From the Beer Writer: Of the most recent entrants to the San Diego brewing industry, few have been so impressive from the get-go as Eppig Brewing. The first interest to open in North Park’s Craft by Brewery Igniter complex, it has a lot to offer. There are currently well over a dozen beers on-tap, but even when they had less than half of that available early on, that handful included some real winners. Tops among those first drafts was Eppig Natural Bridge Festbier. Much like Christmas ales or Lent beers, most brewers only produce this lager-style during a certain period, in this case Germany’s Oktoberfest season. But not at Eppig, where they smartly realize their Festbier’s quality is such that it should be a year-round offering. Bready yet light with bristly mineral notes, it’s a study in balance and elegance that comes in at 6% alcohol-by-volume. Behind this and the other members of Eppig’s Natural Bridge family of lagers (Baltic porter, hoppy Pilsner, schwarzbier, zwickelbier and, soon, a lightly oak-smoked Vienna lager), this young brewery belongs among the small number of breweries brewing top-notch lagers in ale-heavy San Diego.
From the Brewer: “At Eppig, lager-beer is a major part of our history. The original Eppig brewery in Brooklyn, New York, brewed nothing but lagers when it opened in 1866. The name ‘Natural Bridge’ applies to our family of lagers for a variety of reasons. The word ‘bridge’, itself, is both the symbolic and physical embodiment of connecting two points. Symbolically, we are bridging both geographic distance and a journey of over 150 years in the making. Joseph and Leonard Eppig both emigrated from Bavaria in the 1860s to establish breweries on the east coast of the ‘New World’. Post prohibition, the breweries were lost. Now, in San Diego, we have brought Eppig Brewing back to life. Natural Bridge is a reminder to keep traditions alive by making a commitment to brewing great lager-beer! Furthermore, New York City and San Diego are both, in part, defined by iconic bridges. Neither city’s skyline would be complete without the Brooklyn or Coronado Bridge respectively presiding over their waterfronts. This beer is one of the reasons we were drawn to brewing as a profession. We wanted to create beers that put you in a time and place. For us, when we are enjoying a pint of Festbier, in our minds we are transported to a sunny, Bavarian beer garden. For those who have experienced it, they know there are few better places to be than riding a bike through Munich’s English Garden and stopping by the lake for a stein or two. When a customer drinks our beer, there is nothing more satisfying than when we can tap into these kinds of emotions. Our Natural Bridge Festbier falls somewhere between a Pilsner and a Märzen. It’s slightly maltier than a Pilsner, leading to a more complex, interesting aroma and flavor profile. It’s less sweet with a drier finish than a Märzen. The clean fermentation profile and overall balance of the beer make it a great choice for any season, and that is why we have chosen to brew it year round.”–Nathan Stephens, Principal Brewer, Eppig Brewing