Towering oak and pine trees fill the foothills of the Cuyamaca Mountains, padded with grass meadows and speckled by long-serving apple orchards that lead into the hamlet of Julian, California. Time seems slower in a town legendary for rowdy gold mining history and apple pie, despite its location just an hour northeast of San Diego. This setting set the stage for Paul Thomas to fall in love with cider, to scrump apples for local orchards and eventually start his own cidery named for his hometown: Julian Hard Cider.
Unable to fill the demand for his cider with local apples and committed to fresh-pressed juice, Thomas teamed up with an orcharding friend in northeast Oregon to supply juice for his ciders. But, according to Julian’s website, change is on the horizon: the cidery has secured two facilities and an orchard to allow Julian year-round production in the namesake town.
A summer seasonal for the maker, the Pearanormal pear cider is built on the bill of fresh-pressed Pacific Northwest apples, steeped in mint leaves and blended with pear and lime juices. A tamer — and more fruit-forward — apple-take on a mojito, this cider is juicy, fresh in sweet herbs and zesty in the citrus, finishing semi-sweet yet surprisingly refreshing. Take on a boat/to a park/in the sun immediately.