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Clayton LeBlanc
Eppig Brewing's head brewer Clayton LeBlanc in traditional Frühlingsfest garb. Photo courtesy of Eppig Brewing
Cheers! North County Columns Food & Wine

Cheers! North County: Eppig Brewing co-founder talks Frühlingsfest, reopening

Do you feel normal? I feel normal-ish. I’m only a week from living that fully vaccinated lifestyle, but the anticipation is building. More and more, I’m getting that urge to head to a brewery for a pint, but unlike before I’m not pushing those feelings down. I’m letting them bubble just under the surface.

As such, I’ve been reaching out to brewery friends old and new to see how they’ve been doing, right now, in the moment. This week, I was able to connect with Todd Warshaw, co-founder of Eppig Brewing Company. Eppig’s primary brewery is located in Vista. They also have the Point Loma Biergarten on the waterfront, and now pop-up shop back in their old stomping grounds of North Park.

Cheers!: Hey Todd, thanks for catching me up on what’s going on at Eppig Brewing. More than a year into this wild pandemic, what is the physical and emotional status of your company and team?

Todd: As you noted, it’s been wild. Thankfully we’re in what seems to be the tail end of it—very grateful about that. Physically we’re doing well. [The] buildings and tanks didn’t collapse, and our team has done amazingly well staying healthy. Mentally—that’s a tough one. The last 14 months have [had] some incredible lows contrasted with some unbelievable high points. Looking forward to a return to some version of stability! 

Cheers!: You just hosted Frühlingsfest 2021, a German-themed spring beer festival. The pictures looked fun, and the German costumes reminded me of the polka fests of my youth back in Wisconsin, but I have to wonder what the vibe was like. We spoke early on in the pandemic, and Eppig really was at the forefront of COVID-19 safety and protocol. Are beer drinkers ready to come fest it up on-site? Or is there a more cautious coming out of a coronavirus haze experience being had?

Todd: The recent Frühlingsfest events at both Point Loma and Vista were a blast. Quite a departure from last spring, when sadly we couldn’t have anyone join us in person. Was it back to ‘normal? Not quite. [We are] still keeping people safely spaced out and seated, and had to forgo some of the fun activities and games. Adjustments like that.

Eppig Brewing
Eppig Brewing Company’s pop-up shop in the North Park neighborhood of San Diego. Photo courtesy of Eppig Brewing

At the same time, it was a PHENOMENAL taste of what’s to come as we can safely spend time with more and more people! Our guests thoroughly loved having a reason to break out the lederhosen & dirndl outfits, while enjoying big steins of Festbier and great German-inspired food from our friends at Biersal.

Cheers!: As much as anyone can plan after last year, what does the near future (2021) for Eppig look like?

Todd: Busy! We’re seeing increased traffic at all three tasting rooms, more kegs & cans going out to our retail partners, and every tank in the brewery is full — the polar opposite of 365 days ago. We’ve got more tanks being commissioned next month, and expect to bring on some additional staffing to increase hours as we hit the summer. Our events program is ramping back up as well. People are eager to make up for lost time with their loved ones, and what better place to host your gatherings than [at] a brewery & tasting room?

Cheers!: Let’s talk beer. I know you don’t put beers out that you don’t really believe are the best quality possible. Yet, you have nearly 20 beers available now! Is there anything coming out that your team is particularly excited about or proud of?

Todd: We consistently have 20+ beers on tap at our locations, and while we love all our children equally… I’m going to be selfish on this one. A few years ago we brewed a Pilsner, straight German-style, and I love it. It’s finally back on the brew schedule and will be back this summer (including 16oz cans!).  

Cheers!: What is the best way for North County residents to get their hands on Eppig’s beer?

Todd: Our Vista tasting room to start with! In addition, our canned options are readily available at local beer-centric markets, including Seaside Market, BevMo & Bottlecraft locations, Barons Markets & Whole Foods, as well as dozens of North County restaurants with our beer on draft.

Cheers!: Anything else you want readers to know about Eppig right now?

Todd: Those of you who have been out and about supporting us, and countless local businesses this last year—THANK YOU. And if we haven’t seen you in a while, we miss you and are excited to welcome you back to all Eppig locations, as soon as you’re comfortable enjoying a beer with us.  

Cheers!: Last question…is Festmeister and head brewer Clayton LeBlanc planning on putting out a 2022 calendar?

Todd: Only if I’m out sick when that conversation happens… Ha!

To stay on top of any and all changes going on at Eppig Brewing follow their Instagram account @EppigBrewing, or head to their website at www.eppigbrewing.com to check out their hours. They are still offering curbside pick-up, shipping and even local delivery to select regions of the county. You can find all the details or just peruse the beer selection at www.eppigbrewing.com/shop.

If you like craft beer, you probably also love a good cup of coffee. Pour a mug, and check out the most recent episodes of the Roast! West Coast coffee podcast featuring interviews and coffee education with great local coffee professionals. Stream it now on The Coast News online or search for it on your favorite podcast platforms including Apple Podcasts and Spotify. Thanks for listening, and for following Cheers! North County on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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