When Taps’ 16-year veteran brewmaster Victor Novak left in late 2014, the million-dollar question was, “Who’s going to fill his noxiously respected brew boots?” Beer geeks were delighted to see former Taps brewers Dave Hulls and Kyle Manns return from brief stints elsewhere, energized and full of fresh ideas. With more than a dozen Great American Beer Festival medals dangling from the walls like TruckNutz, their “fresh ideas” can’t be too radical. “I can’t believe we never made an oyster stout,” says Manns through his bushy beard and glasses, eyeing the infamous Taps oyster bar a scant 20 feet from the brewhouse. The focus on subtle European-style beers of the past surely will shift to more modern West Coast styles. High octane “hop bombs” like Poseidon Double IPA and Pappy Van Winkle barrel-aged Remy Imperial Stout are catnip for today’s beer nuts.
HOP TIP In 2015, Taps Fish House & Brewery will expand into The Market Place in Irvine with house beers and guest taps
101 E. Imperial Highway, Brea