Beloved Objects: Tap Handles

By / Photography By Libby VanderPloeg | August 28, 2017
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hudson-valley-brewers-tap-handles libby vanderploeg

No longer are tap handles merely a garish bit of advertising behind the bar. Increasingly, brewers are employing artists to create functional sculptures that express the essence of their brewery. Here are a few favorites around the Hudson Valley.

Suarez Family Brewery
Sculpted out of Hudson River driftwood by jeweler Jenna Fennel of East Camp Goods, each handle is unique and virtually unbranded (although keen eyes may spot Suarez’s fingerprint etched in the copper bands).

Rushing Duck Brewing Company
An industrial diamond plate surface and roughly sprayed “RD” stencil announce that this low-profile tap handle and brewery are all business.

Plan Bee Farm Brewery
This Fishkill farm and brewery uses 100% New York State ingredients, including yeasts cultivated from their honeycombs. Plan Bee’s tap handle take its graphic cue from bees.

Equilibrium Brewery
A flowing, soon-to-be-complete circle is this Middletown brewery’s motif, and its steely point is offset by a warm, beefy chunk of wood. It’s the perfect unity of science and craft.

Industrial Arts Brewing Company
Brewer Jeff O’Neil gives his beers industrial names like “Safety Glasses” (Session Ale) and “Power Tools” (IPA). His tap handle is equally heavy metal and uses tube clamps you’d find at Home Depot.

Newburgh Brewing Company
Uniting a heart and an over-spilling, frothy mug of beer, Newburgh’s handle is an ode to beer lovers everywhere.

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