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Back in July, I reported that the business partners behind Julian’s The Bailey Wood-Pit BBQ (2307 Main Street) had decided to part ways, leaving Vince and Gina Marsaglia, who also own San Diego County’s Pizza Port chain, solely in charge. At the time, I speculated as to whether or not the brewery component of the business, Julian Brewing Company, would still factor into the equation given all of the pre-split brewing had been done by former partner Tom Nickel.

Julian Brewing Company is carrying on with another at the helm. This isn’t surprising considering Pizza Port’s vast brewing resources. The company has three brewpubs in Carlsbad, Solana Beach, and Ocean Beach, and a fourth Bressi Ranch-sited combination brewpub and production facility in the works, plus a San Marcos-based production facility for their Port Brewing and The Lost Abbey lines of bottled beers. So, sparing a brewer is no sweat.

The individual selected for a tour of duty in apple country is Pizza Port operations manager Mike Gabbard, who has been with the company since the late-nineties. As the general manager and brewer for JBC, he is producing a line of beers designed to be “gateway” offerings. In the craft beer community, gateway beers are defined as ales and lagers that, due to their light-drinking nature and resemblance to beers produced by macro-breweries (American adjunct lagers, wheat beers, easier-drinking amber ales, etc.), appeal to consumers fond of or simply only familiar with Bud, Coors, Miller and their offshoot factions. They are built to ease drinkers into a craft beer state of mind and palate. Key local examples include Ballast Point Pale Ale, Coronado Golden, and Karl Strauss Amber Lager.

Julian Brewing Company’s gateway beers include Julian Apple Wheat, a fruity, low-alcohol brew infused with local apple cider from Apple Lane Orchard. Also on tap at present is Freshy 412, a fresh hop IPA that offers something bolder, though not as bold as most West Coast India pale ales. Also on the way are an American pale ale dry-hopped with Cascade hops from Ramona’s Star B Ranch, and a Märzen (a refreshing Germanic lager). These seem very intelligent choices given Julian’s reputation as “Coors Light country.”

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