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Oktoberwest

Beer, food, music, and watching people make fools of themselves.

Leeward Leiderhosen at Eppig's Waterfront Biergarten.
Leeward Leiderhosen at Eppig's Waterfront Biergarten.

Free-flowing beer. The clinking of steins and caroling of “Ein Prosit der Gemütlichkeit.” The scent of schweinebraten, würstl, käsespätzle, and brazen wafting through the tents. Seas of people clad in dirndl and lederhosen. Oktoberfest in Munich is a feast for the senses.

Place

Eppig Brewing

1347 Keystone Way, Vista

The bad news: Oktoberfest is once again canceled this year, so those squirreling away pennies and accumulating PTO will have to wait until next September. The good news: local Bavarian-style brewery Eppig has a seasonal Festbier and is lining up two weekends of Oktoberfest celebrations that you can enjoy without going through customs.

“We wanted to be true and authentic to what they do in Germany, because we have this natural theme at Eppig of making German beers,” explains Clayton LeBlanc, head brewer and co-founder. The brewery (which is also planning a fifth anniversary celebration in November) gets its name from another co-founder, Stephanie Eppig, whose family moved from Bavaria to Brooklyn in the 1860s. Once in New York, they founded the original Eppig Germania Lager Brewing, which operated for about 70 years.

When LeBlanc (a former brewer at Ballast Point) met Eppig and heard the family history, the idea was born to bring more lagers to the largely IPA-dominated San Diego craft beer scene. “Right away, for Oktoberfest,” he continues, “we made Festbier, which is a true Munich-style fest lager. It’s not to be confused with the Marzen style that’s more prevalent in the United States — which is also delicious, just different. Marzen is a little more full-bodied and darker in color, a little more caramel, a great style. Traditionally, it’s supposed to be brewed in the spring, then you lager it all summer and it’s supposed to come out for Oktoberfest.” The wiesen-style Oktoberfest beer which revelers now consume by the liter in Munich every September — and which Eppig brews as its Festbier — first came into existence in the 1970s when the head brewer at Spaten decided to brew something a little lighter for the festivities. (Still, at 6%, Festbiers are not to be taken too lightly, not when you’re drinking steins of them all day long.)

Prost! Oktoberfest hits San Diego.

Describing Eppig’s Festbier, LeBlanc says, “I call it a pilsner-plus, where you take this light, crisp style (it does have some hop presence to it) and you kind of push it up a little bit. You make it a little fuller than your average pilsner, which is about 4.5%, while this is 6%.” Festbier is canned and available at local craft beer shops and will be filling steins at Eppig’s two Oktoberfest events. On Saturday, September 11, Eppig’s Vista Brewery and Bierhalle will feature a German band playing Oktoberfest music from 2 to 9 pm, plus German-style pretzels fresh from the brewery’s pretzel oven, along with Eppig beers on tap.

Place

Eppig Brewing Waterfront Biergarten

2817 Dickens Street, San Diego

The following weekend, September 17, 18, and 19, Eppig’s Point Loma Waterfront Biergarten will host a larger event: to provide a real Oktoberfest experience, a tent will be erected above the tables on the patio, with German food available from Biersal Food Truck. No German brass band, but a DJ will be playing Oktoberfest music. Both events will feature Eppig staff dressed in lederhosen and dirndl, a contest in which participants attempt to eat pretzels hanging from a string without using their hands, and a stein holding contest, which sees contestants attempting to outlast one another while holding full steins in their outstretched hands.

Beer, food, music, and watching people make fools of themselves — what’s not to like? As LeBlanc points out, “It’s fun to watch people suffer for beer... and then celebrate with beer after.”

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Leeward Leiderhosen at Eppig's Waterfront Biergarten.
Leeward Leiderhosen at Eppig's Waterfront Biergarten.

Free-flowing beer. The clinking of steins and caroling of “Ein Prosit der Gemütlichkeit.” The scent of schweinebraten, würstl, käsespätzle, and brazen wafting through the tents. Seas of people clad in dirndl and lederhosen. Oktoberfest in Munich is a feast for the senses.

Place

Eppig Brewing

1347 Keystone Way, Vista

The bad news: Oktoberfest is once again canceled this year, so those squirreling away pennies and accumulating PTO will have to wait until next September. The good news: local Bavarian-style brewery Eppig has a seasonal Festbier and is lining up two weekends of Oktoberfest celebrations that you can enjoy without going through customs.

“We wanted to be true and authentic to what they do in Germany, because we have this natural theme at Eppig of making German beers,” explains Clayton LeBlanc, head brewer and co-founder. The brewery (which is also planning a fifth anniversary celebration in November) gets its name from another co-founder, Stephanie Eppig, whose family moved from Bavaria to Brooklyn in the 1860s. Once in New York, they founded the original Eppig Germania Lager Brewing, which operated for about 70 years.

When LeBlanc (a former brewer at Ballast Point) met Eppig and heard the family history, the idea was born to bring more lagers to the largely IPA-dominated San Diego craft beer scene. “Right away, for Oktoberfest,” he continues, “we made Festbier, which is a true Munich-style fest lager. It’s not to be confused with the Marzen style that’s more prevalent in the United States — which is also delicious, just different. Marzen is a little more full-bodied and darker in color, a little more caramel, a great style. Traditionally, it’s supposed to be brewed in the spring, then you lager it all summer and it’s supposed to come out for Oktoberfest.” The wiesen-style Oktoberfest beer which revelers now consume by the liter in Munich every September — and which Eppig brews as its Festbier — first came into existence in the 1970s when the head brewer at Spaten decided to brew something a little lighter for the festivities. (Still, at 6%, Festbiers are not to be taken too lightly, not when you’re drinking steins of them all day long.)

Prost! Oktoberfest hits San Diego.

Describing Eppig’s Festbier, LeBlanc says, “I call it a pilsner-plus, where you take this light, crisp style (it does have some hop presence to it) and you kind of push it up a little bit. You make it a little fuller than your average pilsner, which is about 4.5%, while this is 6%.” Festbier is canned and available at local craft beer shops and will be filling steins at Eppig’s two Oktoberfest events. On Saturday, September 11, Eppig’s Vista Brewery and Bierhalle will feature a German band playing Oktoberfest music from 2 to 9 pm, plus German-style pretzels fresh from the brewery’s pretzel oven, along with Eppig beers on tap.

Place

Eppig Brewing Waterfront Biergarten

2817 Dickens Street, San Diego

The following weekend, September 17, 18, and 19, Eppig’s Point Loma Waterfront Biergarten will host a larger event: to provide a real Oktoberfest experience, a tent will be erected above the tables on the patio, with German food available from Biersal Food Truck. No German brass band, but a DJ will be playing Oktoberfest music. Both events will feature Eppig staff dressed in lederhosen and dirndl, a contest in which participants attempt to eat pretzels hanging from a string without using their hands, and a stein holding contest, which sees contestants attempting to outlast one another while holding full steins in their outstretched hands.

Beer, food, music, and watching people make fools of themselves — what’s not to like? As LeBlanc points out, “It’s fun to watch people suffer for beer... and then celebrate with beer after.”

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