Recently, Bierkast took a trip to Taps Fish House in Brea, and we can safely say, “GO THERE NOW,” to any and everyone that likes good beer and grub.  Taps is a well executed and polished restaurant with the addition of a sizable brewery on the side behind a thick sheet of glass.   However, the brewery and its beer are anything but a side note.  Their famous Cream Ale took gold at the Great American Brew Festival in both 2001 & 2005 and won golds at both the Cal State & LA County Fairs.  We can safely say that these awards are well deserved.  The ale is perfectly crafted: it’s complex if you are looking for something to study, and it’s refreshing and pound-able if you are looking for something to session.  Although, pounding a beer of this caliber would surely be a waste.

Another beer of note is their Roggenbier! Yes, they have a Roggenbier, and if you haven’t had a Roggenbier before GO TO TAPS NOW!  This really is a perfect example of the style and can be likened to drinking liquid bread.  The spicy notes are expertly balanced with the classic banana & clove phenols from the Bavarian wheat yeast.  Roggenbiers are very similar to Hefeweizens – they share the same yeast.  It would more than likely pair well with most of the food you’ll find at Taps.  However, if you really want to take your brain on a trip, find a fresh/warm loaf of rye bread, slather it with Dortmunder German mustard, and take a swig of Roggenbier – don’t forget to breath out through your nose.

To write about all the beers at Taps would seriously take forever, and we probably couldn’t do them all justice in this post.  The best advice would be to go to Taps Fish House and experience it for yourself.  Make sure to try their Vienna & Helles.  Also, go hungry! Their burgers are incredible, and they are huge.  John had a spicy pepper burger, I had a portabello burger, and Katie had a salmon burger.  They were cooked to perfection and really paired well with the tasting flights we ordered.  It was a great stop for lunch, but it would probably be even better to come back for dinner and take advantage of some of their amazing fresh fish.  In case I scared people off, Taps Fish House is fancy inside, but it’s also easy to snag an affordable meal and beer if you go for lunch.  If you are looking for a more regal night out though, you could definitely go there for dinner and order up a storm.

After Taps, the Bierkast team headed to Bootlegger’s Brewery.  Upon arriving at their front door, a truck loading door, in an industrial park in Fullerton, CA, we learned that they take their name seriously.  All beer is served in rustic mason jars, a la simpler moonshine times.  One quickly notices that the high brow clientele are missing, replaced by tattooed bikers, blue collared Joes, and grease monkeys from the neighboring mechanic shops.  It’s a brewery for the people, and they are proud of it.  This is actually a pretty important point here: breweries must cater to their community.  As Fre mont Brewing caters towards the green crowd in Fremont, Bootlegger caters towards the working people of Fullerton.  The beers are varied, with specials, growler fills, and tasting flights.  Unfortunately, we missed their elusive and extremely popular Knuckle Sandwich Double IPA. Go for their Black Phoenix, a chipotle infused stout; it’s one of my favorite chili beers.  Not too hot, the chili plays off the coffee & chocolate dark grain notes creating a sort of Mexican chocolate reaction in your mouth.  If you can’t make it out to Fullerton, CA, make it to the nearest Whole Foods, BevMo, or specialty wine/beer store.  There is a high probability they are carrying Bootlegger’s hand-bottled beers.

– Kip

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