Cable Car - The Lost Abbey

Not Rated.
Cable CarCable Car

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

205 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 205
Hads: 791
rAvg: 4.44
pDev: 4.05%
Wants: 2,582
Gots: 85 | 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: 205 | Hads: 791
Photo of elNopalero
4.58/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2014 Cable Car. $60 in-house at the world famous Toronado.
This pouts a golden tan with light foaming. There's a clear sour cherry aroma. Wet straw and. A biting horse blanket. It's sharply tart, with an intense bite and a light funk. Dry finish. Shared this with some friends on a rare night out. (297 characters)

Photo of Overlord
4.77/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Huge thanks to Jwolfie70 for his incredible generosity over the weekend. Had a chance to sample this along with some other rare brews, as he cracked open his cellar (it took some cracking) to break out some of his Cable Car, Cuvee de Tomme, and other delicacies.

Pours a hazy golden yellow, maybe a hint (just a hint) of orange in there. Given the alcohol content, surprisingly long lasting white foamy head.

A funky beer, but not an overly sour one (and we had some true sours over the weekend). Oak-y, musty yeastiness, a ton of overlapping citrus and unripe fruit flavors, and overlaying it all is that funky funk, which Jwolfie70 likened to "horse manure, but in a good way." Not the description I would use, but I'll add it here.

Not the be-all and end-all of beers, but something truly unique and all-too-rare. Could drink all day. A wonderful carbonation level really lightened it up.

**Tried batch two of this. Seemed like more funk/oak, less complexity. I think the first batch was much better, and given that Tomme informed me (IIRC) that the original recipe was not retained, I can't help but think the second batch was an approximation. (1,153 characters)

Photo of grub
4.45/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2008 Biergotter Tasting, Day 1: Sour/Wild Ales. i contributed this bottle, which i got in a trade with the always awesome fartingdog. thanks dave!

750ml bottle, corked and caged. batch 1. sampled nov 27/08.

pours hazy orangey amber with a small semi-dense white head. the head drops fairly fast and leaves no lace.

aroma is great. horse blanket. bit of leather. lemon. cider vinegar. sour cherry. grapefruit. multi-grain bread. bit of cracker. bit of nutty character too.

taste is great. tangerine. orange peel. lemon. grapefruit. light funk, less than i expected from the aroma, with a big malty base hiding underneath. multi-grain bread, cracker, light grain. bit of alcohol. bit of malt vinegar. some dark fruit too.

mouthfeel is great. medium carbonation level. just over medium body. a little fuller bodied than i expected.

drinkability is great. while the bigger body and solid malty base were unexpected, they really helped hold it together. a great balance between the funk, sourness, and malt. top notch stuff. if only i had more! (1,045 characters)

Photo of hoppymcgee
4.03/5  rDev -9.2%
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 nickd717
3.85/5  rDev -13.3%
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 seeswo
4.45/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Generously opened at DLD.

Orangy-yellow with a tiny amount of head. The nose is tart lemon with a nice funky sour smell. Like funk-spiked lemonade. The taste is like the nose - sour, funky, dry lemonade. No booze comes off at all, this beer is light and freshing. If this beer came in $9 6-packs, I would enjoy them all summer long. Really a fantastic, easy drinking sour. If you haven't enjoyed sours before, this is a really nice entry point - too bad it is so difficult to get. (481 characters)

Photo of Arbitrator
2.2/5  rDev -50.5%
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. (852 characters)

Photo of portia99
4.42/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

1L swingtop growler (2010 release) generously shared among 5 BA's by tai4ji2x at a recent tasting. Thanks Xenon! Poured into a Dogfish Head signature glass.

A - Pours very clear (surprisingly clear), thick and bubbly collar, light lacing left on glass.

S - Funk, bitter finish, limes (thanks Shogo for identifying this - was driving me crazy), horseblankets, funk, oranges and apricots.

T - Horsey, funky, bready and biscuity base, peachy, apricots, touch of bitterness, confectioners sugar, and lime.

M - Thinnish - light/medium body, medium carbonation, tart but not super sour - quite interesting combination of fruity/citrusy flavors.

O - Outstanding, great wild ale. Another one I was beginning to think I'd never get to sample. Interesting, slightly different combo of fruity flavors in a wild and balanced very well with a distinct but manageable tartness/sourness. (877 characters)

Photo of ktrillionaire
4.62/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2007 bottle. Big thanks to Gtreid for the share, and to mikesgroove for trading this bottle to him in the first place. The brew pours a radiant golden hue and is capped with a filmy white head. My glass is quite translucent due to a careful pour. The nose is very nice, although slightly too understated for me; lemon, green apple skin, cut grass and tannic oak are the mainstay of the aroma, and it is quite similar to a mild Hanssen's Gueuze in smell. The flavor ramps up the complexity and intensity relative to the aroma, and the result is outstanding. Perfect tartness, notes of lemon juice and zest, kaffir lime, nectarine, green apple, general acidity and woody notes are observed on the palate. The feel is very smooth whilst retaining tooth, and has an unbelievably clean finish. Overall I am very impressed. Worthy of the hype. Better than DDG. Almost as good as IP. I cannot yet make a YB comparison. (911 characters)

Photo of rye726
5/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Excellent beer. Pretty much all I drank first night of '10 GABF. Great glowing pour, silky head. Nose is quite sour with lots of fruit and sweet malt notes. Taste is perfectly balanced. Belgianesque as usual Vinny. Cimplex and refreshing. Great stuff. Could drink any time. (273 characters)

Photo of jegross2
4.91/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Reviewing the 2012 vintage of the infamous Cable Car from The Lost Abbey out of San Marcos, California. Major thank you to Kevin Fujii and Tyler Shaughnessy for helping me acquire this brew!

Score: 99

2012 vintage bottle served in an Upland snifter and enjoyed on 05/18/13 side-by-side with a bottle of 2010 Duck Duck Goose as part of our Chicago Craft Beer Week whales tasting. Review is from iPhone notes.

Appearance: Pours a dull golden-orange color with a thin layer of fizzy head that settles to a ring around the glass. No lacing or retention. Average golden ale-like appearance 3.5/5

Smell: Lactobacillus, vinegar, lemon, mango and a hint of tart apples. Has an imitation "Cantillon dust"-like aroma that I absolutely dig. Light fruitiness. Acidic nose. White grape too. 5/5

Taste: Mango, lemon, lacto and acidic grape. Very tart and dry. 5/5

Mouthfeel: Light-medium bodied, perfect carbonation. Big in flavor, quite tart. Juicy on the palate, dry on the finish. 5/5

Overall: Absolutely love this beer. It's bold, zesty and tart, while not being very funky. In this regard, it is my ideal sour. It could be more complex, but this brew absolutely delivers in what it brings to the table

Cost: $40 for a 750 ml bottle. (1,234 characters)

Photo of WeisGuy
4.84/5  rDev +9%
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 SpeedwayJim
3.98/5  rDev -10.4%
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 aerozeppl
4.35/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A: Very hazy light golden color. Looked more like a wheat beer in the glass than anything else. The amount of head on this beer was quite surprising as was the amount of lacing.

S: Smelled a little funky. To me it came across as a wild heavy wit. Very wheaty nose. Then comes the brett and the overipe fruit. Different than many of the other wild ales I have had.

T: Very nice bright fruit taste with the funk coming in later. Again I got some wheat in the front. The tartness really sneaks up on you. You definitely get the lacto as it has that nice burn towards the back.

M: So nice and refreshing. Could drink this all day.

D: I was pouring for Lost Abbey during BBF and I kept drinking this. I had the duck and yellow bus and sinners but my glass was constantly filled with this. I though this would be much more sour. It is more balanced than I thought it would be. (874 characters)

Photo of hooliganlife
4.2/5  rDev -5.4%
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 AleWatcher
3.88/5  rDev -12.6%
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 Phatz
4.92/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I must first thank metallitone1 aka (deftim13) for this spectacular treat. A better man have only walked the earth once, since the beginning of time. Tim you a great man and good friend, and I feel honored to have made your acquaintance. I sure hope Tomme Arthur makes more of this beer. It is worth the price you need to pay whatever that may be. I *love* sour wild ales and this is a masterpiece.
This beer is quite different from but as good as “Supplication” [also provided by metallitone1]. I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to share this beer with Hopdog, egajdzis, weeare138, froggyfrog, and Risser09.

Appearance: Pours a clear golden color with magnificent lacing on the walls of my snifter glass. The head is slightly off white and the carbonation is lively.

Smell: It has a huge bold sour cherries and Brettanomyces funky aroma that flood the nose with aged lambic like acidity is that the Pediococcus, I believe. Who cares! It is sensational. The citric rind, apple-cider vinegar woodyness and the plethora of magnificent indescribable aromas left me salivating like a dog.

Taste: How could the flavor live up to such a grand aroma? IT DOES! Sourness, abounds with fruits and sweet and tart flavors that run the gamut. Apricot lemon cherry wood and large sour apple with a funky yeast and Lactobacillus presence that gives its spectacular sour attribute. It makes my mouth pucker in pleasure on each and every sip. There is a spice element clinging to my cheeks in the aftertaste, like cinnamon, vanilla and ginger along with the sourness. Each tastes beckons the next.

Mouthfeel: The sour sting and the light carbonation a fairly acidic body give this a very lambic-like mouthfeel. Dry and long-lingering.

Drinkability: If the Egyptians had it right with their tombs; I want my sarcophagus placed in a conditioning tank full of Cable Car so I can drink it for eternity. Otherwise, I am certain this will be the flavor of my heaven. This is a beer I could drink day and night, if only it were available.

Hope this is helpful.
Cheers! (2,068 characters)

Photo of magictrokini
4.5/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A rare beer that lives up to its reputation. Pours hazy gold with an oily white ring. Lovely perfume nose, sour mash, brett, and butter. Quite sour up front with a rhubarb flavor. The sour slowly turns into a buttery dinner roll. Tannins and oak along with a bit of cheese show up, too. Very acidic at first, but mellows into a nicely vinuous beer. (348 characters)

Photo of Spider889
4.06/5  rDev -8.6%
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 augustgarage
4.64/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

2010 vintage imbibed at Toronado in SF. Poured from a caged-and-corked 750mL bottle into a tulip.

Citrine, lightly hazy body with an initially substantial ivory head which dissipates quickly but a rapid swirl promptly brings back a fizzy finger and a more lasting collar. The final pour is opaque, presumably from the yeast.

Wildflowers (pollen?), potent woody funk, plenty of "horse blanket," and orange peel in the nose. The fragrances grow ever more intense and complex as it warms.

Anchovies, kim chee, blue cheese, along with citrus on the palate. Tart and mineral heavy (almost salty) mid-palate though not bracingly sour. Very ester-heavy but not jammy. Somewhat vinuous like a good chardonnay, and lightly tannic.

Zippy, spritzy, and bright mouthfeel.

Exceptionally drinkable (despite some of my adjectives above, this really isn't an esoteric beverage), and a great beer to share with good friends. (913 characters)

Photo of Damian
4.69/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Drank from a 1 pint 9.4 fl. oz. bottle
2008 vintage
Served in a tulip
Acquired in a trade with zminor

Review #550

The nearly clear, golden amber liquid was topped by a small, bubbly cap of froth. Within a few minutes, the head completed dissipated.

The aroma was simply astounding. Super funky with lots of must and barnyard character. Very oaky, leathery and "old." Tart and quite acidic with some slightly sweet, fruity notes. Green apple was noticeable, along with a touch of lemon. Some honey was also detectible.

Lots of sour funk and must also came through in the flavor profile. The brett character was really intense. Fruity. Green apple notes were apparent. Super tart and lemony on the finish with a strong oakiness. Somewhat white wine-like. Lots of acidity and yeastiness as well. As the beer warmed, the lemon character grew even stronger. Ultra crisp and dry. This wild ale definitely ranks high up there in terms of sourness.

The only somewhat disappointing aspect of this beer was the mouthfeel. It was quite thin with a fizzy, moderate effervescence.

Drinkability was impressive. The 7% ABV was incredibly well masked. Although the tartness was intense, this beer was nevertheless a real treat to sip and savor.

Cable Car is definitely one of the best American wild ales I have yet to try. I would love the opportunity to sample this again. (1,364 characters)

Photo of brystmar
4.29/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

2009 vintage split with Nate as part of an impromptu '09-'11 Cable Car vertical at Toronado in SF.

A: Cloudy, golden color with foamy white head and solid lace. Remains hazy as it warns, unlike the 2010.

S: Strong Brettt yeast character melds with sour fruit and bready notes. Among the best sour aromas I've had the pleasure of experiencing.

T: Fruits, oak, and Brett share the spotlight. Great blend of the three flavors. When cool, it leaves a lingering bitterness; however, after warming, its bone dry finish lingers with fruit and oak, bitterness be damned. Not sure quite why that is, but I like it.

M: Body is thin and weak, yet nicely oily. Hard to enjoy this brew's mouthfeel after the massive creaminess of the '11 Kriek.

D: Sessionable, even at $40/bottle. Although to be honest, I won't be ordering this again while there's still an available stock of '11 Kriek. Cheers! (887 characters)

Photo of codynevels
4.75/5  rDev +7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2009 Vintage 750mL Bottled poured into a Tulip at Toronado San Diego
Reviewed from Notes

This beer pours a fantastic bright hazy yellow/golden/orange color with a fluffy white head. This is a beautiful looking beer. Leaves minimal lacing. The aroma is very fruit forward being dominated by peaches, apricot, green apple, and citrus (lemon). This beer is incredibly aromatic. The smell just explodes out of this beer. The taste is very dry and tart and follows the smell. Peaches and apricots are present, and the tart sourness very much enhances the flavor. The taste gets better with every sip. This beer goes down almost too easy, it was gone long before I was ready to let it go. The body is light and has a nice amount of carbonation.

Overall this is a fantastic sour. Each sip is more enjoyable all the way to the end of the bottle. Very aromatic and fruity, but not sweet. Drinking amazingly right now. The sour interacts perfectly with the fruity taste. (963 characters)

Photo of kbutler1
4.48/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bottle. 2010 vintage. Had at Toronado San Diego! So excited. Saw this beauty behind be glass cooler and just had to have it, even at $40/bottle. Poured into a tulip glass a slightly hazed amber gold color with a nice fluffy white head that settles to a nice collar and leaves lace. The aroma is very nice, a blend of sweet grape, fruit, and a nice sourness as well. Very white wineish. Light mothfeel with a fai bit of carbonation. The taste is nice but not as sour as I thought it would be but being the 2010, I'm not surprised it hasn't fully soured up yet. Slightly sweet start like apricot gives way to some funkiness. Finishes dry like a white wine. Splendid. (664 characters)

Photo of beerwolf77
4.6/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2010 bottle enjoyed at Toronado in SF.

A: Poured into my tulip the beer is golden yellow and moderately clear. Huge three fingers of white head fill the glass and remain. Good retention with modest lace.

S: Loads of tart and sweet intertwined with a good dose of brett. Mild funk. Just a bit of wood and attic dust. Mostly just awesome sweet and tart fruit.

T: Pleasantly tart citric fruit. Dry bretty band aid. A good amount of juicy citrus sour on the finish.

M: Medium body with loads of carbonation.

O: Fantastic! Well worth the price tag and visit to Toronado. I managed to share about 6 ounces with my wife and I honestly regretted letting that much get away. (675 characters)

Cable Car from The Lost Abbey
98 out of 100 based on 205 ratings.