Since day one, TAPS has made hospitality a number priority – and TAPS’s new Brewery and Barrel Room doesn’t fall short. The trifecta of hospitality, quality, and community has held consistantly over two decades has led to TAPS Fish House & Brewery (in Corona, Brea, and Irvine), The Catch in Anaheim, and now TAPS Brewery and Barrel Room (Tustin), further strenghening their brand. Anticipating and following through on customers needs is why TAPS has been sucessful over the years – and their newest venture continues that proud tradition. The spacious tasting toom offers something different than the other locations: a dedicated food truck with (eclectic dishes with nods to modern Asian & Mexican flair), a pinball machine, arcade games, outdoor core hole yard, beautiful patio with a firepit, and much more! This stunning19,000 sq foot facility is truly an impressive location.
The taplist of beers offers a wide range of world class styles that everyone can enjoy – everything from a Keller Pils to a Barrel Aged Boppledock. As a recipient of over 100 medals for brewing exceptional beers, @tapsbeers lives up to credo, “World Class in Every Glass.” Hops and barley are curated in order to emulate the fine beers and brewing regions of the world. TAPS utilizes proprietary strains of yeast, reverse osmosis filtration, and tailors their water chemistry and processes for the specific beer being made. This passion for perfection has been recognized on the regional, state, national and international levels. TAPS barrel-aged beers have also garnered national and international acclaim, and are sought out by collectors worldwide. My favorite beer is Silent Warrior, a barrel aged Strong American Ale. Woodsy. Deep. Flavorful
Maybe you’re looking for something beyond a beer – in that case, they’ve got options for you. Their other-than-lager-or-ale menu hosts a variety of beautiful Soju Cocktails. Looking for something a little more brunch-themed? Try the Michelada – it’s a nice blend that compliments a sunny day. Need a little eye-opener? Cold Brew Coffee is also available for the caffiene fiend.
This is an idea that comes to life when you’re there. – and it’s proudly featured in larger-than-life lettering on their cold box, visible through windows in the tasting area: “With a nod to the past and an eye on the future, we bravely brew an electric array of award-winning ales and lagers. By expanding our boundaries and recognizing our strengths, we passionately strive to push the limits, pave the way of independent craft beer, and education our greatest asset: You.”
A Look Inside TAPS Brewery & Barrel Room | Brewer Interview with Kyle Manns
AM: What specialty brews does the TAPS brewing team have planned?
KM: With the Tustin Brewery not up & running yet, we haven’t been able to fully transition each location into it’s long term state of operation. Everything about TAPS’s beer program will change over the course of the next few months, and we have some pretty exciting things planned.
TAPS Brewery & Barrel Room will focus on the distribution, barrel aging, & special bottle release beer production, while Corona & Brea essentially become R & D breweries that we get to experiment with. We plan on being able to brew just about anything and everything, and we will.
We love lagers, so expect to see a lot of different ones coming up, namely Pilsners.
We are very excited to make a Bavarian-Style Hefeweizen on our brewhouse, and our setup will allow us to do an authentic German-Style Krystallweizen, so that is in the first round of beers.
We plan on weekly specialty releases, so keep an eye out.
AM: Explain the core values of TAPS Brewing & Barrel Room? (TAPS Brewery)
KM: Opening TAPS Brewery & Barrel Room has allowed for the opportunity to update our mission statement, and revisit our core values. We cannot operate without a great staff, and it is our duty to provide them the tools and resources to be as successful as possible in their positions. We believe in every single team member, and personal reinvestment is key.
Here is our new mission statement:
With a nod to the past and an eye on the future, we bravely brew an eclectic array of award-winning ales and lagers. By expanding our boundaries and recognizing our strengths, we passionately strive to push the limits, pave the way of independent craft beer, and educate our greatest asset: you.
TAPS Brewery & Barrel Room
The number one core value and focus within the tasting room is hospitality. It’s rare to see that as a focus in a brewery setting, and frankly, we do it really well. Every aspect of the tasting room was designed with hospitality and efficiency in mind. We all have gone out and spent money food or drinks. Poor service or a bad experience is the quickest way to ruin someone’s day, and we do everything we can to ensure each guest is having the best experience possible.
AM: What inspired the conception of TAPS Brewing & Barrel Room?
KM: We set out to build a new production facility back in early 2015, which had a totally different concept at that point. A year in, the project fell apart due to an unfortunate turn of events, and we were forced to find a new location. We would go on to see the next two locations fall through at the 11th hour, setting us back a year each time. With each new location, we have had to tweak our concept to fit the space and its capabilities. All of the prior locations were located in retail centers, and had a restaurant attached. After the 3rd location fell through, spirits were pretty low within the whole team and I knew that if I didn’t act immediately, we would lose everything we had worked so hard to achieve in the meantime. That next day I tossed aside all previous space requirements & set out on a personal mission to find a new location. Leaving the retail avenue behind, I started exploring our options on the industrial side. After countless locations, I stumbled across our current spot in Tustin, and it was love at first sight. We have an incredible team of individuals, and we were able to make it happen. It’s almost as if this was the location meant to be the whole time…
We do food very well, and this particular space only has room for a production facility and a tasting room. Not being able to put in a kitchen forced us to think outside the box, so we custom designed a food truck to be a kitchen first and have little to no interaction with the guests. If you want food, you have two options: kiosks for credit/debit & Beertender for cash. Grab your number, and we will run your food order out to you. Ordering food at a beer line tends to slow down the process, and a goal of ours is to reduce the time spent in lines. Everything from the Beertender’s point of view has been designed for speed and efficiency of service. This tasting room really allows us to focus on our guests’ experiences, and the multiple order points, separate crowler fill station, kiosk food ordering, and food running all play a part in ensuring that our guests can focus on one thing – having a great time.
All in all, this operation is a culmination of the trials and tribulations over the past few years, and evolution at work.
AM: Tell us more about what you have planned for TAPS Barrel Room. . .
KM: We are excited to overhaul and rebuild our award-winning barrel program, with two separate areas: Our temperature controlled barrel room for beers such as Remy, Silent Warrior, Velvet Hog and endless others, and a massive cold room for our cold barrel aged program which includes our Baltic Stout, Boppeldock, and others.
We’ve had some great success with our barrel aging program over the years, and look forward to being able to offer barrel-aged bottles releases again in the near future. It’s a long story, but the return of Remy will happen in 2019. With that being said, 2019 is our 20th anniversary, and we’ve got some big things planned.
AM: Will the TAPS Brewery & Barrel Room Kitchen have suggested pairings menu?
KM: Yes, each food item on the menu has a suggested pairing. These will rotate with new beer and food additions, and are clearly displayed to the guests on all digital and printed menus. Back to the culture question, The TAPS culture is much more than a menu suggestion. Every staff member goes through a pretty rigorous training, and is updated daily on both the food and beer, and their pairings. When a guest asks for suggestions, it is expected that we can walk them through any and all food and beer items and their best pairings, all while educating them along the way.
AM: What beers are you most excited about revealing to the public?
KM: We have some new barrel aged products that have been hibernating in Corona, that we debuted at TAPS Brewery & Barrel Room. These play an integral part of our barrel program, as they are the initial brews that we have scheduled to go into barrels.
We have an award winning Doppelbock that our QA/QC Manager – Max Jones – designed, brewed, and then laid to rest in some bourbon barrels for a bit. We are very excited with the way this experiment worked out, and look forward to brewing it on the large system.
Our Head Brewer in Corona, Erik Zwack, went loose on a hazy IPA, and the response to it in the tasting room has been incredible. This one will be back for sure.
The TBBR beer will start rolling out in August, and we are very excited to debut vast variety of lagers. We will be now be able to expand our award-winning lager program & explore the entire spectrum. This facility is designed to produce lagers, and we will definitely utilize it to its fullest potential in that regard. More clean lager beer for everyone excites us. Opening with four different Pilsners was pretty fun, and we will be releasing three more over the coming weeks.
Most of all though, we are all super stoked on our hoppy beers, & can’t wait to get more of them out there!
AM: What’s the most undervalued brewing ingredients?
KM: Yeast. All we do is make sugar water (wort) – to feed the yeast. We are using all of the other ingredients to manipulate the yeast, in a sense playing God by selectively choosing the best to survive, and creating a specific environment for them to react to. Everything we do as a brewer revolves around yeast doing it’s job. They turn our water into wine (beer), and truly should be center stage of your beer production. Most of the off-flavors I encounter are yeast-related & easily avoidable, and sometimes over-thinking it is just as bad.
AM: Where do you draw your inspiration?
KM: I try to draw inspiration from my surroundings. There is so much to be inspired by, and I try to look for the good in things to keep that inspiration fed. Family, friends, co-workers, industry peers, and Elon Musk play a big part…
AM: New favorite TAPS beer and food pairing?
KM: The Royal w/Cheese & Kellerpils is always a great pairing, but the Taco Swell Wrap happens to coincidentally resemble a guilty pleasure of mine, so I’m sure I’ll find myself enjoying those frequently.
AM: If you were omnipotent, what would you change (first) to improve our beer universe?
KM: To make everyone have the upmost care and desire to make the highest quality product possible, first and foremost, every time.