Meet Clayton LeBlanc: Head Brewer of Eppig Brewing
We first met Clayton LeBlanc a few months ago during one of our first visits to Eppig Brewing. We were lucky to get the opportunity to spend some time learning more about him and this amazing new brewery that has quickly made a name for itself in San Diego. As part of the Brewery Ignitor North Park, Eppig shares its walls with two other San Diego breweries. Get to know more about Clayton, Eppig Brewing, and what’s next for them below!
How did Epigg Brewing come to be?
Nathan and I were brewers at Ballast Point. Through a mutual friend we were introduced to Todd Warshaw and Stephanie Eppig. She told us the amazing story of her ancestors owning breweries in Brooklyn, NY from the 1860’s through the 1930’s. We thought continuing that tradition was a great place to start for a rebirth of a brewery here in San Diego.
What’s the dynamic like with Pariah & San Diego Brewing right next door?
It works really well for the customers and us. The customers get to take a brewery tour of three breweries right in one building. Each brewery is so different in the styles they make and personality of each brewery. Its nice to have neighbors who understand the sights and smells of brewing and we can all bounce ideas of each other.
What is your favorite style of beer to brew? What’s your favorite brew at Eppig?
Brewing is roughly the same from beer to beer, but I get excited when we brew a new beer because of the anticipation of tasting it. It is tough to pick a favorite because of all the different styles. Each beer suits a different mood, or weather condition. Overall though, if I had to pick a beer to be stranded on a desert island with it would be Festbier. I think its perfectly balanced, not too sweet, refreshing with flavor and body. It reminds me of a warm summer day with friends in a beer garden.
If you could collaborate with any other brewer or brewery, who would it be and why?
I’d love to brew a beer at Schlenkerla, in Bamberg Germany. They are the best at making rauchbier and I love their variants. Anytime you can visit a traditional or historic brewery you can learn from the processes they’ve employed over many years.
How long have you been brewing? What got you interested in being a brewer?
I have been brewing professionally since 2013. In 2012, I started at Ballast Point on the bottling line and moved through the various cellar jobs trying to learn as much as possible from the great team there. I had fallen in love with beer over my stint as a bartender at Karl Strauss. That is where I developed the idea of starting a brewery. I think there were maybe 10 brewing companies in SD back then.
What advice would you give to those who are looking to become a Brewer?
If you are interested being a professional brewer I recommend getting a job and learning everything you can from an established brewery. You can learn from their growing pains and gain experience from all the things that break and can go wrong.
What’s your favorite memory/experience since you’ve started brewing?
Drinking Eppig beer at my favorite bar. Followed closely by the daily recognition that I love what I do, and know I’m living my dream.
Is there anything coming up with Eppig that you’re excited about and able to share?
We are about to open an amazing Waterfront Biergarten in Point Loma, right next to Mitch’s and Point Loma Seafoods. It has almost 3,000 sq ft of patio space right on the water overlooking a marina with a straight view of downtown. Hopefully open to the public in the next several weeks.
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