Julian Hard Cider

Outside of Julian off the 78 right before you hit the curve in Wynola Junction, tucked inside the Wynola Farms Marketplace you will find the tasting room for Julian Hard Cider, apples done the way they should be. 

Cider was the true American drink of choice before the prohibition and German beer taking over. As bathtub gin was being brewed and whiskey was distilled for the heavy drinkers, the every day drinker drank apple cider. In many instances it was actually safer (and tastier) to drink apple cider compared to the local water.

Nowadays, very few micro-breweries have taken on the tradition and task of brewing hard ciders. Most on the market are heavy on the sugar, while Julian Hard Cider has a dry and tangy taste. Currently the apples used in the cider are based out of Oregon, but starting the fall some recipes will include Julian apples… but not all. With three years of hard work and four months of being on the market, owner Paul Thomas and buddies brewed some cider, opened the saloon-style tasting room and got a huge distribution deal with none other than Stone Brewing Co. They will need to keep using those Oregon apples to keep up with their growing distribution because it will be hitting bars everywhere.

The folks at Julian Hard Cider really are American to the Core… true to their love of history, good beer, local investment, oh and also happen to be members of American Legion. I really need to give extra special thanks to Paul, Denise and Brad who made sure that I had an excellent tasting experience. I walked away with three bottles of Hard Cider, a key chain, a Julian bumper sticker and a t-shirt with one of the coolest logos I have seen since… I’m not even sure when.

Currently, Julian Hard Cider is on tap at The Local (downtown), The TapRoom (Pacific Beach), and Toronado (North Park) according to Tap Hunter… who are the best authority in San Diego, and 4 other major cities, of what beers are where. I also heard it was available at BevMo and Whole Foods now. Go out, try it! If you like it, tell your local bar to check into getting it on tap or in bottles.

Addtional note straight from Paul: During the harvest this year, I am going to invite our fans to one of our partner orchards and teach them how to make AMAZING hard cider on their own using local apples and inexpensive, basic equipment available in town. It will include lunch made from local farm ingredients, a great education and PLENTY of hard cider to enjoy.

What I Learned Today… green light means go green

San Diego has a green transportation company, of the car variety.

Bikes have been all the green rage. Pedal power to the max still can’t always get you where you need to be (unless combined with some unwieldly public transportation). TerraMoto offers another solution to move you with an environmentally conscious mind. They accomplish their goal by using hybrid vehicles, specifically Toyota Prius sedans and hybrid Toyota Highlanders.

After reading a bit about their company and the purpose behind it, I decided to give them a call to get a quote to find out how much TerraMoto actually charges for a trip to the airport, knowing a ride in a yellow cab costs about $25 plus tip. My quote for that 15 minute (max) car trip is $50 from my house in North Park to the airport. Yep, even the non-math geeks know this is double the cost… but they did offer a $5 off for first time users and $10 off if I book round trip. The sweet, enthusiastic girl also shared they would match any “competitors” price. I didn’t go much into this, but surely they are talking about town cars specifically… not the dingy shuttles or taxis they claim on their website as competition.

It is cool to know this exists, but I wish they were true to their roots. There was a need and they filled it but at what expense. Well, not their pockets… that is for sure.


Today’s learnings bore from San Diego GreenDrinks, a group of individuals interested in and/or working on improving the environment, thinking green, and who like to network and socialize once a month. Invited almost 3 years ago by some of my camp industry friends, I am sad to say, I have not made it a priority to attend any of these gatherings… although, I still would love to even though I left camping years ago. The next Green Drinks event is this Thursday, July 15th, 6-9PM at the Chula Vista Nature Center.

Oh yeah, TerraMoto is offering $10-$20 rides (depending on where you live) from the event to discourage drunk driving. Moved me to call. Nice work.

What I Learned Today… Bird Park

Bird Park is actually shaped like a bird.

Heading home from a neighborhood filled day…

The morning was spent at the Miller’s house on 32nd and Redwood for their 5th annual fundraiser, Alex’s Lemonade Stand with FM94.9 broadcasting, live music, silent auctions and Storm Troopers. After a much-needed family nap, we took the wagon over to Bird Park on 28th and Pershing for their annual summer concert series to see Billy Lee and the Swamp Critters.  

… we stumbled across this painting on the side of one of the utility boxes. Roger was the one who actually identified it as being a map or an early concept of the park. We have been to Bird Park many times to watch friends play football, let the kid run and watch concerts, but we never noticed this painting before.  

The park always seemed oddly shaped to me with a winding pathway, plants in seemingly strange places and a random sitting area in the shape of a circle (which I now understand is the eye). So in addition to the names of the various birds spotted in North Park stamped in the concrete along the walkway, here is an additional reason the park is  for the birds.

You can see for yourself from this google map photo or by taking a walk in the park, that the plan didn’t completely shake out in terms of landscaping, but what project ever does? If you are ever feeling in the mood for some guerilla gardening, finishing the feet would be an awesome surprise.

Skate down memory lane

San Diego native blood runs through my heart, so each time I hear of a childhood hangout going under, my heart is torn. Next on that growing list of sob stories is Skateworld in Linda Vista.

I grew up skating here and at Aquarius in La Mesa where the large Ford dealer currently resides. Nervously asking the boy across the rink you’ve been trying to show off for to take your hand for couples skate to “It Takes Two” by Rob Base and strutting my own skating skills on my rented quads to “Jam On It” by Newcleus. Monty, the Charger loving DJ provided the soundtrack to my youth while Harry quietly fixed my skates over the counter and owner, Gary Stang taught me a thing or to about skating and his son, Brett always wowed the rink with his jam skating abilities. A strange, dysfunctional family… but a family none-the-less. 

Skateworld is the last skate rink in San Diego, with earlier departures over the decades including Palisade Gardens (North Park), Aquarius (La Mesa), Roller Skateland (Santee), Ups and Downs (Escondido), among others.

The Reader shares the story of the recent vote to by the San Diego Redevelopment Agency to approve a negotiation agreement on June 15 with a development company for the agency-owned property.

From what I know, Gary did try to buy the property on several occasions. I’m not sure how much he offered or how hard he tried, but I know if the city had plans, then no amount of money could have dissuaded the decision. Please take a few moments to sign this online petition. I’m not sure if it will help, but it sure beats doing nothing.

The loss of this “community center” is truly tragic. I know that a collaboration with the city would never work with the pure business minded personality of Gary; but, since roller skating is all Gary (and his son who was supposed to take over the family business one day) knows I hope that he doesn’t give up on creating a space for people to skate. I was really hoping that one day Thomas would be cruising on quads to “More Bounce to the Ounce” by Zapp & Roger.

Free Music San Diego, not forgotten

In the middle of the night I realized I omitted a pretty major opportunity for free music in the last post: In Store Preformances. Several record stores in town host a variety of musicians both local and those that pass through San Diego to promote their records. Here are the places that I know that have performances on a semi-regular basis. Be sure to check their websites/schedules for upcoming acts.

M-Theory Music
Lou’s Records
Borders Books and Music

Saturday April 17, 2010 is National Record Store Day (always on the thrid Saturday in April)! So make sure you take the time to visit and support your local record stores.
Oh and as a bonus, these places are all-ages. I realized that my last post highlighted bars but no all ages venues (except the fairs, festivals, and summer concert series). I tried to find coffeehouses with regular free music, but found most charge some sort of cover or don’t offer much in terms of live music aside from an open mic night.