Director of Brewing Operations
TAPS Brewery & Barrel Room, TAPS Fish House & Brewery
Kyle Manns is an award-winning brewer with over eight years of versatile professional grain-to-glass experience. He graduated from California State University, Dominguez Hills with a BA in Media Arts, Audio Recording. In 2003, he began working in the music industry as a recording engineer. It was at this time that he became fascinated with homebrewing.
In early 2009, Manns got his first taste of professional brewing as a volunteer at The Bruery where he entered a beer in his first competition: The Bruery’s Batch 50. He credits his time at The Bruery with jumpstarting his brewing career and by the end of 2009, Manns made a pivotal career transition when he accepted the position of assistant brewer at BJ’s Brewery, West Covina. For the next three years, Manns honed his skills on all facets of the beer-making process. Confident in his progression, he then took a brewer position at TAPS Fish House & Brewery where he aided in the development of an award-winning barrel-aging program. In 2013, Manns was recruited as head brewer at Bottle Logic Brewing to assist in setting-up and building-out the brewery and tasting room. He also crafted a product portfolio, which included over 60 unique beers.
Manns returned to TAPS Fish House & Brewery in December of 2014 as the new brewery operations manager for both the Brea and Corona locations. In his current position as Director of Brewing Operations, he is responsible for production management, ingredient sourcing, employee training, event coordination and representation, government reporting, recipe development and other operational tasks. His passion for the craft and boundless drive and creativity have lead to numerous awards and medals.
Manns’ hometown is La Habra, CA where he resides with his wife and children.
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.
QA/QC & Packaging Manager
TAPS Brewery & Barrel Room
Max Jones joined the team in 2016 after receiving a B.S. in chemistry. His interest in chemistry and microbiology blossomed into a passion for beer and brewing. While going to school, Max landed a job at Bottle Logic, where he worked as a Cellarman under Kyle and Jon. Prior to working in the brewing industry, Max worked in the printing industry as a Maintenance and Fabrication Technician. When he’s not at the brewery or sitting in traffic on the 91, Max can be found spending time with his wife, Becky, skateboarding all the gnarliest spots, rock climbing, fishing, or hiking with his dog, Albie.
Erik’s passion for beer came to him after starting college at the University of California Riverside in 2005. Quickly after starting his freshman year, he had the opportunity to start working at the homebrew shop More Beer. He quickly realized the infinite possibilities of recipe combinations that beer making had to offer, and started pursuing a career in brewing. While working at More Beer, he was approached by the owner of Bootleggers Brewing Company in Fullerton and offered a cellerman position, and could not have been more excited to get his feet wet. After a year as a cellerman, Erik moved on to become an Assistant Brewer for TAPS. Working with Kyle Manns and David Huls he realized that pub brewing was his calling, unfortunately the timing was not right. For the next 6 years he worked at many different breweries learning as much as he could to further his career such as; Head Brewer for Packinghouse brewing company in Riverside, Brewer at Left Coast Brewing company in San Clemente, Brewer at Track 7 Brewing in Sacramento, then finally a Brewer at Stone Brewing Company in Escondido before getting recruited to his dream job as Head Brewer for TAPS Fish House and Brewery in Corona.
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
Chef Tom Hope
Director of Culinary
TAPS Fish House & Brewery and The Catch
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 degree in culinary arts and a Bachelors 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 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 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 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
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 a empire of 500 employees that is approaching $29 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 Yorba Linda with their three small children.