Be in the know: what’s pouring, what’s happening, what’s UP

With the changing of the seasons, we bid farewell to summer and embrace new flavors, groundbreaking collaborations, and a ton of exciting developments for Newtopia cyder lovers everywhere. It’s harvest season and the crew at Newtopia has been working hard off-site, hand-picking apples, hops and other local produce directly from orchards to bring you the best autumn cyder experience. Apple by apple, pint by pint – we’ve got fall on lock here at Newtopia.

Newtopia family in the San Diego apple capital, Julian.

What’s the Scoop?

  Apple Harvest Season is in full swing from September through March – The Newtopia tribe is scouring orchards near and far in order to showcase different single and blended varietals of apples and pears used for cider.  The crew started out the harvest season up in the land of So-Cal wine country, Temecula, where Rick, Ryan and Royce sourced local Bartlett pears from J&M Farms.  The farm, nestled in a micro-climate region deep in the Temecula mountains, is owned and operated by Jim Wainer, a retired California border patrol officer, who has taken over his family orchard estate.  

Of specific interest to the cidermakers of Newtopia was the Williams Pear, otherwise known in the United States as the Bartlett Pear.

A little background on this storied fruit: the Williams Pear is thought to date from 1765 to 1770 from a schoolyard in England, which was under the authority of a headmaster named Mr. John Stair, resulting in the now-defunct names ‘Aldermaston’ pear and ‘Stairs’ pear.  A tree nursery worker known as Williams later acquired the variety, and after bringing it to the rest of England, the pear was simply called the Williams Pear.  But the story doesn’t end there.

In 1799, James Carter imported several Williams trees into the U.S., and they were planted on the grounds of Thomas Brewer who owned an estate in Roxbury, Massachusetts.  The Massachusetts estate was later bought by Enoch Bartlett of Dorchester, Massachusetts. Unaware of pear’s history Bartlett named the fruit after himself and introduced the variety to the rest of the United States.

“The Hidden Secret” Apple Harvest – Tucked away in the mountains of Julian, the Newtopia tribe worked with an orchardist who specializes in and cultivates traditional cider apples on his property.  Touring the 7-acre orchard gave both parties the ability to smell and taste each apple to discover which varieties would shine brightest in upcoming fall and winter cyders.  

Choosing the Golden Delicious for a single varietal cyder was an easy choice considering the fruity, light tannic flavor.  This will be a commemorative batch paying homage to our local Southern California apples.

“The Sonoma Style” Apple Harvest – The cellarmen and ciderists of Newtopia had a chance to take a 3-day trip venturing along the coast of Northern California in search for the Gravenstein apple.  The destination? A 6-generation family orchard in Sonoma located on 175 acres with 55 different apple varieties that are harvested from August through November.   Two distinct apples were picked during this trip: Gravenstein and Jonathan.

The Gravenstein is characterized by a crisp, refreshing flavor with a nice tannic quality giving the drinker a perfect balance between tart and dry.  The Jonathan, on the other hand, is a classic American variety and is widely regarded as one of the best-flavored apples with a sweet/sharp balance. It’s known to be a highly productive tree in US apple-growing regions.

Barrel Aging Program Expansion –  Newtopia Cyder has brought on board local cider enthusiast Zeke Peyton as the Director of Barrel Aging to kick-off all Heritage Cyder releases.  Zeke brings a plethora of barrel aging experience from Cellar 3 and packaging experience from Modern Times Beer Company. Welcome to the team, Zeke!


The Homebrewer – Head Brewer Jacob Bauch and Newtopia’s Master Cyderist Rick Moreno join forces to blend modern cider with beer. The collaboration kicked off in September.  The Homebrewer will be hosting all QUAFF members and cider fans at their local North Park tasting room. The two brewers concocted an Apple Cyder Gose in 3 different ways with the culinary Granny Smith Apple.  The reverse collaboration will be held at Newtopia’s Showcase Room in Scripps Ranch… Stay tuned for details!

Pure Project – Head Brewer Winslow Sawyer and Head Cyderist Rick Moreno unite together to make San Diego’s 1st Winter Wanderlust Seasonal. A local Julian orchard was used to harvest 2 tons of Golden Delicious apples to blend into an Apple Amber Barley Wine that will be spiced with cinnamon and other winteresque flavors. The “AfterMath” will consist of Newtopia’s own version of the reverse recipe of an Apple Amber Cinnamon Cyder.

Pariah Brewing Co. – Head Brewer/Owner Brian Mitchell and Head Cyderist Rick Moreno played around and brainstormed while tasting different blends of hops and unfiltered apple juice before making the collaborative decision to make their collab project hoppy!

Pariah has been getting a ton of requests for a lager… so the final product will be something like this: a 6% Czech pilsner with Vienna malt for toasty goodness and dried apple slices added to the mash. The last step will be adding Newtopia’s private blend just after the boil so that it marries the beer and cyder at both phases. Come taste! Johnny Apply Saaz with Saaz Hops.

Upcoming Winter Releases

  •         Gravenstein Single Varietal
  •         Golden Delicious Single Varietal
  •         Jonathan Single Varietal
  •         Barrel Aged Whiskey Cyder with Dark Horse Coffee, cinnamon, and clove
  •         Barrel Aged Rum Cyder with Cutwater Barrels
  •         Wild Blueberry Mulled Cyder with allspice, cardamom, ginger, vanilla bean