Old Taps Never Die

I saw this photo (well, it was actually a short video) on Facebook and was immediately taken by the cleverness of re-purposing tap handles into a fountain and then taking that next step to have that fountain collect change for charity. Brilliant.

The next time that I go into a beer establishment that has placed the tap handles along the ceiling or something less imaginative will get me to thinking of how it can be fit with more flair into a space.

Bottle Taps

Not only has TAPS Brewing moved into a new space (that I still have to visit), they are now packaging beer. I don’t know if it will make it north to L.A. but for the Orange County beer lovers, you can get DIPA or Cream Ale. (I would lean towards the cream ale)

In the Last Week

A couple days ago, the TAPS Brewery & Barrel Room opened. Instead of a brewery as part of a restaurant now the brewers have their own “tasting room and full-scale production brewery in a 19,000-square-foot space.”

Of course there will be food too, and not just random food trucks, it will be a TAPS food truck. Serving up “dishes as bulgogi beef masa fries, bánh mì bacon-wrapped hot dogs, and a hippie burger.”

Under the direction of Kyle Manns, “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.”

Another benefit, more to-go options as well with 12oz bottles, 32-oz “crowlers” and 64oz growlers as well as barrel-aged brews (in the future) in 500ml format bottles.

More details below:

“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.”

The taproom is located at 15501 Red Hill Ave. near the Tustin Legacy and the hours 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.

Refurbished TAPS

TAPS in Brea took some time to refresh the look of their brewery/restaurant and this last weekend, I checked out the reset with a focus (obviously) on the beers and beer service.

There is big news coming from the multiple outlet brewery. First, within a month or two a brewery and tap room will be operational in Tustin. With room for production. Kegging and bottling. 16 Beers on tap. And it will have their own TAPS food truck.

As founder Joe Manzello explained, it will be the “Anti-TAPS”. They will barrel age much more with 450 barrels to start. Two barreled beers will be on tap. Fire pits, cornhole and other activities will be around. Anti-TAPS.

They will make Corona the R&D hub and the brewing system in Brea, well, that is done.

Of the four current beers that were sampled at a media event recently, lighter offerings like Hiya and Das Booze were my favorites. The first with Sake yeast had a lovely light pear touch to it. DB was really nice and crisp.

Look for TAPS to be coming out of the shadows of Orange County. They have some good brewing talent and now the facility to crow about.

New Taps

TAPS Fish House & Brewery, already a mini-chain with three TAPS restaurants, will expand next with a not-restaurant. Opening early next year will be a full-scale production brewery and tasting room in Tustin.

“The new TAPS concept, which will include a 1,900-square-foot tasting room, a patio with a 12-seat fire pit, and multiple TVs and videogames.” There will be 16 TAPS beers on tap as well as bottle choices.

This should give the talented brewing combo of David Huls, Kyle Manns and Jonathan Chiusano much more “head room” to make their award winning beers and allow for more luxuries like crowlers and growlers to go.

The Bitter Monk

I have been a little light in Portland news. Maybe it’s the snow or the Blazers poor play that have me disconnected but I can recommend a place in my college town of McMinnville….

On the main drag of 3rd Street in the small town style historic core, The Bitter Monk is craft beer tap room and bottle shop has 16 rotating taps of craft beer & cider and to-go options numbering past 100.

It may be wine country but beer folks can find good stuff rather easily.

Southland Beer

Not one but two craft beer bottle shops are constructing their way to opening dates this fall. Craft Beer Cellar – Eagle Rock just finished a successful Indie-Go-Go crowdfunding campaign and Southland Beer has an ABC license pending for their Koreatown storefront near Beer Belly on Western Avenue.
Some 19 taps will grace the bar with the possibility of cask ales and even food too. There is the makings of a good little Western Ave. craft beer crawl.


Aside from the horrible name of ManCan that conjures up either sexism or the toilet in my mind, if you are one of the beer lovers out there who want the tap experience at home but have yet to find exactly the right equipment to do so, then this in ‘fridge tap that is currently in funding phase on Kickstarter might be worth checking out.

Personally, I go for bottles and cans first then growlers but others have a go-to beer that they want on tap and fresh that isn’t packaged, so I get the allure.

New-ish TAPS


In a full 360 degree turn. Times two. TAPS Brewery has re-signed the talent of somewhat recently departed brewers who had left for newer brewing pastures.

David Huls WAS at Barley Forge Brewing but is NOW back as director of brewery operations. Kyle Manns WAS head brewer at Bottle Logic Brewing but NOW has been named brewery operations manager.

The duo will be charged with the Brea, Corona and Irvine locations and the exciting bits of the press release are these duties:

“Take barrel aging of beers to the next level. Huls and Manns have purchased 100 aged barrels including new oak, rum, mezcal and wine.

Create novel styles of packaging, including 750-ml bottles.

Begin providing variations of brews in kegs that have been dry-hopped, fruited, spiced, fermented or dispensed differently in order to extend the array of offerings within the restaurants.

Expand with different beer styles in small production and limited runs, such as Berliner Weisse, Farmhouse Ale, Red-Rice Sake Ale, Imperial Pilsner, Oatmeal Pale Ale and a rare Oyster Stout — a full-bodied stout with a hint of brine.”

Closer to Me

The big news this week (apologies to Stone in Deutschland) is the move of rightly famed brewmaster Victor Novak from OC to LA as he will be moving to Golden Road Brewing (so much closer to me) from TAPS.


This move leads to many Questions with a capital Q:

~Will this mean that the GRB haters will pause or will they find another excuse to complain?

~Who will take the reins at TAPS?  ‘Cause past proteges have done VERY well.

~What will change at GRB?

~Will the barrel program get bigger?

All will have to wait until September when the move happens and probably later to see how the fit is.