It’s been a long road for one of local beer’s elder statesmen, but Vince Marsaglia (co-founder of Pizza Port and Port Brewing/The Lost Abbey) is just about ready to open the doors to Julian Beer Co. It will be his second time debuting a new concept at 2315 Main Street in the mountain town of Julian. In 2012, he opened a barbecue restaurant there, which was named after the historic Bailey House he and ex-partner Tom Nickel (now owner of fellow Julian brewing interest, Nickel Beer Co.) took ownership of. In doing so, they installed brewing equipment on-site to produce ales under the Julian Brewing brand. Four years later, that business was closed down and Marsaglia went about renovating and refining the brewpub. He had hoped to reopen as soon as September 2016, but the project took on a life of its own and now it will debut on Wednesday, July 4.
Much of the renovation was a family affair with Vince, his sons and brewer Matthew Pittman pooling their energy and elbow grease. A great deal of both were required due mostly to the advanced age of the property, which consists of the 149-year-old Bailey house, a barn and the 30-year-old main restaurant structure. According to Marsaglia, they all needed “serious work,” including demolition, repainting, installation of new plumbing, electrical, seating, and more. Additionally, contractors were hired to construct a cold-box connecting the bars in the kitchen and barn. The brewhouse was also upgraded to a five-barrel Premier Stainless system.
While the name “Bailey Wood-Pit BBQ” has been retired, elements of the venue’s barbecue program remain as part of a broader array of culinary offerings. This required redesign and refurbishment of the kitchen. Now that space is poised to put out traditional barbecue augmented by a lineup of “mountain pies” — pizzas as traditional as Margherita, meatball or Hawaiian (dubbed a Kona Pie) — or as modern as barbecue brisket and pulled pork (The Bailey) or goat cheese with smoked walnuts. There are also salads, a variety of sandwiches (hot pastrami, BBQ bahn mi, poke sub), and starters that include smoky wings, house-cured bacon, and ribs. And, yes, there’s apple pie, which is brought in from nearby Apple Alley Bakery.
- McCoy Bros. | American Ale, 4.7% ABV
- Anatomical Blonde | German-style Pilsner, 5%
- La Morena Fina | Barrel-aged Double Brown Ale, 8.3%
- Hillside Rendezvous | Saison with Sage, Rosemary & Cedar, 7.1%
- Jaz | Barrel-aged Saison with Cherries, 5%
- Fender’s | Barrel-aged Belgian-style Dark Strong Ale, 11%
- Howl | Barrel-aged Stout, 6%
- The Lonely Pioneer | IPA, 6.6%
- Five Oaks | Amber Ale, 6.1%
- JHBA | IPA, 6.6%
A 5.9% hoppy red rye ale, 7.1% nitro stout and 4.8% spiced apple lager will also be available. Ingredients for the latter as well as Hillside Rendezvous were sourced locally, as are other ingredients procured from nearby farmers such as Star B Ranch and Hop Farm and Julian Ciderworks. Certain items are also grown on the business’ one-acre hillside (which can be rented for private events).
Pittman is also in charge of Julian Beer’s live-music program, which will be geared toward fans of bluegrass and acoustic stylings. The wooden floors and barn framing create a good setting for that type of music. Pittman also hopes to set one night per month aside for “late and loud” full-band shows.
Julian Beer Co. will be open 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Thursday, and 10:30 a.m. to midnight, Fridays and Saturdays. A grand-opening event is being planned, and will most likely take place in August.