Beer Hunting

Seattle’s Best Tap Handles

Sometimes the beer experience extends all the way to the lever you pull to dispense it.

In Seattle, there are a lot of beer options. Duh! It’s one thing many of us pride ourselves on about the Emerald City–and the Pacific Northwest in general. And with all those options comes a lot of interesting tap handles. Some are eye-catching, others reserved. Some are tall and wide, others smaller. But making these things takes ingenuity, thought, and intention. Brewery owners wonder what their beer brands should look like—how they should be represented in pubs and bars all over the city. The tap, in many ways, is the brewery’s best way to advertise. And all this hard work and imagination should be celebrated once in a while! Therefore we bring you our six favorite local tap handles.

Fremont Lush IPA: This brewery almost always knows what it’s doing with tap handles. Fremont’s designers are brilliant at color choice, often displaying clean but exciting hues. Their orange Summer Ale tap is iconic, and their all-white-with-emerald-green Lush IPA is both stunning and regal.

Georgetown Bodhisattva IPA:This beer was voted best IPA in the world recently, but let’s focus on its handle for now. Georgetown Brewing’s co-founder, Manny Chao, says that when his brewery was coming of age, all the tap handles were too tall, so he wanted stubby ones that would stand out in the crowd. And there’s something quite alluring about this beer’s burnt-orange tap face; it’s indelible and somehow makes me want an IPA immediately.

Maritime Jolly Roger Christmas Ale: This classic seasonal logo makes you think you’re on a rickety pirate ship, soldiering on through the night, beer in hand, ready to sing some old shanties. It’s a playfully foreboding skull and crossbones with a Santa hat on. What’s not to love?

Cloudburst anything, really:This new brewery puts out so many different beers that they don’t have time to make new taps for them. Instead, they just screw on upside-down umbrella handles. It’s fantastic—and likely to become one of those unassuming definitive Seattle tap handles we’ll remember for years.

Odin’s Gift, aka Ruby Red Ale: This brewery uses two kinds of tap handles for this beer. The normal one, which is fine, is a brown wooden-like dragon. Cool. But the $1,000 one is handcrafted, edged, and etched. It flares. And it’s super-rare. If you end up at a bar with the $1,000 one, you know they’re a friend of Odin’s.

Bale Breaker Field 41 Pale Ale: There’s just something fun about Bale Breaker’s tap handles. This Yakima brewery is in the thick of everything modern and Pacific Northwest when it comes to suds, and it shows in its tall and wide handle, flowing with faux hop fines.

beerhunting@seattleweekly.com

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