TAPS Brewery & Barrel Room raises the bar on the tasting-room scene with award-winning brews in a casual space featuring inspired food truck fare
TAPS Fish House & Brewery, a pioneer of the SoCal-Orange County craft beer scene, is bringing its innovative and award-winning touch to Tustin with the opening of its first-ever tasting room and full-scale production brewery in a 19,000-square-foot space.
The July 23 opening of TAPS Brewery & Barrel Room, located at 15501 Red Hill Ave. near Tustin Legacy, marks a new era for one of the region’s most decorated breweries, with over 100 medals to date.
TAPS Brewery & Barrel Room promises to raise the bar on the burgeoning beer tasting-room scene, offering “O.C.’s premier tasting room experience,” according to TAPS founder-proprietor, Joe Manzella.
The tasting room in TAPS Brewery & Barrel Room is reminiscent of an old brewery with arched brick walls, concrete floors, and rustic finishes along with galvanized pipe lights, custom-made locally. A corner of the tasting room will house vintage pinball and other classic video games. Outside, a comfortable patio has more games, a large fire pit and the permanently stationed TAPS food truck. Guests can savor award-winning ales and lagers and enjoy such tantalizing dishes as bulgogi beef masa fries, bánh mì bacon-wrapped hot dogs, and a hippie burger.
The brewery will begin by producing 5,000 barrels the first year, with a capacity of 25,000 barrels annually. TAPS’ barrel-aged beer program will have its own dedicated, 350-capacity barrel room. Both ales and lagers will be produced daily for distribution and onsite enjoyment, but there will be a focus on lagers, which have won TAPS six GABF/World Beer Cup medals since 2015.
TAPS brewers are Kyle Manns, director of brewing; Jonathan Chiusano, brewery operations manager; Erik Zwack, head brewer, TAPS Corona; Brennan Perry, head brewer, TAPS Brewery, Tustin, and Max Jones, QAQC/packaging manager.
The team has purchased brewing and bottling equipment from leading manufacturers in Europe and North America and will continue to source the finest malt, grain, hops, and yeast.
“I’ve often said I’m in business to make money, not save it,” Manzella said. “Investing in the best equipment possible for our brewers is paramount to our success. It’s been part of TAPS’ philosophy since day one.”
Twelve-ounce bottles will be available in six-packs and by the case. Also for sale in the brewery are 32-oz “crowlers” and 64-oz stainless steel, refillable insulated growlers. Barrel-aged brews will be available in about six months in 500-ml bottles. Beverage options at TAPS Brewery & Barrel Room include a select offering of wines and soju-based cocktails.
The opening line-up for TAPS award-winning brews may include The American Cream (formerly Cream Ale), Irish Red, Flex IPA, Amend This!, Keller Pils, The Velvet Hog, West Coast Pilsner, Hefeweizen, Ponderosa Pale, Hopsteppa, Hiya! and barrel-aged Silent Warrior available in draft and bottles, as well as other rotating, small batch, barrel-aged beers.
Other key players at TAPS Brewery & Barrel Room include manager Kristine “KC” Cunningham and TAPS food truck chef de cuisine Roman Jimenez.
Hours at the Brewery will be Monday-Thursday 3 p.m. – 10 p.m.; Friday 3 p.m. – midnight; Saturday 11 a.m. – midnight; Sunday 11 a.m. – 8 p.m. Ample self-parking is available.
For more information, visit tapsbrewery.com. TAPS Brewery & Barrel Room can be found on social media at Facebook/tapsbrewery, on Twitter at @tapsbrewery and on Instagram at @tapsbrewery.
The privately owned TAPS Fish House & Brewery was founded in 1999 in Brea by Joe Manzella, his late father, Fred, and sister Michele, who is also a partner in TAPS Brewery & Barrel Room. TAPS is credited with jump-starting the now-vibrant Brea Downtown dining and entertainment district and was among the first on the O.C. brewing scene. There are now three TAPS full service restaurants. The original and flagship is located at 101 East Imperial Highway in Brea Downtown. A second location opened in 2007 at The Shops at Dos Lagos (2745 Lakeshore Drive, Corona) in the Inland Empire. TAPS’ third restaurant opened in 2015 at The Market Place in Irvine, at 13390 Jamboree Road. TAPS is a celebration of seafood, fine steaks and award-winning traditional and innovative ales and lagers. The restaurants offer fine dining, the more casual, comfortable bar-lounge; oyster bars, multiple patios and private dining. TAPS is known for its popular Las Vegas-style Sunday Brunch. The Manzella Restaurant Group also owns The Catch in Anaheim.