The Art of Beer Taps

tap handles are an essential component of any draft beer system. They not only serve as a functional lever to control the flow of beer, but they also add a touch of style and personalization to your home or commercial bar. In this article, we will explore the different types of beer tap handles, how to make a wooden tap handle, and provide some keg sizing information.

When it comes to beer tap handles, there are various types to choose from, depending on your preferences and the type of beer you are dispensing. The most common type is the standard faucet handle. These handles are typically made of metal or plastic and are designed to fit most standard draft beer faucets. They are easy to use and provide a comfortable grip for pouring your beer.

Another type of beer faucet handle is the European faucet handle. These handles are often larger and have a more decorative design compared to standard handles. They are commonly found in European-style bars and add a touch of elegance to your beer dispensing setup.

For those who enjoy pouring stouts or beers with a nitrogen component, a faucet handle is the way to go. These handles are specifically designed to accommodate the unique pouring requirements of nitrogen-infused beers. They feature a restrictor plate that helps create a creamy and smooth pour, resulting in a perfect pint of stout.

If you're feeling crafty and want to add a personal touch to your beer tap handles, you can make your own wooden tap handle. Here's a step-by-step guide on how to do it:

1. Start by cutting a piece of wood to the desired length for your tap handle. You can use a variety of woods, such as oak, walnut, or cherry, depending on your preference.

2. Drill a hole in the top of the handle to accommodate a threaded insert. This insert will allow you to attach your tap handle securely to the faucet.

3. Apply some wood glue to the hole and insert the threaded insert. Let the glue dry completely.

4. Once the glue is dry, mount the wood onto a lathe and rough turn it to shape. This will give your tap handle its basic form.

5. Sand the tap handle to perfection, starting with a coarse grit sandpaper and gradually moving to finer grits. This will give your tap handle a smooth and polished finish.

6. Coat your tap handle with walnut oil to enhance the natural beauty of the wood. Let the oil drip dry and repeat the process several times until you achieve the desired finish.

7. To protect the wood and give it a glossy appearance, use friction polish to cure the finish. Apply the polish with a soft cloth and buff it until it shines.

Now that you have your tap handle ready, it's important to understand keg sizing to ensure you have the right amount of beer for your event or establishment. The most common keg size is the 1/2 barrel, which holds approximately 15.5 gallons of beer. This is equivalent to 124 pints or 165 12oz bottles. It's important to note that keg sizes may vary depending on the brewery or region, so it's always a good idea to check with your supplier for accurate measurements.

Beer tap handles are not only functional but also add a touch of personality to your draft beer system. Whether you choose a standard, European, or stout faucet handle, or decide to make your own wooden tap handle, there are plenty of options to suit your style and preferences. Understanding keg sizing is also crucial to ensure you have enough beer for your needs. So, go ahead and pour yourself a pint, and enjoy the experience of a perfectly poured beer with your personalized tap handle. Cheers!

What Are Beer Levers Called?

Beer levers are commonly referred to as tap handles or faucet handles. These handles are designed to attach to the draft beer faucet, making it easier to open and close the faucet when pouring beer. The tap handle is typically pulled forward to dispense the beer. Here are some key points about tap handles:

– Tap handles are lever-like devices that screw into the draft beer faucet.
– They are used to control the flow of beer from the faucet.
– Tap handles are designed to be easily gripped and operated by the bartender or server.
– They come in various shapes, sizes, and designs, often representing different beer brands or styles.
– Tap handles can be made from different materials such as wood, metal, or plastic.
– The purpose of a tap handle is to provide a comfortable and convenient way to open and close the faucet, ensuring a smooth and controlled pouring process.
– Pulling the tap handle forward allows the beer to flow, while pushing it back stops the flow.

Tap handles or faucet handles play a vital role in the dispensing of beer, providing a user-friendly interface for both the server and the customer.

beer tapers

What Are The Different Styles Of Beer Taps?

There are several different styles of beer taps or faucets that are used to dispense beer. These faucets are specifically designed to cater to different types of beers, ensuring that they are poured and served properly. Here are three common styles of beer taps:

1. Standard Faucets: Standard faucets are the most common type of beer taps used in bars and restaurants. These faucets are designed to dispense most types of beers, including lagers, ales, and pilsners. They feature a lever or handle that is pulled forward to allow the beer to flow out of the tap. Standard faucets are versatile and can accommodate a wide range of beer styles.

2. European Faucets: European faucets, also known as “European-style” or “Cobra” faucets, are commonly used in European beer bars and establishments. These faucets have a distinct design with a longer and more curved spout. They are specifically designed to pour European-style beers, which often have a higher carbonation level. The longer spout helps to reduce turbulence and maintain the beer's carbonation levels during pouring.

3. Stout (Nitrogen) Faucets: Stout faucets, sometimes referred to as “nitro taps,” are designed specifically for pouring stouts and other nitrogenated beers. These faucets use a mix of nitrogen and carbon dioxide (CO2) to dispense the beer, resulting in a creamy and smooth texture. Stout faucets have a restrictor plate or disc inside that helps to create the characteristic cascading effect and creamy head that is desired in nitrogenated beers.

The different styles of beer taps include standard faucets, European faucets, and stout (nitrogen) faucets. Each style is designed to accommodate different types of beers, ensuring that they are poured and served properly to enhance the drinking experience.


Beer tap handles are essential tools for any beer enthusiast or establishment serving draft beer. They provide a convenient and ergonomic way to open and close the faucet, ensuring a smooth and controlled pour every time.

Making a wooden beer tap handle is a relatively simple and enjoyable DIY project. By cutting the wood to size, drilling space for the threaded insert, gluing and letting it dry, rough turning it on a lathe, sanding to perfection, and coating it with walnut oil and friction polish, you can create a unique and personalized tap handle that adds a touch of craftsmanship to your beer dispensing setup.

When it comes to the types of beer faucets available, there are three main categories: standard faucets, European faucets, and stout (nitrogen) faucets. Standard faucets are the most common and versatile, suitable for dispensing a wide range of beers. European faucets, on the other hand, are designed specifically for European-style beers with higher carbonation levels. Lastly, stout faucets are designed for dispensing nitrogenated beers, such as stouts and porters, which require a different type of gas and dispensing mechanism for a creamy and smooth pour.

Understanding keg sizing is also important when it comes to beer taps. A half barrel keg, also known as a full-size keg, holds 15.5 gallons or 124 pints of beer, equivalent to approximately 165 12oz bottles. Other common keg sizes include quarter barrel (7.75 gallons), sixth barrel (5.16 gallons), and mini kegs (1.32 gallons).

Beer tap handles are not only practical tools but also opportunities for creativity and personalization. Whether you choose to make your own wooden tap handle or select from the various faucet options available, understanding the different types of faucets and keg sizes will help you create the perfect beer dispensing setup for your needs. So go ahead, raise your glass, and enjoy the art of pouring a perfectly crafted beer with a well-designed tap handle. Cheers!

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Thomas Ashford

Thomas Ashford is a highly educated brewer with years of experience in the industry. He has a Bachelor Degree in Chemistry and a Master Degree in Brewing Science. He is also BJCP Certified Beer Judge. Tom has worked hard to become one of the most experienced brewers in the industry. He has experience monitoring brewhouse and cellaring operations, coordinating brewhouse projects, and optimizing brewery operations for maximum efficiency. He is also familiar mixology and an experienced sommelier. Tom is an expert organizer of beer festivals, wine tastings, and brewery tours.