Dismiss Notice
Hello, is it beer you're looking for?

Learn more about beer. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for as low as 68% off the single issue price.

Subscribe now →

Cable Car - The Lost Abbey

Not Rated.
Cable CarCable Car

Educational use only; do not reuse.

212 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 212
Hads: 830
Avg: 4.48
pDev: 8.48%
Wants: 2,614
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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 212 | Hads: 830
Photo of tjfinkle
4.2/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2010 Bottle poured into tulip at Toronado in San Diego

Appearance- Pale straw with thick white fluffy head and nice carbonation

Smell - The first thing that I noticed right of the bat obviously was the sourness with some citrus and cherry notes

Taste - Sour cherries and some citrus just like the nose. Some have commented on a sulfuric taste/smell to this beer which I noticed a slight flavor of; however I did not find it overpowering. This is a very mellow sour beer

Mouth-Lightly puckering with nice carbonation

Drink- Easy drinking beer, especially for a sour, possibly too easy of a beer for this style. Overall a good and well balanced beer, but could have used a little more flavor. I will be interested to see how this beer matures over time in comparison to the previous vintages.

 795 characters

Photo of hooliganlife
4.2/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2010 @ toronado San Fran

Pours a lignite straw yellow with a hit of haze and a nice tall fizzy head.

Lots of lemon and vinegar on the nose. Subtle malt and citrus hops. Light oak character in the back.

Taste was similar to the smell. Lots of lemon zest with a strong vinegar sourness to it. The malt character really was noticeable in the back. This really reminded me of a gueuze.

Lots of carbonation with a light body. Slight dryness.

Now that I have had this fresh, I prefer this aged. The aged 2007 seemed to have more fruit flavors where as this came across as a fresh unbalanced gueuze. Would I pay forty a bottle again? Most likely...

 646 characters

Photo of WeisGuy
4.84/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2009 vintage bottle at Toronado SD on 6/30. Review from notes.

a - Hazy deep golden, half inch white head with decent retention and lacing

s - Big lemon and apricot notes mixed with a heavy dose dirty gym socks, best funkiness i've had from an American sour

t - Big sour lemon, apricot and peach burst up front, b.o. funk on the midpalate along with more tart citrus, finish is a heavy lingering lemon and peach tartness with lighter barnyard funk, alcohol is hardly noticeable, really incredible stuff

m - Medium bodied with higher carbonation, very sprtzy on the palate, very dry finish, very good for the style

d - The complexity and absence of alcohol tastes make this stuff incredibly drinkable, intense but not wearing on the palate either, the price tag and rarity are the only things working against it

This one lived up to the hype for me.  This is probably the second best American sour that I've had after RR Deviation, and slightly ahead of RR Beatification.  Well done, Tomme!

 997 characters

Photo of emerge077
4.47/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Another impossible beer that had eluded me until now.
Thanks to Anwar for sharing this gem!
Review from notes, early first vintage 2007.

Into a wine glass it poured a glowing orange, with a slight haze but surprisingly some clarity as well. Visible rising carbonation, a thin ring of foam at the edges, and a ghostly wispy skim across the surface. No lace remained in the glass.

Bright fruity aroma, a blended cocktail of sweetish grapefruit, white grape, lychee, and lemon. Oaky too, with a mild spice, and some minerals.

Puckering and tart, balanced sourness, lemon, orange, and grapefruit blend seamlessly. It lingers on the palate, with traces of oak, citrus, and grape. Salivary glands kick into overdrive. Clean and quenching sourness, balanced with a good deal of wild complexity. Unique but maybe not the pinnacle sour ale from Lost Abbey. Thanks again Anwar for the opportunity!

 893 characters

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.

 1,018 characters

Photo of AgentZero
4.22/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Yellow, really not more than a nice pale yellow, with a big white head.

S - Vinegar/wine influence, some oak, little bit grassy. Lemon, citrus, pears, light apple, round out the scent on this one.

T - Light tasting, little grassy, some peach, apricot, apple, pear, nothing overpowering, not too terribly sweet, a bit tart. This is a very solid sour/wild ale, but not the best I have had. Little bit of funk, nicely complex.

M - Light, nice bubbly carbonation. Dry finish.

D - Very drinkable, as it is happily complex and there is nothing overpowering going on here.

 573 characters

Photo of Thorpe429
4.42/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2008 Vintage.

A: Pours a light, somewhat hazy apricot color with a nice white head and a decent amount of lacing.

S: The initial smell is quite sweet and balanced. The sourness is assertive but not at all overwhelming. Picked up quite a few notes of apricot and peach.

T: Similar to the nose in that there is a surprising amount of balance to this, unlike most other Lost Abbey sours that I've come across. Nice stone fruit flavors alongside the lactic sourness. Overall, a very nice balance, just not quite what I was expecting. Hints of orange and lemon zest.

M: Nice sourness and low carbonation.

D: Very drinkable all around for a sour. Definitely glad to finally be able to try this one out and would love to have it again, although it's definitely not quite up there with Isabelle and Veritas 004.

 809 characters

Photo of rudylaw
4.35/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

My journey into sours' next stop is another long time want... '09 vintage.

Pours yellow with a large, white head.

Smells of citrus with grapes and peaches. Some vinegar with some puckering sourness.

A shockingly robust amount of citrus bombards the tongue. Mild sourness... am able to pick out those peaches and grapes I smelled. Wet hay and slight leather notes round it out. Delicious.

Perfect carbonation with some serious drinkability for a sour as it's not too sour. Amazing stuff.

 491 characters

Photo of glid02
4.6/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bottle consumed at Toronado San Diego - been waiting a while to try this one.

Pours a slightly hazy golden-peach color with a two-finger white head. The head recedes into a thin layer on top leaving solid lacing.

Smells of funk - wet hay and leather is the best way I can describe it - along with good amounts of sugar-coated fruits - apricots, pears, and peaches, in that order.

Tastes similar to how it smells. Indistinct malt flavors serve as the backbone and allow funk and fruit flavors to run roughshod. A funkiness as described above permeates the flavor profile, although there's also a certain harsher (though not in a bad way) addition to the flavor profile via the oak. Ripe apricot and peach flavors are at the forefront with syrupt pear flavors lurking in the background. The ending is crisp and leaves just a hint of funkiness lingering on the palate.

Mouthfeel is very good. It's got a nice thickness with active carbonation.

Drinkability is great. I finished my glass very quickly and could easily have a few more. The flavors are all robust but manage to complement each other very well.

Overall this beer didn't disappoint. It isn't the best sour that I've ever had but it does come very close. Well worth the shot if you can get your hands on it.

 1,271 characters

Photo of jrallen34
4.12/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had this 2009 bottle at dld. The beer is a murky gold not much to note. The aroma is complex starting out with lemon citrus, earthiness, and some nice tartness. The taste is the same light citrus to start some nice tart not sour notes. I had this amind veritas 003, 004 and yellow bus. It held its one but not a top wild ale.

2007 bottle thanks to Sean. Found this to be very sweet.

 385 characters

Photo of Gobzilla
4.2/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2009 bottle caged and corked

A: poured a murky orange yellow with a finger white head that had decent sticky lacing.

S: great nose that consisted of lemons apples little funk and hints of vinegar. I always wondered what this beer would smell like.

T: The taste almost mirrors the smell with lots of lemons and apples hitting the palette with fruity sourness and a slight dry finish.

M: has a medium body with good bubbly carbonation that compliments the taste.

D: chased this beer for a couple months and was not dissapointed. I could drink quite a bit of this beer if it was avaliable like that.

 601 characters

Photo of callmemickey
4.47/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Review 500... finally!!!

2009 Vintage

A: Like golden-orange body. Thin white bubbly head. Quickly receded and left traces of lacing behind on the glass.

S: Delicate, like fruits including peaches, apricots, lemons, and green apples. Lightly sour in the nose with a nice subtle funkyness.

T: Bam. This was good. When it comes to sours I am a sucker for the lighter citric wilds (brute, temtpation, sactification, fou foune). This one is bangin. Lots of soft peaches and apricots. An acidic lemon twist and a nice sour green apple. Some subtle tart grape skins rounds out this treat.

M: Medium bodied with a gentle rolling carbonation throughout. Sweet, tart, sour and funky. This definitely a challenging workout for the tastebuds. In the end its got a nice dry refreshing quality that leaves you thoroughly satiated.

D: Yeah. This is good. Real, real good. Wish I had more. But sadly this is it.

 901 characters

Photo of alcstradamus
4.52/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle split by me at our pre-Dark Lord Day tasting. Thanks me! Reviewed from notes

Pours a cloudy golden color with 2 fingers of head in my small tasting glass. The aroma is intensely tart with a mixed back of fruits including lemons, pears, and apple. Exactly what I would hope for.

The flavor is very tart and dominated by white grapes and lemon. Mouth puckering-ly sour and accompanied by a light and balanced funkiness. Well rounded and integrated flavors and very tasty.

The body is medium/full and the carbonation is about perfect for the style. Overall this one met my expectations and was definitely memorable. One of the better American Wild Ales I've had the pleasure of drinking.

 694 characters

Photo of jeffthecheff
4.64/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this bottle at a tasting. 2007 version.

Cable Car pours an orange gold color that looks like it would be somewhat clear, but is actually completely hazed. The head is just about non existent, and even a swirl produces only a thin wisp.

The aroma is intense, fruity, and sour. There is a little bit of cellar like mustiness to it, and only a touch of funk. Sour lemons make up most of the nose, along with a background of some peach like fruitiness. This is intense, but pleasant throughout.

The taste is impressively sour with a good, mouth puckering lemon sourness. A bit of sweetness adds a candy like complexity which is great. It reminds me of one of those powdery, sour jawbreaker type candies I used to get in gumball machines. The finish is dry and very puckering.

The mouthfeel is nice and light, with a good level of "tiny bubble" carbonation to make it refreshing and easy to drink. I would love to have more of this. I'm very glad I got to try this.

 968 characters

Photo of femALEist
4.42/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this on tap at Tornado during SF Beer week.
Cable Car 09 by Lost Abbey is an American Wild Ale aged in oak barrels and 7%. It poured a hazy straw yellow. It smelled very sour, some Chardonnay notes, citrus, oak, wood and some funk. It tasted like citrus, lemon, a hint of pineapple, oak, wood and extremely sour from start to finish with some good bitterness in there as well. It was the tartest of the evening.

 415 characters

Photo of rpstevens
4.55/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to mjn5036 for sharing this bottle at a recent tasting. Poured into a mini goblet. The beer pours a hazy golden yellow with a bubbly white head that leaves little lacing on the sides of the glass.

The smell is crisp sweet ripe fruits (apricots and pears), sharp alcohol, musty funky barrel oakiness, hay and a more subtle than expected lemon and green apple sourness.

The taste is much more tart than the smell, the funky oak and hay characters jump on top of the lemon zestiness and really take you for a ride right out of the gate. There is not much balance to this one, but it's not expected and not necessary. This is a sour beer.

The beer is very carbonated, which is something I really appreciate for this style. I think the carbonation compliments the sharp fruit flavors and overtly sour tones of the beer, there is a nice dry finish that leaves the palate feeling nice and clean and craving more. The crisp flavors, dry finish and well masked alcohol make this beer very drinkable.

 1,000 characters

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.

 793 characters

Photo of womencantsail
4.14/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2007 Vintage

A: The pour is a very hazy golden yellow color without much head and very little retention.

S: The nose is full of lactic tartness with a mild mustiness and a pleasant barnyard funk. The sourness is primarily in the form of lemon and green apples.

T: The flavor is highly sour with plenty of lemony lactic acid and a touch of vinegar. The funk is much more subdued than the nose would lead you to believe.

M: The body is light to medium with a full carbonation and a nice dry finish.

D: This particular bottle was the best of the Cable Car pours that I've had. A solid sourness and nice fruit character, but a little lacking in the "funk" department.

 668 characters

Photo of Bubba83
4.47/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this on tap at Toronado SD during SD Beer Week alongside the mighty Kegatron.

Appearance is pretty good, sort of a copper orange body topped with a super thin yet bright white head. Small ring sticks around and leaves a slight lace.

Can tell from the aroma that this beer is going to be sour as all hell. Smells a bit like sweet and sour sauce with some green apple highlights and sour cherry notes.

Taste is a lot of the same, sweet up front with some apricot, orange, cherry, lemon and citrus which is followed up quickly by a lingering sourness that is challenging to my palate. Stoney fruits finish it up on the swallow.

Super vibrant and poppy in the mouth, medium chewiness and pretty slick.

Drinkability was higher than I originally thought upon first sip. As you become acustomed to the sourness it goes down easier and easier until you want to just chug the whole glass. It's kind of like drinking the sweet tarts candy :)

 940 characters

Photo of tpd975
4.6/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2009 vintage. Thanks to Floydster for this one.

A: Pours a nice palish yellow hue with a very tall white head. Above average retention with a few spots of lace.

S: Wonderful aromas of citrus with mild notes of tart peaches. Yeast, vinegar, tart, and sourness... Yum.

T: Wonderful citrus up front. Acidic, but not overthetop. Mild vinegar with hints of peach, apricot, and light woody notes. There is some wet hay goodness, with hints of leather and barnyard.

M: Medium in body, snappy carbonation and the acidity bites at the tongue a bit.

N: Not overly tart or sour. Well done, and damn tasty for sure.

 609 characters

Photo of drseamus
4.89/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Served on tap at Toronado in a six ounce glass.

There aren't many beers that are hyped as much as cable car that are genuinely this good. I love me a good wicked tart beer and this qualifies. Both the aroma and the flavor are pungently tart and dry with a touch of the horse blanket. It is still pretty smooth despite the intense tartness. Perhaps a bit of apple in there also. One of the driest beer beers in the aftertaste, perhaps almost a bit too much. Overall, a terriffic beer.

 485 characters

Photo of drabmuh
4.47/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2007 Vintage. This beer is amazing, plain and simple.

Beer is yellow and slightly hazy. Forms large bubbles and a large but diffuse head of very large bubbles. Carbonation is steady and strong.

STRONG chardonnay like aroma. Very sour in the nose with a slight funk that becomes more obvious the more you smell.

Beer is medium to low bodied and has a slightly citric sourness to it. Nothing much in the forward but there is a definite and growing sourness in the back of the mouth. Drinkability for this beer is really high and mouthfeel is great. Lots of carbonation on the tongue contributes to the overall sourness and feel of this beer. I'm in love.

 655 characters

Photo of Huhzubendah
4.59/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2007 vintage. Thanks to Brad for sharing this gem.

A: cloudy, straw yellow, little lacing

S: hay, barnyard funk, citrus, slight oak

T: very complex, lingering aftertaste. A great puckering sour. Not too acidic. No bitterness. I wish it was more sour, actually. Flavors blended superbly.

M: smooth and balanced, very pleasant sourness, no alcohol taste

D: A fine brew, and easy to sip, given the style.

 408 characters

Photo of somabeer
4.65/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Popped and poured into Lost Abbey chalices at Toronado. It gushed after popping the cork. It was hazy golden yellow, a healthy amount of foam and good lacing. There is a strong aroma, with plenty of citrus and some nice funk. The taste is fantastic they are notes of citrus, lemon, pineapple, some nice bitterness, some oak, that hoarse blanket goat cheese flavor, the strongest flavor is the tart sourness. Its exquisite in it's balance and complexity. It has a nice carbonation and it goes down very easy. It's amazingly drinkable. you could sip it all night!

 561 characters

Photo of TurdFurgison
4.82/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2009 version, at Toronado, so glad to finally try it. The first pour was a little hazy and light golden colored, but each successive pour was a little darker and murkier. Judging by aroma and taste, this is exactly what an American wild ale should taste like, at least in my humble opinion. Musty sour barnyard funk, some lemon, this is really not that far from some of the best gueuze I've had in Belgium. Lost Abbey may have some bad press due to carbonation issues on high gravity ales, but they absolutely have wild ales by the balls. The sour bite never infringes on my enjoyment, maybe because it's expertly crafted, or maybe because of severe acclimation to the style. It truly sucks to like something so much when you know you can't easily get it. This will always be on my WANTs list. At least there's Cantillon to hold me over...

 839 characters

Cable Car from The Lost Abbey
98 out of 100 based on 212 ratings.