Dismiss Notice
Subscribe to BeerAdvocate magazine?

Learn more about beer and save over 53% with a 3-year subscription.

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: 829
Avg: 4.48
pDev: 16.96%
Wants: 2,615
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: 829
Photo of yourefragile
4.59/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2009 bottle enjoyed at Toronado SF.

Pours a relatively clear golden copper color with a nice white head that hangs around and leaves light rings of lacing. Aroma is surprisingly funky and complex with lemon and green apple sourness dominating. More fruit and tart than earthiness but there is light straw and grass throughout as well. Body is very citric and crisp, full on the palate with high carbonation. Flavor start with lemon and other citrus rind, before becoming more oaky and tart with only lingering sourness. Expected to be let down by this, but was pleasantly surprised and look forward to trying other vintages.

 625 characters

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

Had this at Port Night at Toronado the week after their 21st anniversary party. This is batch #2, the 2008 one. I had a couple. Pours a totally opaque golden with almost no head and some spotty lacing. Carbonation level was fine, though. perhaps somewhat on the soft side but entirely within a normal range. The aromas are fairly light, nut a light funkinesss comes through as a does a clean sourness and a tang of brine. The taste is much more impressive and oddly addictive. There is a delicious savory component to the beer that is hard to place, but includes a tangy saltiness that really blends well with the funkiness and sour. It reminds me slightly of sprinkling salt on crab apples when I was a kid to make the sour and tannic flavors more palatable. Their is a nice soft funkiness up-front and some mellow sourness throughout. There is a bit off butterscotch here as well and a nice jolt of tannins in the finish. Complex, intriguing, and delicious. The mouthfeel is smooth and slightly tannic. I really enjoyed this on tap, but haven't tried it from a bottle yet.

 1,074 characters

Photo of corby112
4.94/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Big thanks go out to FooFaa for busting this out at a recent tasting. I've wanted to try this beer for a very long time so I was really psyched to try it. Thanks a bunch Dan!

Pours a dark golden ripe banana color that is slightly murky with a one finger off-white head that quickly fades into a lasting ring. There is very minimal lacing, only small spots here and there.

Very funky aroma with some nice barnyard, horseblankety goodness. Lots of crisp golden fruits, apple, pear, grape, etc and a nice dusty earthy oak character. Just the smell of this beer made my mouth water. I literally sniffed my glass for several minutes before even taking a sip.

This beer has a perfect balance of intense puckering tart barnyard funk, horseblanket notes, slightly lactic and acidic but not too much so. Tart and sour intensity up front that settles into some beautiful light crisp golden fruit notes. Hints of apple, pear, grapefruit, light grape followed by more funky brett oaky sourness which lingers into the amazing mouthwatering finish. Very dry yet sweet and crisp with an amazing crisp dry tart puckering finish.

This is an amazing beer that for me truly lived up to the hype. It is just a perfect blend of tart/puckering sourness, crisp delicious fruit notes and a dry sweet yet tart delectable finish. This beer tasted better with each sip and my mouth was literally watering in anticipation of each sip. This is one of the most complex, flavorful sours I've ever had and I cannot recommend it any higher. I only wish I had more.

 1,536 characters

Photo of weeare138
4.82/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Much thanks to Phatz for sharing this rarity of a gem.

Appears a hazy, light gold with a small white head that slowly fades into a mild cap. Lacing is scattered all over the glass like tiger stripes. Streams of CO2 quickly rise to the top.
Smell is of caramel, candy sugar, vanilla, barnyard, funky must, cinnamon, and cardamom, with a touch of apple.
Taste is of the mentioned aromas that meld together in a lemony zest, citrusy, sweet, funky, and tart blend that tantalizes the tastebuds into craving this different but enticing brew.
Mouthfeel is medium bodied, chewy, full of candy orange, funk, with a dryness covering the palate with citrusy zest.

 654 characters

Photo of HopHead84
4.47/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Chris and Joey for bringing Batches 2 and 1, respectively, to the tasting we had on 7/25/09-7/26/09. We found batch 1 had gone downhill a bit so I decided to focus my notes on the current better of the two, batch 2.

The beer appears hazy orange with a small fizzy white crown that recedes after a minute.

The aroma opens up with vibrant citrus in the form of lemons, orange, and apricots mixed with just the right amount of Brett. The Brett imparts a nice level of mustiness as well as a little barnyard funk. The nose has a distinct tart quality to it.

The flavor is bursting with lemon and orange with a nice medium level of tartness. Some nice Brett notes are evident, but once the Brett doesn't impart any deep funk notes like cat piss or wet horse blanket, but rather a slight musty barnyard element that seems to accentuate the soft citrus. The finish is orange and lemon with Brett, some acidity, and a lingering sourness.

The beer is light bodied with a medium level of carbonation. The mouthfeel is dry with some acidity.

The 2007 batch has noticeably declined since I last tried it. I laughed at the thought before we opened the batches side by side, but it truly is the case. The 2008 is clearly the better of the two at this point in time.

 1,267 characters

Photo of akorsak
4.77/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A 750 mL corked and caged bottle (Batch 1) graciously shared by the one and only spacecoyote.

A: The ale is a hazy golden color, a weizen-like melange of sediment and goldenrod. The head held up well through several glasses.

S: The aroma is funky, but not as tart as I expected. A wide array of fruits pop up throughout and add a varied sweetness to the ale.

T: Man oh man! I was expecting the utmost in tartness, the end-all be-all of face pucker, so I was mildly surprised by a reserved tartness that strikes up front and supports the the fruitiness throughout. After the mild tartness, the fruits make themselves known. Apricot, green apple and lots of grapefruit mark the fruitiness. The grapefruit is most memorable, as it is not hop-driven. The finish shows off the flavor, a tart sweetness that really bites at the taste buds. The mix of flavors is incredible, a magnum opus.

M: The mild tartness is refreshing, not so strong that you can't handle repeat sips. The tart fruit flavors are divine.

D: I almost passed out when Carl pulled this one out of his cooler. It is easily one of the most drinkable sour ales that you'll come across.

 1,149 characters

Photo of Rhettroactive
4.85/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

From 750mL bottle to stemmed wine glass at Toronado San Diego on 11/1/11. What better way to celebrate my 30th birthday then with my #1 want.

Vintage 2010

A: Like fine champagne, it's a beautiful pale 14k gold. A gentle pour yields a white 1.25 head that fizzes down to nil within moments. A surprising amount of thin, white lacing rims the glass.

S: Mild brett, which doesn't overwhelm the beer. Hints of honey, ripe green apples, medium char, a touch of white grape and lemon rind. Spectacular.

T: Unlike any Wild Ale I've had, as the balance here is unmatched. The fore comes across like a Brut Cava. As it hits the mid, the brett sneaks up and washes over the palate. And it's at this point where the beer really shows it's finesse. This is where most brett brews simply can't overcome the wild yeast. But Cable Car is unlike those said ales. Instead, the brett passes the mid and rounds into a crisp, dry finish that showcases the lightly toasted, charry oak. Without question, this is one of the top five beers I've tasted.

M: Superb. It's not too light as many in-style can be. Rather, it's creamy and textured, yet it packs a really bubbly and lively layer of carbonation.

O: Lost Abbey's Cable Car comes about as close to perfect as any brew I've ever encountered. It does everything right, with not only ease, but a deft touch. Absolutely worthy of the epic hype and them some. This brewing masterpiece easily receives my highest recommendation. Happy 30th to me!

 1,479 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 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!

 227 characters

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

Big thanks to grub for cracking this one open. Day 1 of the 2008 Biergotter Tasting. Batch 001.
Fairly clear orange/peach colour, turned cloudy once the dregs were poured. It had a thin, whitish cap that produced thick and spotty lacing. Sharp aroma, lots of tart and vinegar character. Sort of earthy with some funk, leather and lemon zest, fruit tarts even. Very smooth. Big fruity tartness in the flavour, earthy raspberry seeds, leather, a bit juicy. It did have a solid malt base, caramel and bread, but this was really there just to provide balance for the craziness. Medium to light bodied with average carbonation, just a bit of dryness. Delicious. Very smooth and balanced, highly recommended.

 702 characters

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

Huge thanks to grub for providing this rare bottle, Batch 001. Day 1 of insane DrJay visit epic tasting.

Pours a hazy pale golden yellow, thick white head forms, drops a bunch of lace spots on the glass, settles to a medium sized ring, looks nice. Smell is great, very acidic, charred wood, vinegar, lemon juice, fruit, very funk, leathery, alcohol, mangoes, acidity burns the nose a bit. Taste is nice too, sour fruit up front, vinegar, wood, sour mangoes, honey/caramely malt, bread, very acidic funkiness in the finish, very sour. Mouthfeel is light to medium bodied with high carbonation, very nice, burns going down, very acidic stuff. Great sour, nice woody character, Lost Abbey can do no wrong. Thanks Russ!

 716 characters

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
4.7/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pale orange color to this one. Slight ring of head around it. Amazing aroma, extremely tart, funky, nothing really fruity to it, beyond what you would think to be lemon based on the sheer tartness, but nonetheless, fantastic.

Taste = sour. Lemon, slight wood notes. Its actually pretty straightforward and not complex, just massively sour, extremely dry. Extremely light body to it, never feels heavy, nor alcoholic. Shit, if you could just chill on these around the pool in the backyard. Gets better as it warms, which I didn't think was possible at first it was so good.

Expensive. Can't get a perfect overall score when you're $40 and only available at 2 bars, one of which sucks ass.

 690 characters

Photo of dgilks
4.7/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Hazy golden colour with a large fluffy head. Nice lacing.

Intense, funky and tart aroma with a light lemon note. Well balanced.

Sour, lactic, slightly acetic, lemony and slightly astringent. Beautifully balanced and crafted.

Medium body with moderately-high carbonation. Good.

A really good wild ale with a balanced funk character, good tartness and solid flavour.

 368 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

Photo of spinrsx
4.26/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle Shared by pushkinwow - 2012 edition - thanks!

Appearance - Gold colour with an average size white coloured head. There is an average amount of carbonation showing and there is some fair lacing. The head lasted for around 4-5 minutes before it was gone.

Smell - Breads/grains, lemons, vinegar

Taste & Mouth - There is an above average amount of carbonation and I can taste breads/grains, vinegar, tart lemons - both the juice and the zest. Also some hay/straw/funky notes and a bit of a peppery spice mix.

Overall - One of the most balanced beers within this style I have had so far. Very drinkable and extremely tasty. Happy I had the chance to try it.

 666 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 DefenCorps
4.47/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Consumed at The Graduation Tasting. Thanks, Trey!

A: Crystal clear with a light, thin head that recedes rather quick. Plenty of carbonation.

S: Funky, tart, more so than Sanctification. Mild sweetness with honey. Definitely lemony in character, I really can't help compare it with Sanctification. Cheesy funk with mild floral and honey character. There's also a certain sharpness I get from the aroma that makes me think back to the other LA beer I've had that have this character - I used to think it was from the cherry skins, I'm not so sure anymore

T: Opens up quite tart and sour with clean funk. Barnyard, intense lemony sourness. Slightly more sweetness and vanilla. Finishes dry, tart and awesome. Mild acidity with a certain sharpness. Some oak and cheese. Awesome

M: Light, effervescent carbonation and excellent finish

D: Very very easy to drink a ton of this

Notes: I tried this again in July 2009, side by side with batch 1. I initially laughed at the thought of batch 1 being over the hill given it's rather young age (2 years), but sadly, it was so. On the nose, it was dank and musty, with a surprisingly woody note, reminding me of wet wood. There was also a slightly spicy character with cloves and cinnamon. On the palate, batch 1 was a lot more tannic and woody, while batch 2 was more vibrant and citrusy. Batch 1 would get 4/4/3.5/3.5/4, while batch 2 is pretty outstanding. It's gotten more sour, and is extremely enjoyable.

Update 2: Thanks to Joe (Ineedabeerhere) I got to try batch 3. Sour and funky with apple, pears, wet wood. Great stuff, this is sourer than either of the previous batches. Mildly grassy. The palate opens sour, surprisingly so with sour lemon with a mild lactic and acetic character. Almost simple in flavors, there's some grassy, fruity character with apples and peach before a dry, sour lemony finish. Great stuff (S/T = 4.5/4)

**Edit 01 July 2012**
Thanks to Chris or Jay for trading me this bottle. Shared at our Lost Abbey tasting.
The nose is very nice. Mildly melony, moderately lemony, moderate funk, earthy, loam-like, complex and very well structured. Makes me think of a real gueuze in its delicacy. The palate opens mellow, complex, funky, earthy, lemony. Very, very nice. 4.5/4.5/4.5

 2,251 characters

Photo of Jwale73
4.28/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A huge thanks to jedwards for sharing this beer. 2009 vintage served in a Sinners tulip. The color of this beer is really quite eye-catching. Bright tangerine in color with a loose, bright white head and a semi-hazy clarity. The head is refreshed with a gentle swirl of the glass and sheets of lacing coat the sides of the glass, gradually yielding to some strands and spots of lacing encircling the bowl. Nose is fairly subdued - tart citrus and a trace of cork. Taste reveals tart and acidic citrus fruit, a slightly salty character and the flavor of cork. Mouthfeel is light in body with an effervescence akin to champagne. This beer is so tart that it puckers the cheeks before culminating in a very dry finish. This has to be, by far, the sourest sour I've had to date. There's a lot going on here and I'm grateful to finally have the opportunity to try this beer outside of a fest.

 887 characters

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

750mL corked and caged bottle poured into a tulip. 2010 Vintage. Been a long time want of mine for awhile now!

(A)- Pours a clear orange color. Some white froth and lace.

(S)- A great fruity oak barrel character. An awesome acidic sourness to it as well. Some serious lemon rind in this.

(T)- Again, a great barrel oak character. Fruity, but in a strictly acidic sense. Very mild funk, but some great lemon rind and white grape fruit sour parts.

(M)- A nice carbonation level and balance. I like the acidity on this alot. The fruit is good too; even the funk. Overall, the barrel characters are very well done.

(D)- Honestly, this is a great wild ale. Worth the hype? maybe, but definitely not worth the difficulty in getting a bottle outside of Toronado; glad i didnt have to.

 782 characters

Photo of cpetrone84
4.2/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pour is golden yellow with a bubbly white head. Nose has very faint barrel with hints of acetic acid, notes of leathery bret and orange peel with a nice vinous quality. Taste is very drinkable, sour white grape skins and citrus with hints of oak and vanilla. Faint leathery bret and a touch of citrus towards the back of the palate. Lighter body and strong carbonation (shocking) with a dry and lightly sour finish. Very delicate flavors and pretty well done.

 459 characters

Photo of lupercmda
4.68/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Had this at Toronado bar in SF tonight. Pours a golden hue which has a nice carbonation level. Smell is of sour oakiness. Taste is of lemony, oakiness with a mild acidity and a moderate sour taste. Does not overpower you with the sourness. Finish is slightly sour with a nice clean finish. I think this may be the best wild ale I have ever had. Bravo!!

 352 characters

Photo of thagr81us
4.5/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this one during the 'We Want The Funk!' tasting that was graciously hosted by beermeX2! Big thanks goes out to beermeX2 for sharing this one with the group! 2010 Vintage! Served from bottle into a Mikkeller flute. Poured golden yellow with a half finger pure white head that subsided to a minimal amount slowly. Maintained excellent lacing throughout the glass. The aroma ws comprised of sweet malt, fruit, sour, and funk. The flavor was of sweet malt, sour, tart, funk, and fruit. It had a light feel on the palate with high carbonation. Overall this brew was quite excellent. My only gripe about this one was that the flavor was quite subdued... While the flavor was great it just seemed slightly watered down compared to the other offerings I have had as of late. The aroma on this however was nothing short of excellent though. How good was this one you might ask??? Myself and Kenneyho started using it as a palate cleanser at around 2AM that morning... Definitely worth the buzz that surrounds this one. Hope to try some older vintages for comparison in the future for comparison (hint hint traders).

 1,110 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 dar482
4.8/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

The beer comes in a hazy bright straw yellow.

The aroma has funky hay, apricot, dried peach, and a decent tartness.

The flavor follows of tart lemons, stone fruit and nectarine, onto a medium minus malt backbone with a medium hay funk. There's a drying and tart quality in the back.

This is up there with the best gueuze I've had. It definitely holds back on the funk unlike Drie Fonteinen and Cantillon, but has a wonderful complexities and restraint.

 455 characters

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