This post is Part 4 in a series:
Returning from our desert wildflower hunt, we decided, somewhat spontaneously, to stop for some hard cider. Carrie had heard about a tasting room in the area called Julian Hard Cider. Conveniently, it was on the route home. Lately, we have been perusing hard ciders and enjoying the explosion of varieties that come along with the craft beer revolution.
Located within an old apple packing facility with a few other small businesses, Julian Hard Cider’s Miner’s Saloon tasting room is part of Julian Station. It lies on the main road in the small town of Wynola just 4 miles west of Julian, California on highway 79 in the foothills northeast of San Diego. The grounds have plenty of space for the BBQ’s and live music events that are hosted on weekends. Inside you’ll find a clothing retailer, a small mead tasting room, a game room and a few other art and antique shops.
The primary draw here are the tasting rooms. And chief among them is Julian Hard Cider’s large Miner’s Saloon. With an old player piano, a fireplace, large booth tables for a spirited conversation with friends over a few pints and era-accurate decor, the place pays homage to its gold miner roots. We claimed our stake at the large L-shaped bar and ordered up a flight of samples…11 tastings altogether! Clearly, we were going to need some food to help wash down the cider! Luckily Mr. Manitas Taco Bar & Fruteria were right next door. Mr. Manitas sources its grass-fed beef, organic chicken, and local pastured pork and are famous for their nachos with all the fixings, but we opted for the street tacos. The folks at the saloon were kind enough to allow us to enjoy our street tacos in the saloon with our cider flight. The tacos were delicious! The marinated meat was melt-in-your-mouth incredible! Each taco was topped with fresh tomato, cilantro, and cotija cheese with wedges of fresh lime to garnish. After a tough day on the dry trail, those tacos really hit the spot!
The cider flight presented an array of flavors. There were very sweet apple ciders like their signature Apple Pie, and very dry apple ciders that tasted much like champagne. We also sampled ciders based on pear, blackberry, blueberry, raspberry and cherry juices. Their flavors were each unique and their bright, clear colorings ranged from beautiful gold, to orange, red and purple tones. Carrie’s favorite was the Pearanormal cider. This dry, apple-based cider is infused with mint and lime and blended with pear juice. My favorites were the very fruity and tart Razzmatazz, the perfect blend of apple and raspberries, and Cherry Bomb with a nice balance between the sweet and tart flavors.
After sampling the round and picking favorites we each purchased a growler of our choice and headed home to enjoy!
What is your adult beverage of choice? In the comments below, tell me about a time you tried the local beverage during your travels.