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Welcome to Amazing Tap Handles - The Tap Handle Museum. Here you will find photos of the Museum's collection of beer taps, along with brewery info. Have a look around the Museum, and use the contact form in sidebar to leave me feedback about the site, talk about taps, or if you have a rare tap handle you'd like to sell to the Museum. I'd love to hear from you! Please, no inquires about buying taps - they're not for sale.

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Friday, 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...

Redhook Game Changer was a collaboration between Redhook Brewing and Buffalo Wild Wings. The restaurant chain wanted to produce its own beer, but didn't consider it feasible to own theit own brewery, and didn't want to serve a generic beer with a label slapped on it. They turned to one of their suppliers, Redhook, to develop a flavorful beer with enough hops to cut the spiciness of the wings and enough malt to cool the burn. It also had to have a low ABV to be more sessionable. Since Pale Ales weren't well represented on the restaurant's taps, it seemed like a good choice, and customers who were asked to test it also helped name it. The beer was expected to stake out a middle ground between the cheaper domestic brands and more expensive craft and import brands offered at the chain. The restaurant was worried about its beer margins, which had been difficult in the prevous couple of years with continued price increases from manufacturers and distributors, and this was seen as a way to control pricing competitively.

A popular misconception was that it was developed exclusively for Buffalo Wild Wings. While Redhook signed an agreement not to sell the beer at retail, they did retain the rights to place it with other draft accounts. Although Game Changer was well received, first served in 2013 at all of its 900+ restaurants, by mid-2016 the beer was no longer being produced. It's not clear what led to its discontinued production, although pricing likely affected its margins and profitability.

Ratebeer weighted average:  2.85 out of 5
Beer Advocate:  75 out of 100 (okay)

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