TAPS Brewery & Barrel Room, and the entire family of TAPS affiliated restaurants and pubs.
Brennan began his entry into the world of brewing as a consumer, enthralled by the creativity and flavor craft beer offered. After being convinced by a veteran homebrewer to try the hobby, Brennan became enamored with the creation of beer. Within a year of homebrewing, he stepped into the professional realm of brewing and continued to grow his passion. Brennan cut his teeth at Stone Brewing Co. and Beachwood Brewing, gathering extensive knowledge from the venerable breweries and bringing it to the TAPS family. In his free time, he bakes bread, works on cars, and continues to homebrew.
Kristine “KC” Cunningham
Brewery Barrel Room Manager
TAPS Brewery & Barrel Room
Kristine Cunningham, nicknamed “KC” by her grandfather, grew up in Anaheim. A graduate of Cal State Fullerton with a B.A. in communications-advertising, Cunningham worked in hospitality when in college at House of Blues in Anaheim, starting as a bartender and seguing into training and special events. She assisted in the same capacity—lead bartender and trainer—with the TAPS family at Lillie’s Q in Brea Downtown in 2014-2015.
KC has now returned to the TAPS group after three years at Costa Mesa-based Barley Forge Brewing Co., where she oversaw all front of the house staff. Her responsibilities included training, menus, special events, and customer satisfaction.
Her passion for craft beer began in 2012. Since then, Cunningham has spent the last five years gaining experience and education in the local brewery world, including co-brewing at Ballast Point in collaboration with an International Women’s Day special release batch. KC enjoys sharing her knowledge of beers with guests and is a fan of full-bodied stouts and barrel-aged versions, to include TAPS iconic Remy’s Pappy.
The Long Beach resident is an avid Ducks and Angels fan and enjoys writing poetry as a creative outlet.
Tasting Room Team
TAPS Fish House & Brewery, The Catch, TAPS Brewery + Kitchen, TAPHouse Kitchen
Tom Hope’s hometown is Chicago. He started to cook at the age of five with his mother and grandmother and spent a good deal of his childhood in the kitchen learning Italian cuisine. At the age of 16, he found a summer job at Lake Shore Country Club, where he started to learn the ropes of the restaurant and banquet business. Passionate about the culinary world, at 18 he enrolled in Kendall College where he earned both an Associates’s degree in culinary arts and a Bachelors’s degree in restaurant management. Hope immersed himself into the food world, visiting unique wineries and artisanal food producers. He also spent three months in Europe.
Upon completion of culinary school, Hope had the urge to leave the Windy City for warmer climes. He and his fiancée made their way to Hawaii, where he began a long relationship with renowned chef Roy Yamaguchi, the pioneer of Hawaiian Fusion Cuisine. Tom was an executive chef at the Roy’s in Maui for almost four years. He then moved to Denver, Colorado to open and become the chef-partner at Roy’s in Cherry Creek. After two years, he then spent the next six months opening four of Roy’s restaurants (Rancho Mirage, Austin, Philadelphia, and Baltimore). When the decision was made to open a Roy’s in downtown Chicago, Hope was appointed chef-partner of what was to become one of the busiest Roy’s restaurants on the mainland.
After five years at Roy’s in Chicago, the opportunity arose to come west and join the Manzella team in a newly created position of culinary director for TAPS Fish House & Brewery and The Catch. With his years with Yamaguchi, who specializes in seafood, the transition to Manzella’s seafood restaurants was seamless. Hope is in charge of a myriad of kitchen components: purchasing, quality control, and HAACP programs, R&D, menu roll-outs, and culinary training. He lives in Fullerton with his wife Krista and their two daughters.
TAPS Brewery & Barrel Room, TAPS Fish House & Brewery, The Catch, TAPS Brewery + Kitchen, TAPS Great American Brewery, TAPHouse Kitchen (Arizona)
Joe Manzella is one of Orange County’s most successful independent restaurateurs. With five restaurants—TAPS Fish House & Brewery in Brea, Corona and Irvine, The Catch in Anaheim, and Lillie’s Q in Brea—Manzella commands an empire of 500 employees that is approaching $50 million dollars in annual sales.
Manzella grew up in Palos Verdes, one of five children of Helene and Faro Manzella, the VP of Operations for Northrop Gruman. After graduating from Arizona State, he spent his early career years at Xerox before convincing his father to back him in his growing passion to become a restaurateur. After five years of development and almost insurmountable setbacks, Joe opened TAPS Fish House & Brewery in Brea in 1999. TAPS was embraced by the public from day one and has become one of Orange County’s busiest restaurants.
Manzella opened a second TAPS in south Corona in 2007. He became owner of The Catch in Anaheim in 2002, which opened following a major remodel. He operated it successfully for six years until the landlord terminated the lease as part of redevelopment plans for the area. Manzella then developed a new Catch at a superior location, on E. Katella Ave. in Anaheim. In 2014 he partnered with well-known chef-restaurateur Charlie McKenna of Chicago and brought Lillie’s Q to Brea.
More than anyone in OC, Manzella’s prescience in the mid-nineties that locally-crafted artisan beers would become big was right on target. TAPS fine ales and lagers–brewed in the finely-balanced European tradition and complemented by small production progressive craft beers–have garnered close to 100 medals at international, national, state and regional levels and are in demand in LA, San Diego, and OC gastro-pubs. TAPS has been honored three times (2010, 2011, and 2015) as the Mid-Size Brewpub and Brewers of the Year at the largest national beer competition—the Great American Beer Festival® (GABF) held annually in Denver, Colorado.
Joe Manzella was named Restaurateur of the Year for 2011 by the prestigious Orange County Business Journal. In their tribute, the Journal cited “(Manzella’s) ability to sense the public’s need for restaurants that marry superb, value-driven food in interesting settings, with constant good and friendly service woven throughout.”
Manzella’s philanthropy has benefited the local communities where he operates. He also supports his alma mater, Arizona State, through annual fundraising and appreciation events for their athletic department. Joe and his wife, Michelle, live in Scottsdale, AZ, with their three small children.