Avant Garde - The Lost Abbey

Not Rated.
Avant GardeAvant Garde

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
85
very good

659 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 659
Reviews: 337
rAvg: 3.79
pDev: 9.76%
Wants: 34
Gots: 54 | FT: 3
Brewed by:
The Lost Abbey visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
Bière de Garde |  7.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: xlperro on 05-12-2006

At the Lost Abbey, we pride ourselves on producing beers of the highest quality and distinction. Avant Garde is our commitment to brewing beers to no particular style. Some might want to label this as a beer brewed in the Biere de Garde tradition of Northern France. We would prefer to say it was brewed in the Avant Garde style of beers that will reward all those who seek the not so ordinary. Deep gold in color with hints of biscuits, caramel and fresh baked bread, this beer is sure to delight the senses and palates of consumers everywhere.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 659 | Reviews: 337
Photo of Sammy
3.7/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A lacey beer on tap at Port Carlsblad. Darker than the blond colour described., with a white head. A barleywine like taste, well malted sweeter than expected mid-sip, with a dash of peach fruit juice, that finishes lemon and sour. A sure cross-styler that does not taste like most other biere de garde

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.41/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at The Los Abbey/Port tasting room in San Marcos, CA.

Pours a clear honey gold with an off-white head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Foamy rings of lace line the glass on the drink down. Smell is pretty weak and is of grain/malt and mild spices. Taste is of grain, spices, and some slight citrus flavors on the finish. There is a mild bitterness on the palate after each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer but it tastes better than it smells.

Photo of metter98
3.73/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer is slightly hazy golden yellow in color and has a moderate amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a finger and a half high off white head that took a long time to died down and left a huge pillow of bubbles in the center of the glass, a collar around the edge, and lots of lacing down the sides.
S: There are light to moderate aromas of earthy yeast in the nose along with notes of grassy hops and some hints of peppery spices towards the finish.
T: The taste is similar to the smell notes of grainy malts and a light amount of bitterness. The light bits of spices are most noticeable towards the back end of the taste and linger through the finish.
M: It feels light- to medium-bodied and slightly dry on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer is easy to drink and has some interesting aromas and flavors, but the dryness seems unusual for the style and cuts through (instead of emphasizing) the malty and earthy flavors.

Photo of Thorpe429
3.18/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle shared by Darrell at a recent tasting. Served in a snifter.

Pours a yellow-orange color with a white head and a moderate amount of lacing on the way down. The nose brings forward quite a bit of grain and bread with some mild yeast presence and a touch of a farmhouse character. The taste is mostly just a bit of grainy malt without too much else. The finish is oddly dry and a bit too bitter. Not terribly drinkable.

Photo of brentk56
3.78/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a hazy honey color with a creamy head that declines to a film with pancake bubbles and leaves shards of lace

Smell: Peaches and cream, mineral elelments and fusel alcohol

Taste: Starts with a caramel malt backbone and a fruity element that has a peachy flavor and is joined by an herbal bitterness, mid-palate; after the swallow, earthy flavors interject and are followed by a mineral-like, medicinal bitterness at the back of the tongue

Mouthfeel: Thick bodied and creamy with vivacious, but soft carbonation

Drinkability: Rather nice and quite interesting, although I don't really care for the finish

Thanks, ppoitras, for the experience

Photo of BEERchitect
3.82/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Awsome always to get to try the Lost Abbey stuff. Thanks Clvand0.

The beer pours a very bright golden, orange color, not unlike orange juice (no pulp). A dainty head quickly forms and settles with a lace of paper thin whiteness. Not overly carbonated and has a still appearance.

Strong aromas of pilsner malts, vineous alcohols, and oranges. Orange aroma dominates the fruity esters while backups of papaya, pineapple, apples, peaches, and pears. Could be mistaken for a pina colada if not for the woodsy, vineous tartness.

Flavors also favor the esters with the citrus and tropical flavors that are a direct transfer from the nose. Maltiness begins to play a bigger part with a soft, bready taste and light graininess. Phenols of white pepper and soft medicinal notes wrap around the alcohol taste and texture.

Quite sweet and heavy with no buffer from the carbonation. Still, orange juice acidity, citrus, and sweetness linger deeply into the finish.

A tasty beer but the fruit flavor and overly orange notes challenge the notion of beer.

Photo of StonedTrippin
3.87/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

a fun, if understated brew. the pour is a little hazy, light orangey yellow with a finger or two of white head. nice lacing left behind. the nose is yeasty, just past neutral on the acid front, some fruit and gentle candy sugar notes. the flavor is surprisingly subtle, not intense or aggressive at all, more of like a high class session ale, well balanced, interesting flavors, and good carbonation with an airy texture and an easier feel than 7% abv would usually allow for. some sugar in the finish, but it isn't too much, and there is a summery vibe to this beyond a saison. grassy and spunky, exacerbated by bright bubbling, I like the feel of this more than anything. clean finish, but not dry, especially compared to some other lost abbey stuff. overall a very well made beer, one that could be an every day drink for me if it wasn't so expensive, but damn its refreshing, satisfying, and yet undifferentiated in some ways...

Photo of Phyl21ca
3.5/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: Poured a medium yellow color ale with a big foamy white head with good retention and good lacing. Aroma of medium sweet malt with a distinctive yeast presence. Taste is dominated by medium sweet malt with some bread and yeast notes and a slightly dry finish. Body is about average with some great carbonation. Interesting but lacking some character to make this truly interesting and I cannot see this beer aging well.

Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.86/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Misty tangerine with few visible yeast after the pour. The head is all kinds of wonderful and is an indication of the quality brewing going on at The Lost Abbey. It's polished ivory with a lemonish tint and is both sticky and rocky. It may not be the masterpiece that one might find on a world-class Belgian biere de garde, but it isn't that far behind. Later pours yeast things up nicely.

The aroma is pale malty, tangy fruity and barely spicy. I'm reminded of a Belgian pale ale with an unaggressive yeast strain. The yeast strain that was used is described as a 'lager yeast with hybrid fermentation at ale temperatures'. I wish the brewery had gone with something else because this one is short on esteriness and has virtually no farmhouse character at all.

Avant Garde is good beer that doesn't blow me away after the first several ounces. I don't think it's hiding a whole lot of complexity, so it's doubtful that time and warming will change much. The ingredients list indicates that it'll favor pale malt and grassy hops... and that's exactly the case. For those of you who care about such things, the hop bill is made up of German Brewer's Gold, Strissespalt Spalt and Czech Saaz.

The flavor profile includes barely toasted pale malt, a French bread yeastiness and more pungent, grassy, herbal, white peppery hops than expected. The sunny lemon zestiness of the hops is what allows the above flavor score to be granted. It also indicates that this one is best consumed fresh. Once they fade, there won't be much left to take their place. The back end is an interesting combination of lightly sticky sugars (early) and semi-snappy dryness (late).

The light-medium mouthfeel strikes the right note in terms of size. However, there aren't enough bubbles to buoy the beer like it needs to be buoyed. Things feel best on first contact, then it's downhill from there. To the beer's credit, the slide is a slow one and never slips below average.

Avant-garde: (noun) unorthodox or daring; radical. Even though this is good beer, The Lost Abbey/Port Brewing Company missed a golden opportunity to brew something truly special, something truly avant-garde, something deliciously daring. Instead, they've brewed something simplistic and safe. The fact that I'm still enjoying the result is a testament to Tomme's skill around a brew kettle.

Photo of mikesgroove
4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I picked up this bottle a few weeks ago and had been dying to crack it open. One of the last few regular Lost Abbey releases I had yet to try. 750ml bottle was served at room temperature and poured into a chimay goblet. Consumed on 10/03/2008.

The pour was nice with a very hazy, light golden amber. Lots of sediment in the bottle with a nice amount of carbonation rising up through the glass. A nice two inch head of white foam gathered on the top and settled down lightly producing a nice amount of side glass lace.

The aroma was rich and malty. Lots of caramel and light bready notes coming through almost immediatly, with a light punch of grain tucked in behind them and a light nose of peach poking up beyond that. The flavor was more of the same, light touches of peaches and apricots, perhaps a touch of fresh grassy notes that were sitting on top a nice bit lo light grain. Intresting touch of caramel on the initial sip that quickly mellowed out behind the light fruit notes, which combined with a long dry finish really helped push the malt profile to the forefront. Nice carbonation kept this one feeling lively throughout the session, with a medium bodied feel that was just heavy enough to coat the tongue. Easily a sessionable ale, as the ABV was low enough and barely noticeable, though I have to admit I tended to like this one better as it was colder.

Overall while not my favorite of the lost abbey beers, it was defintly solid as far as I was concerned. I would have no issue with trying this one again anyday, though at the pricetag I am not sure I would really try and track it down. Still though a solid and very respectable beer that i would not turn my nose up to.

Photo of biboergosum
3.95/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Unibroue-esque Belgian bomber, with lots of Celtic cross imagery. Into a chalice it goes...

This beer pours a slightly cloudy golden orange hue, with a finger or so of soapy white head, which leaves no lace as it melts away. It smells of very light white wine spritzer. The taste is mildly sour prune, cherry candy, musty pitted fruit, light funky barnyard, an echo of metallic yeastiness, and a wallflower of caramel malt. There's a twinge of alcohol pull, more evident as it warms. The carbonation is fairly strong, the body moderately round, and kind of dusty, and it finishes very dry, some peach pit fruit essence lingering for a bit.

This is very much like a collision of a sour ale and sparkling wine, and is all the tastier for it.

Photo of oberon
3.96/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My first Lost Abbey beer to try.Pours into my Hennepin glass a slight hazed peach color with a great looking thick one finger off white head that leaves a nice full ring of broken lace as it settles ever so slowly.I pick up vanilla with a peaches cream-like note,some mildy nutty pilsner malt as well.Flavors of nutty pilsner malts,vanilla,and a light tart green apple in the finish.A great food beer with alot of richness and subtle flavors.

Photo of womencantsail
3.63/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: A hazy copper color with lots of white foam.

S: Yeasty and bready/doughy with some orange aroma.

T: Also yeasty, some caramel and malt flavors, the citrus here is mild as well.

M: Good carbonation and medium bodied.

D: Certainly not bad, but not outstanding, either.

Photo of zeff80
3.7/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Poured out a very cloudy, bronze/copper color with a one-finger, tan head of thick foam. It left some nice rings of lace.

S - It smelled yeasty and of candy sugar. There was a fairly strong malty quality, too.

T - Good malt backbone with a spicy yeast taste. There was a mild sourness that you'd expect in a Biere de Garde but it wasn't very strong.

M - It was crisp and sharp with a dry finish. A medium-bodied beer that is pretty easy-drinking.

D - This is a good Belgian-style ale from The Lost Abbey but seems to be a little style-confused.

Photo of ChainGangGuy
4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

After years of planning and months of waiting, I cannot describe how gratifying it was, for me, to finally be able to review the Bière de Garde style.

Appearance: Pours a deep, orangey-copper body with a foamy, snow white head.

Smell: Sugary breadcrusts, honey, dried fruits, rolled hay, maybe some lemon in there as well.

Taste: The taste is an array of delicate, elegant flavors, light caramel, fruitiness, buttered sourdough bread, and a splash of Lady Grey tea. Lighty bitter finish, with some alcohol popping in right at the end.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Light carbonation. A slight stickiness on the palate. Some alcohol warmth, too.

Drinkability: There were times where AndoBrew and I thought "What did we get ourselves into? This is never going to come together!!" But when those wonderful smells start coming from the beer, when the flavors begin the meld, when the obscenities start flying, and the smiles start shining, we knew that it was all worth it.

Photo of Kegatron
3.58/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

750 ml corked & caged bottle into an oversized snifter.

Pours a clear gold, with a finger of foamy brite-white head. Retains around the edges with some thin wisps in the center, but this flares up very nicely, leaving some big swathes of lace back. The aroma is bready sweetness, floral hops and spice, with maybe even some dark fruits thrown in. This is floral and sweet overall.

The taste is bread and citrus tang, with a touch of yeast, and a dry spicy quality to it. Much like the aroma, I'm defintely getting some dark fruit here in the taste. Finishes with a warmth, tang, and bitterness that sticks to the palate. The mouthfeel is medium bodied, with a lower (yet gentle) carbonation that gives this an extremely silky feel in the mouth. There's a bit of alcohol beef to this but it's not overly noticeable.

This drank pretty good for the size but I wish that the flavors had gone a bit deeper. Quite refreshing with the lighter body. I'm glad to have tried this but one bottle was enough.

Photo of RblWthACoz
3.83/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a slightly fogged gold amber. Nose is like woody apples. Strong sweet tone is there too. Flavor is a tangy wood. Almost like this was aged in some type of wooden barrel. Feel is thick on carbonation and typical on liquid. Overall this is not really a favorite style of mine. Quite the opposite really. I can say without hesitation that it is one of my least. This one is pretty well made though and is even and consistent. If you can dig the style, give it a shot. For me though, I can't say I will try it again.

Photo of mactrail
2.92/5  rDev -23%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

On tap at Pizza Port in Ocean Beach. Not much head or lacing. Hazy amber in the tulip. Flavors are sunk in a funk. Main taste is a distillation of that dirty, back of the mouth flavor that gives an edgy taste to a lot of Belgian styles. Unrelieved by any sweetness, though a hint of malt comes through in the front of the mouth. Hops seem designed to intensify the dark, tarry flavors. Long, unpleasant biter aftertaste. One of the least drinkable beers I've encountered, whatever it's value as an oddity.

Had this in bottle in early 2010 and liked it a lot better than this tap version.

Photo of russpowell
3.75/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Got this one from Bitterbill, cheers!

Pours a hazed apricot/amber with 1 finger of dirty white head.

S: Green apples, some barn & a touch of citric hops

T: Green apples, tartness,a touch of booze & a bit of pear up front. As this warms we get slight pineapple & more green apple plus a touch of honey dryness. Finishes dry crisp & tart

MF: Medium bodied, minimal carbonation & good balance

Drinks fairly easy, an alright/good stab a the style

Photo of Rifugium
3.5/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

First had: on tap at Eulogy, Philly, PA

Pretty tasty. Poured a hazy golden brown with a large head that settles down but doesn't completely dissipate. Nice lacing and some carbonation. Grainy, bready aroma, with a definite presence of hops. Similar taste, very grainy, hoppy with some fruitiness to it: citrus and light Prunus fruits and a touch of almond. Medium mouthfeel. I'd drink more if given the chance.

Photo of kojevergas
3.12/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

750 ml brown glass bottle with hood and wire cap over a cork acquired at Wades Wine in Westlake Village, California and served into Beer Passion Weekend 2011 stemware in low altitude Los Angeles, California. Reviewed live. Cost was $7.99 USD plus tax. Expectations are quite high given the brewery.

Served refrigerator cold and allowed to warm over time. Not paired with food.

Side-poured without any additional vigor as I didn't anticipate carbonation issues (in spite of the brewery's reputation as of late).

A: Pours a one finger head of white colour, slight cream, fair thickness, and above-average retention for the ABV. Colour is a clear gold. Some yeast particles are visible. In truth, it isn't much to look at overall.

Sm: Biscuity yeast, berries, grapes, fruit esters, and clean malts. The berry and bright fruits are dominant. There's maybe even a light hint of vinegar. A mild strength aroma, and quite a pleasant one.

T: Bright fruit and light berries hit me first, with clean unobtrusive malts not far behind. A hint of vinegar in the back end, and some grape in the beginning of the body. The yeast is quite buried. No alcohol comes through. Melllow and nicely balanced for the style. I like it, but it's pretty simple. There's nothing unique or special that draws me to it.

Mf: Smooth and wet, suiting the flavours of the body. It might be a too wet, though, releasing the flavours before they've been fully experienced. Adequately carbonated. Perhaps a bit too thin, especially as it nears the third act and finish.

Dr: Very drinkable for the ABV. Comparable to other beers in the style. It's quite overpriced for the quality; other (and better) biere de gardes can be had for less. Moreover, Lost Abbey has far better offerings. Still, it's a nice little beer. Fans of the style will likely enjoy it. The berry in particular is quite enjoyable.

C+

Photo of feloniousmonk
4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I like the beers of Lost Abbey, that I've had (not many, but I'm trying) and I greatly respect Tomme Arthur's skill...but the label copy really honks me, man!
Check this out: "Grab a seat on the porch, some soft cheese, and a tree ripened apple from your grandmother's old orchard."
What the Hell? Who can they possibly be addressing here?
Sorry, gang, I live on the fourth floor of an apartment, I'm fresh out of cheese, and neither of my dead grandmothers ever owned an orchard, old or new!
Way to make me feel inadequate!
Makes it kind of hard to "relax and watch the evening arrive as the afternoon sun is consumed by the illuminating moon"? Especially since I'm having it at midnight, as I look out the window at sparse lit skyscrapers of the downtown skyline, as motorists buzz home like bees on the freeway below
Can't I just drink it in my living room, with a slice of pizza, while stroking my cat?

Anyway...

Hazed straw yellow, smallish white head as it sits in my chalice.

Citrus and bread aroma, light spice, rather nice! Rustic and refined at the same time.

More of that climbs on board the tongue, soft and luscious, waves on waves of flavor, ending in satisfaction, finishes even and dry. A little lemon, a little peach, more spices, and plenty of toasted malt.

Beautiful beer, a great companion for food.
I mean, tree ripened apples from my grandmother's old orchard, of course.

Photo of drabmuh
3.3/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle shared by Darrell, thanks.

Beer is yellow with a slight haze with a decent but short lasting head of small and medium bubbles that leaves only a little lacing on the glass. Carbonation is moderate to low. Looks OK.

Aroma is odd with almost a harsh bitterness to it but it's not hoppy. The bitterness is coming from some sort of yeast / grain, it's not too offputting but it's not what I expected.

Beer is medium bodied and boring. There is nothing of note that would make you think that this beer is a Biere de Garde. It has that graininess that I feared from the aroma at the back end of the mouth. I suppose when push comes to shove it's just an OK beer, a pretty big disappointment for me personally.

Photo of jwc215
3.37/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Thanks to nacir69 for this one -

Pours hazed golden. When finishing off the bottle, it was very murky. A thin head almost immediately disappears.

The smell is of caramel, bready yeast and some vague fruitiness.

The taste is of bready yeast, caramel and a touch of banana fruitiness. Herbal notes are restrained, but peek through at times. Sweet, with a warming alcohol finish.

Light-to-medium-bodied,. A bit too yeasty - in a bland doughy way - for me. Maybe they need to take the malt up a notch. Bottom line - not a bad stab at the style, but it falls short of anything approaching greatness or "standing out" for the style.

Got another from bitterbill - thanks Bill!

Photo of superspak
4.1/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750 ml bottle into tulip glass, no bottle dating. Pours hazy golden orange color with a nice 3 finger fluffy white head with great retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lingers. Nice foamy lacing clings to the glass. Aromas of big apple, pear, pepper, orange peel, caramel, bread, floral, grass, coriander, earth, honey, light funk, and herbal. Damn nice aromas with great balance and complexity. Taste of pear, apple, pepper, citrus peel, coriander, bread, caramel, clove, honey, floral, grass, earth, and herbal spiciness. Lingering notes of light fruits, citrus, pepper, bread, coriander, clove, caramel, floral, grass, honey, and herbal spiciness on the finish for a good bit. Great balance and complexity of flavors; with a very nice malt and yeast spiciness balance; with zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium-high carbonation and medium bodied; with a very smooth, crisp, and lightly prickly mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a slight warming noticed after the finish. Overall this is an excellent Biere de Garde style. Very nice flavor complexity and balance; very smooth and crisp to sip on. Really enjoyed this one.

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Avant Garde from The Lost Abbey
85 out of 100 based on 659 ratings.