San Diego's got no shortage of bay views or craft breweries, but until now we've been short a bay-view brewery. Enter the Eppig Brewing Waterfront Biergarten, an indoor/outdoor tasting room that directly overlooks America’s Cup Harbor in the Point Loma Village neighborhood, immediately south of Shelter Island.
2817 Dickens Street, Point Loma
It's mostly outdoor. While a 600-square-foot taproom features long communal tables and a small bar pouring from 20-tap handles, the room is flush with more windows than walls, and its six large roll-up doors open the space to breezes off the bay.
But it’s the 2000 square feet of patio space that makes the new property noteworthy. Beginning with a February 9th soft opening, guests may sip the brewery's popular lagers and ales on a small deck surrounded by yachts and fishing boats — similar to the view enjoyed by the Point Loma Seafoods fish market, right next door. By a planned March 1st grand opening, construction will be complete on the adjacent biergarten space, which will be furnished with more long tables and shade structures. Cold food, such as sandwiches and wraps, will also be available, courtesy of an outside caterer.
Eppig recently completed its first year in business in North Park, operating in one of three, ten-barrel turn-key brewery spaces established there by H.G. Fenton's Brewery Igniter program. While its physical presence in the beer-thirsty neighborhood has helped Eppig quickly establish a strong demand, the high-rent space was always intended to serve as an incubator for the business.
"We've been planning and looking for satellite tasting rooms and production facilities since the moment we moved in there," says cofounder Stephanie Eppig. The long-term plan calls for Eppig to generate revenue toward building its own production brewery, and she hopes the new biergarten will help by increasing retail sales — which in turn will increase the brand's need for a larger brewhouse.
The young brewery revived the 150-year-old Eppig beer brand originally launched in Brooklyn by Stephanie's great, great grand uncle Leonhard Eppig. In deference to its namesake brewery, Eppig brewers Clayton LeBlanc and Nate Stephens have consistently produced a large number of German lagers, in addition to San Diego–style hoppy ales. While the lagers have proven quite popular, they also take five weeks to finish, compared to three for an IPA, which significantly slows production.
"We are already brewing at capacity in North Park," says Eppig. Without the lagers, that might mean 2000 barrels per year; instead, Eppig peaks at 1500. Consequently, as the new biergarten takes off, Eppig will most likely find itself facing a problem many small breweries would envy: demand exceeding supply. While this may mean it becomes harder to find Eppig beer outside one of its tasting rooms, Eppig says they're looking into contract brewing opportunities to make up the difference.
Meanwhile, she and husband/business partner Todd Warshaw continue to explore locations for a brewery space, or even another taproom, searching as far north as Oceanside, and as far south as Chula Vista. For now, they're content to wait until they find one that feels right. However, they acknowledge they may not find anything as sunny or as welcoming as their new waterfront biergarten.