BLONDES ON BEERS:
At Eppig Brewing's Waterfront Biergarten in Point Loma, beers poured are either really traditional, or really not. Specializing in German-style lagers and some "reinterpreted" styles, the tasting room on Dickens Street has a glorious view that begs for patrons to sit down and have a few.
Principal brewer and co-founder Nate Stephens spent years on the research and development side of Ballast Point, and brings that experience, and a willingness to experiment, to Eppig.
"We know what raw ingredients work — hops, yeast, malts — and we are able to execute them in such a way that the results are exactly what we're going for," he said. "We have a diversity on our board in that some of the beers are super traditional, but then, the fun part is taking parts of beers we enjoy and reinterpreting them."
The brewing company launched in 2016, and by some stroke of luck, the first beer it brewed was — and is — one of their most successful and a best-seller.
"It's called Civility, and is kind of a blend of few ideas," Stephens said. "It's more than your run-of-the-mill blonde ale. It's less punchy than an IPA, and it's one of the most pleasant beers you can find. It's dry hopped with Centennial hops, which are known to be really lemony, citrusy and bright. It doesn't win awards because it doesn't have a place to enter. There are specific styles in these competitions, but beers like the Civility bridge the gap between styles. This beer doesn't adhere to any one category."
But the tasting room's signature is the German-inspired beers. Characterized by being (mostly) clear, low alcohol by volume, crisp and refreshing, these beers are traditionally consumed throughout the day. Owner Stephanie Eppig's relatives emigrated from Bavaria in the 1800s and opened breweries in Brooklyn. She continues the family tradition in San Diego.
Stephens says the German Wheat Ale is the most award-winning beer offered. "Ours is bright and clear. It's not hazy like a Hefeweizen would be and doesn't have the banana and clove you'd find in a normal wheat beer or Hefeweizen."
The Wheat Ale is joined by pilsners, smoked lagers, specialty ales and a sour or two. "We brew the type of beer we like to drink and that just happens to be something people dabble with, but we really commit to (German-style beers). We'll have six lagers on the board at times. It's kind of a unique thing. We try really hard to nail it on everything we do. But we saw there was a vacuum for less well-known lager styles."
For this outing, beertender Maria offered two flights of the same beers: one a lineup of IPAs and special ales, and the other their classic lagers (one of which is the 'out of our wheelhouse' beer).
Crystal: It's safe to start our review of Eppig with the views, because no other brewery in Point Loma/OB compares. Eppig Brewing in Point Loma sits right on the water! The views of the bay and incredible boats never get boring.
Ashley: The view does not disappoint and I like that the interior is small, but the outside seating is expansive.
Crystal: It's a bright, summer beer with a pleasant lemon aroma. The recipe uses wheat and Vienna malts and German Magnum hops to create the perfect light beer taste.
Ashley: This is a perplexing beer in that it's a little bit of everything. It's fuller than a pale ale, but milder than an IPA. I can't think of anything I could compare it to, and it's driving me crazy!
Crystal: It has an earthy, hoppy flavor profile with bright notes. The specific fruit flavors are not obvious, but it does add to the flavor and brightness. It's a hoppy, medium-bodied beer without any bitterness.
Ashley: I agree. The fruit that comes forward is not tropical or citrusy but still fruity. There was clearly a lot of thought that went into this to make it unique.
10:45 to Denver
Crystal: This beer is darker than the first two we tried, yet still light and easy to drink. It's a simple IPA that uses mosaic and cascade hops, but doesn't leave a bitter aftertaste. It's surprisingly easy to drink considering it boasts a 7-percent ABV!
Ashley: Given that we're in an IPA town, I get the need to include it, but this is milder than some of the other IPAs you could find around here. It's probably bolder than some of the German-inspired beers, so maybe next time I'll try a lager, then this.
The Wolf Double IPA
Crystal: This one is slightly underwhelming in flavor, dry hopped with a mild piney aroma. I taste some stone fruit and the Simcoe hops but it does very little to get me excited about this beer. It is 9-percent ABV, but does not taste it; you'll get your money's worth for sure.
Ashley: I enjoyed this one, as I do most strong IPAs, because it's not too heavy. But for this town, this would be more in line with a typical IPA rather than a double. I also get the feeling this would pair well with food.
Crystal: Dry hopped and unfiltered, the Zwickle is a lager with a great balance of hops and malt flavors. This beer has a mild floral aroma and light earthy taste.
Ashley: It almost has a grassy nose, and has a fuller body to it than a typical lager. It's almost a lager-plus. This is one of those easy drinking beers you could hang out with and have a few.
Crystal: Medium bodied, this German-style pilsner tastes more yeasty than hoppy. No bitterness or aftertaste and easy to drink.
Ashley: Pilsners have never really been my favorite. Not that there is anything wrong with them, but they are just very simple. This is a great example of a pilsner, just not my favorite.
Japanese Style Special Lager
Crystal: The most unique tasting beer so far at Eppig. It's simple, but special at the same time, as well as having an incredible mix of sweet and savory. The beer is refreshingly clean and flavors well balanced.
Ashley: This is a great surprise, and easily my favorite thus far. For being so light and clean, it has a great mouthfeel and satisfying aftertaste. It was described as being like sweet sushi rice, and that is dead on. (P.S. Since we're sharing the flight, this sample went fast and we decided to order a full pint.)
Schwarzbier German Black Lager (Out of Our Wheelhouse beer)
Crystal: Dark and roasty, but easy to drink. I taste the roasted malt more than yeast or hops, which provides a sweet taste of nuts and cocoa. Delicious flavor profile.
Ashley: This is like a case on one-of-these-things-is-not-like-the-other when you see it in the lineup, but it actually is! It's still a lager, just one with more of a roasted taste. Not too heavy or dense, either.
Eppig Brewing By the Numbers
Open since: February 2018
No. of taps: 15
Alcohol by Volume: 4.1% to 9%
Hours: Noon to 8 p.m. Sunday-Wednesday; noon to 9 p.m. Thursday-Saturday
Address: 2817 Dickens St., Point Loma
Contact: (619) 756-6825. eppigbrewing.com
• Coming in the Auguest 2018 issue of Point Loma-OB Monthly: The Blondes on Beers visit Belching Beaver Brewery in Ocean Beach.
• To contact the Blondes on Beer: E-mail Ashley Mackin-Solomon at firstname.lastname@example.org