Nearly seven years ago, I moved from the LA area to San Diego. I didn't really know much about San Diego going in, but it's been awesome so far. San Diego has awesome weather, beautiful beaches, some of the best food I've ever come across, and being from LA, I don't have to get stressed out about how much San Diego's sports teams suck (check your Dodger jokes at the door, please. Thank you.) And perhaps best of all (as I found out a few years ago when I discovered how awesome craft beer was), there may not be a better place to live if you love beer. San Diego breweries are world class, as evidenced by their thirty three beers currently sitting in beeradvocate.com's Top 250 Beers list. You read that right- 33. So you would think that I would have knocked all of those all off the list long ago. Ummm.....not quite.
As it turns out, just because a beer is brewed near you, that doesn't mean you're going to have an easy time finding it. Going into this past weekend, I had tried 26 of San Diego's 33 Top 250 beers. A few of these (AleSmith IPA and Stone's Oaked Arrogant Bastard being glaring examples) are beers I see on a daily basis, but I've just been slow to review. Others (like Alpine's Great and Lost Abbey's Duck Duck Gooze) are nearly impossible to find. And then there are the ones in the middle, like Lost Abbey's Cable Car.
Cable Car is an American Wild Ale brewed for my favorite bar in San Diego, Toronados by Lost Abbey. I've seen bottles in the bar for a while now, but at the price they go for (try $40+ per bottle) it's been a little hard for me to pull the trigger. Finally, Toronados sent out an email saying that they were getting a keg of Cable Car in for their 5th Anniversary celebration this past weekend. Problem solved! At #51, here's Cable Car.
Cable Car pours a hazed dark apricot color with pretty much no head. The smell alone is probably worth the price of admission, with huge notes of juicy red delicious and tart green apple jumping out of the glass immediately. Vanilla, lemon curd and cherry pie filling could be found in there as well a little deeper.There's a pretty good amount of acidity as well, but it isn't so huge that it detracts from the other smells.
The taste opens on a big sour note (think lemon Warhead sour) and it is awesome. Layers of green apple and tart red cherry follow with just a touch of funk mingled in. The finish leaves just a touch of dryness and ends on a great acidic note. Tight, prickly carbonation holds the flavors in here together nearly perfectly.
I'm really glad I finally got to try this one. Holding out for a keg of it wasn't easy, but it was definitely worth the wait. A very happy anniversary to Toronados and a big thank you to them for the chance to try this beer. Now to take care of the rest of those San Diego beers...
Final Grade: A+
Top 250 Beers Tasted: 121
I don't know how much you can see of this list, but it was epic.