A great tap handle can grab your attention, then compel you to order... as in, "that one with the dragon and the girl on it, yeah, that one". And there's absolutely nothing wrong with that, as most of the best tap handles are attached to lines pouring some of our dragon/girl-obsessed Nation's best craft beers. Here's a list of 23 to keep your eyes and mouths open for. Let us know if we missed any.
Seattle's Odin Brewing
's taps are hand-carved in Vancouver at $1000 bucks a pop; they're in the shape of a dragon because a) that's Odin's mascot, and b) anything that burps fire obviously needs lots and lots of beer.
Emerald City Beer Company
uses taps with comic book-style renderings of real ladies that look just like every other girl in the bar after your 5th Dottie's Seattle Lager.
Charleston Craft Beer
was South Carolina's very first brewery… then it was out of business for over 100yrs following an earthquake. But they've been back for 20 with these handles made outta palm fronds.
Conquest Brewing Company
in Columbia, SC would like to remind you that history is written by winners, and they'd like for you to join them.
North Country Brewing
Buck Snort is just a great name for anything. It's even better when the tap handle looks like horns. That's just the tip (heyyyy) of North Country Brewing
is a small Wisconsin brewery that's noted for a) making a very popular pale ale called Farmer's Daughter
, b) these taps depicting a farmer's daughter that is no doubt very popular, and c) getting sued by a Minnesota brewer who was likely just pissed they didn't think of the
impressively crafted taps first.
From a third-generation Wisconsin brewer, 3 Sheeps
refers to its Really Cool Waterslides IPA
as "choosing a dream". Count too many of the tap handles, and you've chosen to dream about beer.
After starting out making microbrews from a Boulder garage, BRU Handbuilt Ales
recently expanded its operation in a big way, including stepping up to custom hap handles that may or may not have also come from a Boulder garage.
Holding up the craft brew scene's end of the Keep Austin Weird movement, Jester King
is known for its crazy-good array of beers and their just plain crazy handles that'll make you really glad beer's not a hallucinogen.
Chicago's Revolution Brewing
will not be televised... until some producer hears about their impressively powerful handles and puts them on a show.
Baltimore's Raven Brewing Company
has mini-figurines of B-more nightmare-maker Edgar Allan Poe for its tap handles, and a book for good measure (note: the book measures about six inches).
Redhook's Game Changer Ale
is a new session job from the official craft brew of the University of Washington. There's a remote chance that bar patrons don't start trying to use it to change channels come the late games.
One of the oldest breweries in LA (1997!!
), Angel City
was recently bought by a couple of former Magic Hat folks who've spent 18 months renovating everything about the company, including introducing these sweet 1930s-style angels.
Iron Fist Brewing
is one of San Diego's best-known craft brewers, but they actually got to the top via great brews like the seriously strong Golden Age
(9.2%) and the Dubbel Fisted
Four Corners Brewing
Dallas's Four Corners Brewing
makes its beers out of an old truck garage, but, much more importantly, all their tap handles represent old Mexican bingo cards: drink four in a row, and you win a buzz!
Dark Horse Brewery
What's behind Dark Horse Brewery
's choice to use a double-barreled shotgun as the tap of choice for each of its beers? A "no-bulls**t approach to brewing big, outstanding beers and selling nonsensical imagery and haberdashery", combined with the brewer's "visions of smacking Oompa Loompas with snow shovels". We don't get it either, but still -- nice taps.
is a nanobrewery in Raleigh that pours saisons, IPAs, and stouts from a random assortment of old, mostly-in-good-condition trophies that hold such deep meaning for its regulars that the actual names of the beers are less important than the taps themselves. Example: It's not uncommon to hear someone order a one-armed cheerleader.
Deep Ellum Brewing Company
In 2010, Dogfish Head
released this super limited edition steampunk tap handle; the gears don't work, but neither does anyone drinking it, so who cares.
Perhaps shockingly, Goose Island
does make tap handles that aren't geese, like this Chicago-representing, seriously old-school phone that they use for their 312 Urban Wheat Ale.
NOLA Brewing's Mechahopzilla
is a strong beer, which is important as it gears up for battle with Malt-thra.
For 125yrs, Saranac
has been making beer -- even surviving Prohibition -- and they've been producing their eponymous craft brew since 1984, complete with the iconic vintage canoe tap handle. Unlike while canoeing, you should definitely tip while drinking it.