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Sneak peek! BeerAdvocate magazine #104 (September 2015) featuring Leah & Oscar from Highland Brewing in Asheville, North Carolina. Learn more ...

Cable Car - The Lost Abbey

Not Rated.
Cable CarCable Car

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
98
world-class

208 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 208
Hads: 813
rAvg: 4.45
pDev: 4.04%
Wants: 2,596
Gots: 87 | 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: 208 | Hads: 813
Photo of ffejherb
4.17/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle into shaker pint on 4/18/09. Many thanks to akorsak for busting out this rarity at his recent tasting party!

A - Poured a hazy golden body with subtle carbonation and a thin, wispy white head that dissolved to a patchy film and left sparse lacing.

S - Citric notes with a sour apple character and a mild band-aid aspect. Dry oaky notes with a moderate tartness reminiscent of sour grapes.

T - Moderate tart and sour notes with apple and grape notes and a mild woody presence suggesting oaky, earthy notes. Finishes with a white wine crispness and a prevalent sour character. Finishes with a dry, tart sourness on the palate.

M - Medium bodied with a slight syrupy texture and lively carbonation. Dry, tart and crisp finish on the palate.

D - One of the better Wild Ales I've had thus far. Big thanks to akorsak for pulling out this 750ml before I had to leave his tasting on Saturday afternoon. Great stuff! (926 characters)

Photo of Gueuzedude
4.16/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Batch 2; Sampled August 2008
Funky, cheesy and sour notes are quite noticeable as I pour this brew. An average pour into my large Tripel Karmeliet tulip produces an almost two finger thick, pale, white colored head that leaves some lacing on the sides of my glass. This has a little chill haze and a touch of permanent haze to it; it went into the cooler with only a slight haze. The beer is a murky, light amber color as it sits on my desk, but it shows an orangish copper hue when held up to the light. Wow, this is much more funky than I was expecting it to be, more funky than just about any other Lost Abbey brew. Ample butyric acid aromas of old, dried sweat laden blankets and cured leather are joined by funky-woody mushroom aromas, some definite farmhouse cheese notes (though this is somewhat soft), uriatic cat pee, fresh scraped lemon zest, oxidized peanuts. This is all anchored by spicy, tannic oak notes that linger in the background of the nose, but are quite noticeable once you get past the funk. Some fruitiness seems noticeable at times, but at others is drowned out by the funk; when noticed, aromas of ripe pear, white wine vinegar, hints of kumquat pith & zest, . This has a very complex, very funky aroma that has a significant, but not overwhelming oak character that seems to be a bit more pervasive than I originally thought, but as a supporting role.

The first sip is quite dry tasting, it is not quite as mouth puckeringly sour as I was expecting, based upon the aroma, but still has a nice tartness to it. My first sip definitely leaves me thinking that this needs to have a harder sourness to it. The carbonation is at a light-medium level; persistent, prickly and noticeable, but not any where near the effervescence of sparkling Gueuze (which seems to be a rarer and rarer thing now a days, even amongst the classic Gueuze producers). The flavor also seems a bit cleaner than the aroma, though it is definitely tart and funky. The acidity here seems predominantly lactic in character and reminds me of tart grapefruit, some lemon zest, a touch of vinegar-like bite in the finish. Other flavors that round things out are a slight, funky cheddar cheese note, something a bit like smoked almonds, a touch of saltiness (tied up in the previous note), a definitely tannic finish and some light, spicy oak notes there as well. This somehow picks up a perception of sweetness to it, though I don't think there is much in the way of residual sugars in this beer; it almost seems to be acidity based. Light and quaffable, this beer also hides its alcohol quite well, which makes it all that much more drinkable.

My second pour of this is a touch more yeasty, which seems to soften the tartness a bit and also adds some raw, fermented dough notes (though only just a touch) as well as enhancing a cooked bread like character (sour dough to be sure though). I easily polish off this 750ml bottle, though there is enough acidity to make my empty stomach feel a bit rumbly. Worthy of the hype that I built up in my mind? I don't know, but it is definitely worth the hype to try it. It could use a touch more carbonation as a beer like this could always use a lively carbonation in my book. (3,211 characters)

Photo of waltonc
4.15/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Toronado in August. This is a pretty tasty sour beer. I was very impressed. Hazy golden color with solid white head. Taste is crisp and tart, fruity, oaky, and sour. Funk is certainly present, but not excessive, which I appreciated. Considering the style, which I generally can't drink too much of, I was very impressed with this, and look forward to opening up the bottle I also purchased on Toronado's 21st anniversary night. (437 characters)

Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.15/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bottle pour at Woodshop 8 held at The Hermosillo in Los Angeles, CA.

2009 vintage.

Pours a murky light orange with a foamy bone head that settles to wisps of film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace slowly drip into the remaining beer on the drink down. Smell is sour and tart with malt, fruit, and acidic aromas. Taste is much the same with sour and tart fruit-like flavors on the finish. There is a medium amount of acidity on the palate with each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a very good beer that is tasty and very easy to drink. (597 characters)

Photo of womencantsail
4.14/5  rDev -7%
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 jrallen34
4.12/5  rDev -7.4%
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 Alieniloquium
4.07/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750 mL bottle poured into a snifter. 2012 bottle.

Appearance - Pours a hazy golden body with the briefest of white heads. Nary a collar as it settles.

Smell - Fruity acidity. Some malt and oak. Fruit is like a light grape, white wine aroma.

Taste - Sweeter than I expected. Oak is strong. White wine notes all over. Lactic sourness. Malty.

Mouthfeel - Medium heavy body. Medium carbonation. Oaky and moderate sourness.

Overall - Not a complex sour, but very well made. More than the sum of its parts. (505 characters)

Photo of Spider889
4.06/5  rDev -8.8%
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. (1,041 characters)

Photo of Auracom
4.06/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

What can you say? Crazy 2008 vintage share from Al, thanks so much WC big bro! 2 oz. into a glencairn at DLD 2014.

A - Nothing exciting. Plain-jane, honey colored juice with little trace of bubbles or froth.

S - Trace oak, and the age makes itself known. Not quite sawdust but more of a musty, weathered note. Vinegar, flora, champaign. Maybe a bit herbaceous. Bacteria is still kicking in some manure.

T - White wine, bitter unripened fruit adding to acidity, slightly acetic, plentiful oak tannins. It's missing balance with neither clean nor sweet fruit notes.

M - Very good. Lengthy finish, very dry, carbonation way more acceptable than it looked like it'd be.

D - It's lost some character over 6 years and not made up for it with sour development. Whereas Beatification is explosive and overbearing and DDG is fresh and focused, I find this sitting somewhere in the middle. (885 characters)

Photo of oline73
4.05/5  rDev -9%
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. (663 characters)

Photo of hoppymcgee
4.03/5  rDev -9.4%
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 glazeman
4.03/5  rDev -9.4%
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. (787 characters)

Photo of Hojaminbag
4.02/5  rDev -9.7%
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. (1,213 characters)

Photo of stephendr
4/5  rDev -10.1%
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 (325 characters)

Photo of rowingbrewer
3.99/5  rDev -10.3%
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. (420 characters)

Photo of SpeedwayJim
3.98/5  rDev -10.6%
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! (1,147 characters)

Photo of domtronzero
3.96/5  rDev -11%
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. (630 characters)

Photo of paytoplay
3.95/5  rDev -11.2%
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. (578 characters)

Photo of fiver29
3.92/5  rDev -11.9%
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. (478 characters)

Photo of AleWatcher
3.88/5  rDev -12.8%
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! (622 characters)

Photo of DavoleBomb
3.87/5  rDev -13%
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. (1,281 characters)

Photo of Phyl21ca
3.86/5  rDev -13.3%
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. (514 characters)

Photo of nickd717
3.85/5  rDev -13.5%
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. (911 characters)

Photo of SportsandJorts
3.84/5  rDev -13.7%
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. (666 characters)

Photo of OlieIPA
3.82/5  rDev -14.2%
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! (972 characters)

Cable Car from The Lost Abbey
98 out of 100 based on 208 ratings.