There are many lists and tours of fine breweries on Hops Highway 78 to the west of San Diego, but you can find an equally impressive tasting tour on a drive to the east. Head toward the old gold town of Julian, CA, nestled in the Cuyamaca Mountains. In July, the Sip of Julian celebrates not only Julian Breweries but also local wine, mead, and cider – it’s a must if you’re a fan of Julian and the San Diego Backcountry. Here are the highlights of a drive to the east and a few places to stop on the way back.
Smoking Cannon Brewery. 780 Main Street, Ramona. 760-407-7557.
Ramona, CA is new to the brewery scene, receiving it’s first local brewery in 2014 when ChuckAlek set up shop. Smoking Cannon is the second independent brewery to open in Ramona. Located in an old car dealership in Ramona, Smoking Cannon is known for unique, English and American inspired brews like Smoked Peanut Butter Ale. You’ll find live music and civil war era attire – sure to set this brewery apart. They serve a rotating selection of IPAs and Ales, and seasonal brews with flavors like pumpkin and pecan. Rotating beers are named after civil war cannons and seasonals have civil war relic monikers. Nitro coffee, ginger soda, and root beer are also on tap.
Julian Beer Company. 2307 Main Street, Julian. 760-765-3757.
Open every day, the Julian Beer Company serves up BBQ and pizza alongside half a dozen beers on tap. Beers range from a German Style Pilsner to IPAS and Saisons. Julian Beer Co. is a great spot for couples and families, it’s pet friendly and has lawn and board games, root beer floats for the kids, live music and excellent walkability for the surrounding town of Juian. Julian Beer Co’s beer is brewed next door in a six-barrel brewhouse. The brewhouse is located in the Bailey House, built in 1876. It is the former home of Drury D. Bailey, founder of Julian.
Nickel Beer. 1485 Hollow Glen Road, Julian. 760-765-BEER.
Tom and Lindsey Nickel founded Nickel Beer in 2013. Tom has been brewing beer since he was 18 and was the 2004 World Beer Small Cup Brewing Company Brewmaster. The 16 taps at Nickel pour ales, beer/cider hybrids, IPAs, Porters and Stouts. They serve unique wet hops beer in the fall. Nickel Beer often raises money for veterans. Sales of a special brew called Warrior Contribution raises money for the Inner North Star PTSD retreat center. Nickel is open every day and is pet friendly.
The Cooler. 4466 Highway 78, Julian. No Phone.
This huge 1940’s style Coleman Cooler sits at the end of Hops Highway in Julian. The big silver rectangle is a tap and tasting room for some of the best beer on the Highway. The Cooler serves hard Kombucha on tap, and food is available at nearby restaurants. You’ll find live music like bluegrass and events like Thirsty Thursday and sip & painting. The Cooler is closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. There’s also a dog-friendly patio.
Julian Hard Cider. 4470 Julian Road, Julian. 619-997-4560.
Located in Julian Station along with The Cooler and The Julian Beer Company, Julian Hard Cider serves ten flavors of cider in the Miner’s Saloon tasting room. Julian’s cider is made with local and regional fruit using a recipe from 1670. They use no sugar or concentrates. Apple Pie Hard Cider is a local favorite. The Miner’s Saloon is open Wednesday through Sunday and often features live music.
After exploring the Julian Breweries, why not stay a night in one of the many B&Bs and enjoy the next day hiking or wine tasting. For a longer stay, check out the local San Diego County AirBnBs.
Julian is more than just breweries and sightseeing. Come back to see us and consider staying a little longer, finding an investment property or moving here. Red Hawk Realty can help you explore real estate in Julian or the San Diego backcountry.