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Cable Car - The Lost Abbey

Not Rated.
Cable CarCable Car

Educational use only; do not reuse.

214 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 214
Hads: 841
Avg: 4.48
pDev: 16.96%
Wants: 2,630
Gots: 88 | FT: 4
Brewed by:
The Lost Abbey visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Wild Ale |  7.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: stephendr on 08-12-2007

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 214 | Hads: 841
Photo of Arbitrator
2.2/5  rDev -50.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 1 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1

2010 vintage. Chilled bottle into a glass. Got a sample at the T23 party thanks to some generous BAs. From notes.

A: Pours a cloudy, pale straw body; it is well carbonated and maintains a solid cap.

S: Sulfurous eggs. This is comically bad. It is actually an offensive odor; there is no way I am going to give this a higher score in the smell department.

T: Vinegar, tart lemon, mild hay, oak. I pick up some tropical fruit as well. This is worlds better than the nose. A bit on the sweet side, and I'd like to see this funkier instead of being a straight sour, but it's still good.

M: Well-carbonated, effervescent. Goes down quite well. Foamy in the finish.

D: $40 for this beer is idiotic. If it were outstanding, I might consider paying it; but for a beer that is a misfire out of the gate and needs time to improve (if it even does), no.

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Photo of brdc
3.45/5  rDev -23%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

From notes. Thanks alcstradamus for the chance to try this one.

Colored somewhere between light brown and yellow, murky, but possibly due to transportation of the beer. Average sized head, off white, average retention although the successive pours were small to judge the retention.
Aroma is funky, leathery, cheesy, with some fruity and acidic notes as well as a buttery hint. Nice, not spectacular. Oak notes are modest.
Light to medium bodied, it again suffers from under carbonation. It is not flat like some of their other offerings, but it would be significantly better had a bit more carbonation been present.
Flavor is fruity, and funky; nice but again well short of spectacular. Dry for most of it, but not significantly sour/puckering/tart. It definitely lacks in that department. Yeasty notes are present as well.
This is a good, pleasant beer, but by no means worth the hype, or the price tag.
I was very glad and thankful for the opportunity, but solidifies my poor overall impression of Lost Abbey.

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Photo of SubpoenaDeuces
3.47/5  rDev -22.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Cable car Lost Abbey, 7.0% wild ale

A: Light pilsner color, mellow gold, a refined golden ambiance

S: strong sour geuze smell, crushed sweettarts and a melted fruitloops wafting

T: This beer is intimidating at first, strong smells and notes, but ultimately this is a calf that you can wrangle not without oppression. It is akin to mutton busting, something that seems difficult until you tackle the sheep, and pull its majestic fur to the ground. At its core, it is temptation with milder souring, lighter drying effects, less tanins in the grape aftertaste, and finally champagne crisp apple notes in the finish. Nothing you can't handle but an exceptional balance. It is the lovechild of gueuze and champagnes of the mild brut variety.

M: Fantastic, crisp and light, the entire experience has lemon zest and feels like a Hootie and the Blowfish Album. You can dispense this pellmell and no one will look askance. If not for the oppressive Toronado's standards, this could be something everyone could enjoy, if not for proprietary despotism. Not worth bootlegging, not worth epic trades. Just really good, but if you want to tread this road, there are more refined paths as smoothe as marble for your wanting cart.

D: Again, fantastic but competing in a league of legends. I would drink this all day, fixing my carburator, prepartying for the charity gala, snuff film exposition, you know, guy stuff. I find myself in a love hate resolution with this beer because I love what it is but I hate the air surrounding it. It feels like seeing a person with a TOOL shirt on. you love the syncopated rhythms and complex melodies, but you dislike the fanbase in general. The faux highbrow ruins what would be a fantastic experience.

Narrative: Sir Fredrick Willingsly is repossessing your car. You can't hate him for doing his job, but, without a 1998 civic DX, these pizzas arent going to deliver themselves. You hate him, with his cliche antagonistic handlebar moustache and fogged up monocle. However, his wry quips relating to Howards' End and class struggle made it all the sweeter. "And thence upon from which one has had, none shall take without" he declares with a cloud of aplomb that almost makes you lighthearted in his usurpation of your chief economic asset. He is akin to the Mr. peanut of recurring vengeance. your pocket despises him, yet you respect him for his casuistic enforcement of the law. "God speed Willingsly, dont scratch my sick mugen exhaust on the dip. Godspeed."

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Photo of sarro
3.47/5  rDev -22.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2010 vintage counter-pressure 15oz bottle from a keg--thanks Sean!
Pours a very hazy, dark yellow with a tiny head. On the nose I get peach, grape skin, vanilla and some oak. Initially, the taste is juicy midway through then drops off to a very tart finish. I also pick up tangerine, orange, and lemon zest. This one is very drinkable with little notice to 7% abv.
Despite the enjoyable tartness and light fruit flavors I was underwhelmed by this. I’ve heard the bottles taste better however so I’m looking forward to trying it another time.

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Photo of beertunes
3.58/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Thanks to the Tornado Seattle for opening this brew during a recent BA bottle share they hosted. Bright flavors and a crisp mouthfeel were the strong suits of this tasty treat. Maybe I'll splurge on a bottle of my own sometime!

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Photo of Devi0us
3.68/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2009 Vintage poured into a snifter. Shared this bottle at Toronado SF.

A- Pours a golden yellow wheat color. Had a 1 finger white head and good amounts lacing that chilled with us throughout the tasting.

S- Has a strong funky lemon scent. I'm not sure this is what it's supposed to smell like due to the fact that I drink darker brews.

T- Upon first sip, this BadBoy was sour. Made me wanna break some boards Bruce Lee Style. The sourness became more bearable the more I sipped and the more the beer warmed.

M- Medium bodied and smooth with the perfect amount of carbonation.
O- This reminds me alot like a shocktart. Makes your face pucker but you go back for more. The more I drink this, the better it taste. To me, this is definitely not worth the $40 pricetag. I'm glad to say I tried it but I won't be trying this again anytime soon.

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Photo of emmasdad
3.7/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a lightly hazy amber-brown color, with a good, white head. Funky and tart on the nose, lemon, citrus and aged leather. On the palate, a good sourness, with apples, citrus puckering wine. This one was tart and dry, with a prickly carbonation. Didn't think I'd have the opportunity to try this one, but I did, and I'm glad, though I have no intention of ever tracking a bottle down.

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Photo of tendermorsel
3.8/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had three 2 oz tastes of this beer at the Night of the Funk. Itwas the first beer I tried as I was real excited to try this rare beer before my palette was destroyed my the the onslaught of funky beers.

It was straw yellow with white fluffy head that dissipated very quickly. Typical wild ale smells. Barnyard smells and a crisp clean nose. Not as much Brett as I would have expected. The beer was pretty mellow and drinkable. A good American take on a blended wild ale.

I will say I did feel that I was a bit let down. It was good but it by no means blew me away. This may be a beer that is real over hyped IMHO. I can think of 4-5 Belgian Geuze that I would grab before this one that are much cheaper and readily available. Maybe this would improve with age??

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Photo of OlieIPA
3.82/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

2010 edition poured from a 750 ml bottle into a Cabernet glass.

A: Body exhibits a deep yellow hue, mild lacing, and a bold white fizzy head.

S: The nose is hit hard with a strong tartness at first, but then follows through with aromas similar to banana/tropical fruit. Wood becomes more noticeable as the beer begins to warm up.

T: The flavor profile is weaker/lighter than the smell indicated earlier. Definitely has that tart/sour kick you look for within this style, but is overbearing at times. So much that it applies a harsh character that masks some of the underlying flavors. Along with that, the oak is robust as well, perhaps too much.

M: Very light in body with ample amounts of carbonation.

D: Even with some of it's harsh qualities, this beer is quite enjoyable and goes down quite easily.

Overall: A very good "sour" for sure, just not sure if it's the best. I prefer "Duck Duck Gooze" and/or "Isabelle Proximus" over "Cable Car". A must try. Cheers!

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Photo of SportsandJorts
3.84/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: pours a nice golden orange color. a small white head with low retention and a small lacing. super hazy and nearly opaque.

Smell: vinegar, lemon acidity, white wine grapes, weak funkiness.

Taste: opens up with lemon, along with some other citruses floating in. white wine sweetness and grapes. some grainy to wheaty tastes in the middle. the end is strong on the vinegar and some funk.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied. sourness is there but never overpowering.

Overall: maybe I have odd taste in sour beers, but this one certainly doesn't blow me away. it tastes good is well done but I don't understand what sets this apart from hundreds of other sours.

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Photo of nickd717
3.85/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Batch 3 on tap at Toronado for 22nd anniversary. Also had Batch 2 out of the bottle at a Toronado Belgian-inspired beer dinner. I know this is blasphemous, but I consider this beer to be very overrated and only a little above average for an American Wild Ale. I think the rarity of it plays into the high ratings a bit.

A - Slightly hazy golden color with a white head and decent lacing.

S - Funky aroma with Brett, wood, and dry white wine.

T - Very sour and funky with lots of lemon, unripe white grapes, and barrel notes. Fairly one-dimensional in my opinion and does not really stand out above other beers in this style.

M - Soft carbonation, medium body with sharp sourness on the palate and a mouth-puckering finish.

D - Well, the sourness, while not too intense, gets to be a bit much in this case, and I don't think it's all that drinkable overall. Oh yeah, and it's way overpriced at $45 a bottle.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.86/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a clear yellow color ale with a nice white foamy head. Aroma of funky notes with clearly identifiable sour notes with some acidic notes also noticeable is quite intense. Taste is also dominated by funky notes with some sharp sour notes, quite a bit of acidity and a short finale. Body is about average with good carbonation. I get what they are trying to do and I also get why people enjoy this but in my opinion while this is a great beer there is a lack of balance and too much acidity in the end.

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Photo of DavoleBomb
3.87/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle at Toronado, SF. 2010 vintage. Poured into a tulip.

3.5 A: First pour was a surprisingly clear darker yellow color. Two and a half fingers of light, frothy white head. Retention isn't too impressive and only some spotty lacing.

4.0 S: Good mix of fruity sweet and sour. Lots of tangy lactic acid with maybe a touch of acetic acid. A lot of oak and a good bit of vanilla, but only slightly tannic. Quite fruity like sweet tarts. I've heard this used for DDG, but it seems to be appropriate here as well. Wild apple, lemon, generic berry, and perhaps some peach.

4.0 T: Like the nose - a good mix of fruity and sour. Again the lactic acid is dominant with just barely any hints of acetic, though overall this is far from mouth puckering. Lemon, peach, sour green apple, and lemongrass. Again a good bit of oak and vanilla with a low tannic astringency.

4.0 M: Lighter medium body. Despite LA's reputation, this is fully carbonated and perhaps a bit too much so. Good creaminess and certainly smooth.

3.5 D: Good beer, but it isn't as impressive (at least not this vintage) as the reputation suggests. However, if nothing else, it is well balanced and highly drinkable. Good value for $20, barely acceptable for $30, but $40 is far too much after the novelty is achieved.

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Photo of AleWatcher
3.88/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed from notes-- still trying to get caught up!
served in a tulip.
drewba and khazaduhm brought this bottle.

pale gold. Big bubble white head. Thick head made of big bubbles.

Really dry and funky. Some hay and horse blanket with a hint of leather.
The nose is nice, the taste is really good. It is really dry, which I like. Some soft light fruit notes come through before a wallop of tart sourness cleans it up on the back end.

The body is good, light and airy but possibly a bit overcarbed.

This is good. I'd love to drink another bottle or two of this beer-- but I wouldn't want to be the one to trade for them!

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Photo of fiver29
3.92/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Tasted at Cleveland tasting on 8-23-08. Thanks!! Batch 2 was poured with a golden color and thin white head. Has a slight funk aroma, some citrus, and some spice. Has a medium body. Taste is tart, some fruits, and has a sweet sour finish on the back end. Overall I was expecting more from this beer. Considering the hype around it I found it did not live up to the hype. Its a solid brew, just not worth the ratings it gets here. And I wasn't the only one with those sentiments.

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Photo of paytoplay
3.95/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

08 and 09 sampled side by side toro sd during sdbw. 09 was better in almost every facet. Funk, sour, mouthfeel and complexity. a step below something like DDG. both had similar color, mouthfeel ect. 09 just smelled and tasted funkier. Very cool to try and both vintages to boot. Horse blanket, some citrus, wheat, and nice brett ect flavors. 08 was just flat in flavor and funk, maybe more mellowed. hadn't had 08 when it was 1st released so maybe on release it was like the 09 this nite. would say hold 08's if in bottle for a later date for the funk to develop with more time.

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Photo of domtronzero
3.96/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2010 vintage. Purchased at Toronado SD.

A - Very lightly hazy golden yellow colored. Big, white, long lasting head with tons of lacing. Very effervescent in appearance.

S - Tart, citrusy up front with a moderate fruity/funky aroma. Bready malts and light sulfuric aroma. Much lighter than when it was initially released last year.

F/M - Bready sweet pilsner-like malts with citrusy esters and a big, clean, lactic tart flavor. Very light sulfur. Medium bodied with moderately high carbonation. Light, prickly mouthfeel.

O - Pretty good, but not as good as previous vintages. Still an excellent wild ale, and worth seeking out.

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Photo of SpeedwayJim
3.98/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2010 Vintage reviewed at Toronado's San Diego. 750ml bottle poured into 4 wine glasses. Shared with schen9303, capra12, and Christine.

A: Pours a fluffy, semi-coarse .5 finger head white head with great retention. Beer is a semi-clear light orange-ruby red. Lacing is minimal and with little stick.

S: Nose is funky with a slight Brett in the back. Notes of lemon rind, citrus, and tartness. Fruitiness is apparent and aromatic and sweet. Lacto and Brett hides behind.

T: Opens with a nice tartness and sweetness. Very fruity. Hints of lemon, unripened peach, and citrus makes this one very fruity towards the middle. Tartness comes back towards the end before finishing dry with a slight Bretty funk. Aftertaste is near non-existant.

M: Light bodied and well carbonated. Lively and coarse in the mouth. Bubbles invigorate the palate. Finish is dry with near no aftertaste.

D: Hugely dirnkable. Very balanced in every way. Tartness is present but not overwhelming and this is one of the fruitiest AWAs that I've had in a while. 7% is not high but alcohol seems nearly non-existant here. Never thought I'd say this but... worth the price!

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Photo of rowingbrewer
3.99/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Bottle was hard to open and barely a sound as the cork came out. Barely any head was produced as it poured. The smell is sharply acidic with not to much funk and hints of apple. Flavor follows suit with a lot of acidity but not to much else going on. The mouthfeel is low carbonation highly puckering. Overall this is a very tasty sour just kind of one dimensional and under carbed, not worth what a lot if people trade.

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Photo of stephendr
4/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On draft at Toronado’s B-day - color of hazy mango, with a thin eggshell colored head - nose of apricots, sourness, cobwebs, slight sweetness, and dry– taste of apricots, sour, tart cherries, and slight cobwebs - body is medium, dry, and with medium to high carbonation – aftertaste of dried apricots, tart, dry, and gummy

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Photo of Hojaminbag
4.02/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Cable Car has light golden colored body with about a finger of fizzy white head. The head disappears completely, leaving behind nothing to show that it was ever there at all.

The aroma has lots of light fruits; peaches and apricots come to mind. Also a good bit of sourness and some musty, funkiness.

Cable Car is more sour than average, but it is not a tongue-attacked sour bomb by any means. The first flavors I notice are the solid amount of tartness that comes a long with a bunch of fruity notes. Once again I notice peaches and apricots, but also some generic light fruits to back those flavors up. Next a slight brett-like horse-blanket flavor that is noticeable but not as powerful as either the sourness or the fruit. After that a hint of wood and some white wine vinegar-like flavors appear for just a second.

I would probably like to see a little more carbonation in the mouthfeel, but it isn't too bad as it is.

Interesting and complex, Cable Car is a pretty good Wild Ale that doesn't leave your tongue feeling like it took a beating, but maintains a lot of sourness. With that said, I really wouldn't pay forty bucks at Toronado for a bottle. Well, if I could go back in time I wouldn't anyway.

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Photo of hoppymcgee
4.03/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

50th review! Thanks to Mike for splitting this with a couple good friends. Poured from an '08 vintage 750mL bottle into a Bruery tulip glass.

A: Ring of carbonation glows around the inner glass, light golden with a touch of caramel color, and hazy.

S: Apricots and lemons - and that's all you need. The smell intensifies as the beer warms up to room temp.

T: The perfect blend of fruitiness and funk. Wet hay, sourness, and hints of tangerine combine to create a tangy taste.

M: Smooth carbonation; light and tingly feeling hits the tongue and then the whole mouth.

D: Easygoing; not too funky or sour. I could drink plenty of this.

Overall, I found this to be right in the middle of Isabelle Proximus (funky) and DDG (fruity). I'd like to think of this beer as the definition of a sour.

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Photo of glazeman
4.03/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle at Toronado in San Diego

A: The beer pours a straw yellow color and is quite hazy. The head is fluffy white and about ¾ of a finger in size. Throughout the drink there was good head retention and nice lacing.

S: The smell was of chalky lemons with just a hint of wood/nuttiness

T: There’s a fair bit of lemons, sour, but not as much funk/earthiness as in many other wild ales. The flavor is not overwhelming by any means and has some oakiness and yeastiness up front.

M: The finish on this beer was balanced, enjoyable, and lingering. The carbonation was appropriate, as was the viscosity.

O: I was glad to have tried this, but given the exclusivity and price tag, probably won’t search it out again. It was good, but better, similar beers can be found much more easily.

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Photo of oline73
4.05/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2008 bottle opened at our Lost Abbey tasting. Poured into a tasting snifter.

Appearance: Pours a clear amber color with a golden hue. The is a small amount of off white head.

Smell: A slight tartness with some lemon and a mildly herbal funk. There is more sweetness here than I expected.

Taste: A tartness that reminds me of lemon juice with some vinegar in there as well. Slightly bitter, I'm getting some aged hops. The finish is light and sour.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with tingly carbonation and a touch of dryness in the finish.

Overall: This is a very good beer, but it was missing that wow factor for me. Still quite nice and I wouldn't turn down more.

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Photo of Spider889
4.06/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle shared by Alewatcher. Dude... you brought the shit to this tasting. Thanks man.

2009 vintage.

A - Hazy peach color with frothy white head. Produces rocky lace.

S - Light and airy at first. With a bit of warmth and time to breathe it opens into a bright spring bloom aroma. There's a lot of wonderful funk there coming from an American brewer. So many Wilds have the sourness but lack the funk.

T - There's a lovely tartness here paired with citric sweetness. Lemon and nectarine lend a fruity profile to this wild. Leaves a bitter finish. Grows very acidic over time.

M - Great carbonation, a lively brew, no doubt.

O - What an excellent beer. People say that this is the best year so far though - I'm thrilled to have had the opportunity to try this. The thing is, as good as Cable Car proves to be, it's really not necessarily any better than the readily available Russian River sours that sit on shelves within their range of distribution. With this in mind, Cable Car is a beer that lives up to the praise, but not the hype.

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Cable Car from The Lost Abbey
99 out of 100 based on 214 ratings.