those who need it most. Their network of more than 130 local MINDs offer specialized support and care based on the needs of the communities they support. You can find out more on their website at http://www.mind.org.uk/about-us/.

For more about Charles Wells Brewing, see this post.

Click through to read more about Charles Wells' Dry Hopped Lager and to see more photos of this outstanding tap...

Tap Giveaway #10 Results - UPDATE

Update: Patrick and Doug have both claimed their prizes, so this contest is officially over. Again thanks to all who entered.
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I'd like to thank each of the 22(!) people who entered this month's giveaway contest. That's an incredible number, the most ever for one of my contests, in fact. It's killing me to award just one tap. So with that in mind, combined with the fact that I haven't held a contest in a couple of months, I've decided to award 2 of these Hobgoblin taps for this contest. The 2 winners of the contest, chosen at random, are:

Patrick M.
Doug K.

Patrick and Doug have 48 hours to respond or the prize will go to someone else. I will be giving away another great tap later this month, so make sure you check back for the chance to win a free tap!

Also check back tonight for a post featuring a tattooed man from Wells Brewing...

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Tap Giveaway #10 Announcement and Details

It's long past time that I had another tap handle giveaway contest, so here it goes! This will be the tenth 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)
#7 - Leinenkugal IPL - won by John P (out of 12 entries received)
#8 - Shiner Smokehaus - won by Graham B. (out of 12 entries received)
#9 - Haacht Rince Cochon - won by Blair B. (out of 15 entries received)


For this contest I'm giving away a tap that I have never profiled: the new Hobgoblin tap handle. This is a really great, wicked looking tap with a hobgoblin coming out of an evil-looking tree. The tap is new and unused in its original box. 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 Tuesday, March 7th, so you have until Monday, March 6th, 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!

Monday, February 20, 2017

Tap Handle #642: Scuttlebutt - Hoptopia Imperial IPA

Tap size:  9.75"
Rarity:  hand made, 10 or less seen
Mounting:  3/8" ferrule on 5/16" anchor bolt

Hoptopia is the first of three similar Scuttlebutt taps I own, featuring a "toy on a stick". Despite the toy on a stick look, the tap actually has a lot of small details that give it a little extra pop. The pirate, complete with a hook hand and eyepatch, holds a sign with the name of the beer sculpted into it. The name of the brewery is sculpted letter by letter down the shaft of the tap, and if you look closely you can see small silver nail heads on each letter, making it look as if each of them were nailed on. Hoptopia, along with the other taps in this style, is long out of production, and all of them are highly valued by tap collectors and rarely seen on the secondary market, with each variety commanding prices over $100 (and sometimes twice that).

Click through to read more About Scuttlebutt Brewing, their Hoptopia Imperial IPA, and to see more photos of this salty tap...

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Tap Handle #641: Cervezas Alhambra (Mahou San Miguel) - Reserva 1925

Tap size:  11.75"
Rarity:  import, 10 or less seen
Mounting:  3/8" ferrule on 5/16" anchor bolt

There's nothing extraordinary about this tap, and it is not fully figural. However, it does have a cool looking design at the top, and I have an admitted attraction to imports, especially one with ties to the amazing palace of The Alhambra. The figure at the top resembles an animal in abstract, perhaps a lion, which bears a strong likeness to statues under a fountain in one of the Alhambra's courtyards (see photo below). The name of the beer, brewery, and country appear at the bottom of the tap, and on one side of the tap are the words "Strong Lager 6.4%". As an import, the tap is very difficult to find - I've only seen a couple of others.

The Alhambra is a palace and fortress complex located in Granada, Andalusia, Spain. It was originally constructed as a small fortress in AD 889 on the remains of Roman fortifications, and then largely ignored until its ruins were renovated and rebuilt in the mid-13th century by the Moorish emir Mohammed ben Al-Ahmar of the Emirate of Granada, who built its current palace and walls. It was converted into a royal palace in 1333 by Yusuf I, Sultan of Granada. After the conclusion of the Christian Reconquista in 1492, the site became the Royal Court of Ferdinand and Isabella (where Christopher Columbus received royal endorsement for his expedition), and the palaces were partially altered to Renaissance tastes. It is now one of Spain's major tourist attractions, exhibiting the country's most significant and well-known Islamic architecture, together with 16th-century and later Christian building and garden interventions. The Alhambra is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Despite long neglect, willful vandalism, and some ill-judged restoration, the Alhambra endures as an atypical example of Muslim art in its final European stages, relatively uninfluenced by the direct Byzantine influences found in the Mezquita of Córdoba. The majority of the palace buildings are quadrangular in plan, with all the rooms opening on to a central court, and the whole reached its present size simply by the gradual addition of new quadrangles, designed on the same principle, though varying in dimensions, and connected with each other by smaller rooms and passages. Alhambra was extended by the different Muslim rulers who lived in the complex. However, each new section that was added followed the consistent theme of "paradise on earth". Column arcades, fountains with running water, and reflecting pools were used to add to the aesthetic and functional complexity. In every case, the exterior was left plain and austere. Sun and wind were freely admitted. Blue, red, and a golden yellow, all somewhat faded through lapse of time and exposure, are the colors chiefly employed.

(Editor's note: the Alhambra is one of my favorite places on earth; I was stunned by the first photos I saw of it in the book "Castles of Spain". Alhambra is the inspiration for many songs and stories, and even appears in video games such as Assassin's Creed and Civilization V. If you like ambient music, I highly recommend Jon Mark's album "Alhambra", with its moody influences of Moorish conquest, lush Alhambra gardens, and windswept mountain plateaus. You can listen to samples at Allmusic or iTunes.)

Click through to read more about Cervezas Alhambra, its Reserva 1925, and to see more photos of this exotic tap...

Friday, February 3, 2017

Tap Handle #640: Long Island Meadery

Tap size:  10.5"
Rarity:  less than 10 seen, hand-made, brewery closed
Mounting:  3/8" ferrule on 5/16" anchor bolt

What a great tap this is! I previewed this tap in a recent anniversary post, where I stated that mead is made with honey, thus the the bee and honeycomb on the tap are a great tie-in to the product. There are lots of great details to be seen here, from the suit of armor the bee is wearing (a nod to the medieval festivals that owner Paul Holm was fond of), to the flag the bee is holding, to the oak barrel it is standing on, to the dozens of geometrically-shaped honeycomb sculptings. The bee even has four arms! One of the bee's hands holds a foaming mug, which is curious because mead looks more like wine than a foaming mug of beer. The barrel holds a place for a label but I would bet that labels are even harder to find than the tap. Without a label, I decided to profile the Meadery's Traditional Mead, since it has the most reviews of all of their varieties on Ratebeer. My overall impression of the tap is that it is brilliant and colorful, and also extremely scarce, since the Long Island Meadery has been closed since about 2010. In fact I've never seen another on the secondary market - only a photo from another collector.

Click through to read more about Long Island Meadery, their Traditional Mead, and to see more photos of this whimsical tap...

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Tap Handle #639: Big Rock - Buzzard Breath Ale

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

Here's a tap that I previewed in my recent anniversary post, and it is one of my favorite taps. It features a buzzard dressed as a cowboy, ready to draw the frosty cold bottles of Buzzard Breath Ale in his holster. The familiar Big Rock logo appears above the buzzard, and the carved "stone" base is also a common feature of Big Rock taps. The Buzzard Breath Ale logo is painted to resemble a sign nailed to the rocks. Another sign appears on the back, bearing only the word "Buzzard". The buzzard itself is somewhat of a bas relief style, as it cannot be see from the back. The colors are bright and beautiful on this tap, and the whimsical theme makes it outstanding, and to me, highly desirable. I have never seen this tap on the secondary market, only a lucite version with a copy of the label inside it.

For more about Big Rock Brewing, see this post.

Click through to read more about Big Rock's Buzzard Breath Ale and to see more photos of this standoffish tap...