Craft world welcomes cider to town

If you are looking for the next renaissance in the craft movement, search no further than the rising tide of cider producers opening in San Diego. With Twisted Horn in Vista and at least five more opening in 2017, cider is the new black. Enter: Newtopia Cyder, the first official cidery in the City of San Diego, set to soft open on January 21. With four core offerings (Belgian, Wyld, Semi-Sweet and India Pale Cyder (IPC), and a lineup of specialty releases, Newtopia Cyder ushers in a new wave of craft drinking.

PACIFIC recently chatted with the amiable husband and wife duo Rick Moreno and Jennifer Hays Moreno to get their thoughts on the Newtopia Cyder venture and the future of cider.

PACIFIC: In a city with so many craft breweries, why cider?
Jennifer Hays Moreno: I love wine, my husband loves beer, and we both love craft. Cider intermingles both worlds. We blend old world wine processes with new world beer ingredients.

“Craft cider is what craft beer was 10 years ago” -Rick Moreno, owner Newtopia Cyder

Did the number and success of craft breweries in San Diego factor into your decision?
Jennifer: 100 percent. If it wasn’t for craft beer, we would be nonexistent.

How do you think cider sets itself apart in the craft movement?
Rick Moreno: Cider makers who produce good ciders are able to be a vintner and select single varietal apples, and be a craft brewer. We have the ability to do both, it’s a fusion.

Where does the Newtopia name come from?
Rick: From Sir Isaac Newton and gravity. It’s a state of mind. We want to provide continuous improvement in society. With our Marionberry Cyder, we partnered with a farmer where we give a portion of proceeds back to the farmer to establish a scholarship for the orchard pickers’ children called, “Beyond the Core”.

What’s the story with the “cyder” spelling?
Rick: The “y” is Old English. We use an Old English yeast for our limited releases and modern seasonals.

How did you get into cider?
Rick: It runs in the family. My grandfather would make handcrafted apple cider vinegar. It fell into my lap, and came down through tradition.

Where do you get your apples?
Rick: We do private crushes with orchards, typically from the coast of Santa Cruz, Hood River and Yakima. We use Red Delicious, Honeycrisp, Gala, Ganny Smith (apples) and make a single varietal with Golden Russet that has a little more tannin, body and acidity.

What’s something unique visitors can experience when they come to Newtopia?
Rick: We pride ourselves an artful ambience that engages, educates, and inspires people to diversity their palates and open their minds. For example, we have a Belgian pineapple, and have a hanging tapestry from artist Liza Sylvestre that illustrates the botanicals that are in it. It takes you away from the hustle and bustle. That’s what people are looking for.

For the craft beer lovers reading this, tell me about your IPC?
Rick: It’s a champagne-like aromatic blend with Mosaic hops. It’s bitter and sweet, the hop and apple marry quite nicely. We also have a double IPC, with dry hopped Mosaic and Idaho 7 hops.

When do you open?
Jennifer: Our soft opening is January 21, our grand opening a few months later. That will give us time to work out any kinks and then we will have a big party.

Do you foresee more craft cider producers opening their doors in San Diego?
Rick: Yes! I immediately foresee 5 to 10 opening in 2017. All ships rise with the tide.

Newtopia Cyder: 10045 Carroll Canyon Road, Scripps Ranch, 858.926.4305. Find them on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @newtopiacyder.