Oktoberfest is coming to San Diego sooner than you think.
“Frühlingsfest (“springfest” in German) is Oktoberfest’s sister festival,” explained Stephanie Eppig, co-owner and chief marketing officer at Eppig Brewing. “It’s the same great festival atmosphere.”
Eppig’s Frühlingsfest will coincide with the first anniversary of the brewery’s Waterfront Biergarten at 2817 Dickens Street in Point Loma on April 13. There promises to be plenty of familiar attire — traditional lederhosen and dirndls are encouraged, and Stemtations San Diego is hosting a flower crown-crafting workshop for that extra Bavarian flair. (Advance reservations for the workshop are required and tickets are $22. Entry to the event is free.)
It’s the first Frühlingsfest San Diego has ever seen, and one that Stephanie hopes will spark curiosity with beer fans thirsty for the lighter, crisper flavors of spring recipes. She also put great emphasis on the fact that Eppig’s principal brewer, Nate Stephens, has plenty of new brews in the tanks to meet demand.
“Nate’s been looking for an excuse to brew a festbier,” Stephanie said. “This is a great excuse!”
A full lineup of Eppig’s springtime lagers will be on hand, including their zwickelbier and special Japanese-style dry lager. Overall, guests can expect low ABV beers that are “dry, approachable, and easy to drink, designed to drink outside,” Stephanie said.
Liter and half-liter steins will be available for purchase, as well as traditional German food from local food truck Biersal.
Oktoberfest in Munich originated in 1810 to commemorate the marriage between Crown Prince Ludwig (later King Ludwig I) and Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen. Since then, it has evolved into a Bavarian bacchanal that caters to approximately 6 million visitors over a two week span starting at the end of September and running through the first week of October. Countless additional Oktoberfests take place around the world in that same timeframe, including San Diego’s own popular La Mesa and El Cajon celebrations.
Munich’s Frühlingsfest also takes place annually, but with significantly smaller crowds.
“Spring is more for locals while fall is for tourists,” Stephanie said. “Ours is not dissimilar. It’ll be more of an insider, in-the-know festival.”
Eppig Brewing was originally founded in 1866 in Brooklyn, New York by Leonhard Eppig, a Bavarian immigrant. Some 150 years later, his descendent Stephanie Eppig helped launch the North Park brewery with her husband Todd Warsaw, as well as brewers Clayton LeBlanc and Nate Stephens. Her German heritage and family brewing legacy inspired the brewery’s innovative takes on traditional beer styles. Those styles, coupled with their deep Bavarian roots, mean that attendees seeking a more “authentic” fest experience are likely to be satisfied with Frühlingsfest. Stephanie is optimistic about the reception.
“It’s guaranteed to be a damn good party,” she said.
Eppig Frühlingsfest and First Anniversary of the Waterfront Biergarten
When: Noon to 7 p.m. on Saturday, April 13
Where: 2817 Dickens St., Point Loma
Cost: Free (food and drink not included, extra costs for flower crown workshop)
Beth Demmon is a San Diego-based craft beer writer whose work has appeared in BeerAdvocate, Playboy, Thrillist, MUNCHIES, Tales of the Cocktail, and more. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.