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Avant Garde | The Lost Abbey

very good
342 Reviews
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Avant GardeAvant Garde

Brewed by:
The Lost Abbey
California, United States | website

Style: Bière de Garde

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
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.

Added by xlperro on 05-12-2006

User Reviews
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Reviews: 342 | Ratings: 689
Photo of brentk56
3.78/5  rDev -0.5%
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

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.5/5  rDev -7.9%
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.

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Photo of John_M
4.44/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on tap at the Brickskeller. This might well have been my favorite Lost Abbey beer from the Tomme Arthur tasting.

The beer pours a hazy orange honey color. The beer has very good head retention and lacing. On the nose.... wow! All kinds of crazy aromas, including red candy apple, vanilla and hard candy. The initial impression on the palate is that of a sweet tasting, Belgium style beer, but there is a good hop bite in the finish, and it almost seems dry at the end. Flavors on the palate include honey, butter, apple, vanilla and melon. The beer has a long, smooth finish, and the abv. is well disguised. Hence, despite the abv., the beer is very, very drinkable.

A very fine beer indeed....

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Photo of yelterdow
3.14/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Served at just over cellar temperature, this 750ml corked and caged bottle was acquired through the Rare Beer Club in 2006. Poured into a Duvel tulip for maximum rewards.

Appearance- Pours a surprisingly crystal clear honey orange color, it's absolutely *glowing* in the glass. On a traditional pour, the head pushes three fingers in an awkward, stumbling fashion... the crown just looks messy. As the beer settles, we've got a thin, dissonent mat that offers no lacing.

Smell- Tremendous malt notes and a dollop of honey... there are definitely some faint hops rounding out the nose, notably Saaz and a few other familiar spicy Belgian types. It almost seems like there is a barrel-aged character about the aroma, though I'm not sure this ever touched wood... *hehe*... he said "wood".

Taste- Sweet, syrupy honey flavors dominate the entrance into the mouth... the middle offers a toasted malt character with some alcohol burn, not too detracting but a little out of balance. The swallow is where this beer goes south... the mouth-stinging afterburn combined with bone dry hops are not impressive.

Mouthfeel- The weight changes radically once the liquid has a chance to explore the mouth... thin at first, it swells to a slicker, more enjoyable texture as time goes on. The swallow is relatively quiet and nice.

Drinkability- With the belly warmth and accompanying fuzziness about the limbs, I'm quite surprised this beer weighs in at only 7%. I'm glad to have tried this obscure brew from the West Coast, however it won't leave any lasting impression.

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Photo of adowney523
3.73/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 750 mL corked bottle into a snifter glass. Appearance is cloudy and a sort of golden-brown. The white head retains well and has great lacing.

Mostly pineapple and alcohol on the nose.

The malt base is doughy. Hops are citrusy and finish along with a kick of alcohol. Faint floral esters also present.

Medium-bodied with some residual sweetness for the mouthfeel. Drinkability is above-average.

Overall, pretty good but did not live up to my higher expectations.

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Photo of MiScusi
4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap, Port Brewing Company, July '07.
I like this beer a lot better from the tap, it is very drinkable and has a nice crisp and mild tartness to it- the kind of flavor that can be described by the word "twang." Score updated to Tap version.

From 750mL bottle. May '06.
Poured a clear golden/light orange with a frothy, well-developed head. The smell at first was very sour and musty/earthy. I know it is suppose to smell like that somewhat, but it wasn't pleasing at all. As it warmed up a little bit of sweetness, and maybe the honey it was brewed with came through more in the aroma, as well as a little banana character. The taste at first had a lot of light malt & alcohol flavor, though a touch of sweetness was thrown in at warmer temps in the form of banana nut. Earthy notes lingered in the finish as well.

Nothing really wrong with the mouthfeel. The drinkability got low marks because by the end of the glass I really didn't feel like finishing it. As much as I wanted to like this beer I just couldn't. Maybe it is more of an acquired taste. The only other Biere de Garde I've had was way too heavy on the banana nut flavor but I would say it was overall more pleasant than this one.
4 / 2.5 / 3.5 / 4 / 3

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
4/5  rDev +5.3%
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.

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Photo of Abita45
3.79/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer didn't really make a huge impact on me. It was very good, but pretty even all the way around. Nothing in particular really jumped out at me, except for maybe the color which I liked. It is a deep gold color almost bordering on orange. A sunset gold color. There was a faint earth and citrus aroma but nothing really pronounced. There was no head to speak of nor lacing on the glass. Not unlike its aroma, it has an earthy, ripe sweetness and a palatteable breadiness that makes the beer very even in taste and body. It has a nice heft in body, but is still very easy to drink and the tastes help make it very refreshing. Without a doubt, a very good, sublte example of the style, but not a beer that overwhelmed me.

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Photo of Sephiroth
4.42/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to IntriqKen for my birthday present. The bottle looks nice, pours average enough. Smells fruity from the yeast, a little spicy.

Tastes like it came straight from Belgium. Bready, biscuity malt, enough earthy hops to create a barely bitter finish. A little phenolic fruitiness. Mouthfeel is medium bodied, finishes clean.

I have taken the advice on the label and paired this with a Granny Smith apple, some French Bread(bad imitation), and Port Salud cheese. It makes a nice ploughman's lunch at 2:45 AM, which is dinner for me after closing the bar.

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Photo of hoppymeal
3.71/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy peach, light copper with a small white head. Aroma is some honey sweetness mixed with lemons, some sweet and tart apple along with a grassiness. Very subtle and soft sweetness up front in the taste, some lemon and tartness mid taste mix with a peppery and grassy finish. Also some graininess in the taste with some apple and alcohol in the finish and aftertaste. Light to medium body finishes crisply. A refreshing beer that would be great for a picnic in the spring.

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Photo of doppelmeup
4.2/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Many thanks to Irishsnake for sending this to me during Secret Santa 2006.

This was my first Biere de Garde.

Poured a very pretty golden yellow with about a half inch head.

Aromas were mild. Slightly hoppy and slightly yeasty.

Taste was very good. Slightly dry, slightly yeasty. Went very well with some swiss cheese I was snacking on.

Good mouthfeel. Left a nice, clean palate.

Overall, a very drinkable beer and highly recommended!

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Photo of Boto
4.08/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle: I’m happy to see some of their beers making it to the east coast now. This one pours a dark, clear golden color with only a small, non-lasting head. The aroma is pleasant. Some yeastiness, spices and apples. Taste has notes of malt, apples and spice. Tastes somewhat sweet, yet with a dry finish. This is nice.

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Photo of stephendr
3.68/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml. bottle. - color of pale gold , with a frothy white head - nose of sour apple (green) , yeast , anise , malt , citrus (orange peel), grass , spices , and slight candied (pears or apricots )– taste of sour grass , chalky , cobwebs , candied orange , honey , alcohol , and cloves - body is dry , well carbonated , but creamy – aftertaste of honey , yeast , and dry

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Photo of GClarkage
3.58/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12/01/06- Rceived as part of a trade with Jetsbeer.

Presentation- 750ml bottle, both caged and corked. No freshness dating found. Poured into my St Bernardus chalice.

Appearance- Off orange-rust colored pour. Slight 1/4 inch head which leaves behind nice lace streaks.

Smell- Fairly high level of dark malts. Spicy white pepper with a sugary fruitcake flavor. Alcohol noticed as well.

Taste- Pretty well hopped per style. Good biiterness from the lightly fruited hops. Peppered spices combined with a sugary caramel malt base. A bit tartness in the flavor. Really suprised at the deep malt flavor.

Mouthfeel- Semi dry with an average crisp carbonation. Nice bitter aftertaste.

Drinkability- Really nice brew with some interesting qualities. Worth a try.

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Photo of hopsaplenty
3.18/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

750ml brown bottle, no date information.

Honey gold with a thick parchment cap topped with big bubbles. Slowly settling to a thin skim, dots of lace a left behind. Swirling, fast moving columns of fine bubbled carbonation break the surface. The aromas are of bread dough, green apples, honey, cracked peppercorns, and Anjou pears. The flavor of warm white bread drizzled with honey opens up into sweet apple and pear flesh. Plenty of peppery spice works itself through the finish. There is a fair amount of fruit sweetness as well as a bit of lemon pith which arrives at the tail end. As it warms a bit of alcohol becomes noticeable. Medium body with an initially tingle carbonation, this calms down to become almost still. This became a bit monotonous during consumption, and it seemed to be missing some spark.

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Photo of IntriqKen
3.38/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This fills the goblet with aprocot colored hazy liquid toped with a full finger of white head that melts to craggy top-covering goodness.
The smell is musty, toasted malt with a definite earthiness and powdery dryness that seems to evolve into slightly sweet amber malts.
Mouthfeel is both watery and foamy from the abundant carbonation. Sharp bitterness hits the tip of the tongue first then slips away to dry, earthiness.
The flavors are very different from the smells although some of the same adjectives describe them both.
Sharp orange-peel.
Lightly toasted malt.
Mists of honey.
....then, drying with the reminder of both orange and grapefruit peel bitter hops.
Interesting...definitely an American take on the style.

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Photo of drewbage
4.1/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a nice fresh bottle into a tall Triple Karmeliet glass.

Hazy pale orange brown with a low white flat head that is sticky throughout out the glass.

Aroma is spicy nutmeg, mushrooms and a grassy hop tone to finish.

Flavor is toasty biscuity malt with a seriously earthy fungual mushroomy touch that is cut with a combination of cinnamon and hops. Big carbonic acid driven zing to the beer.

Overall, a good beer that's very agressive with it's flavor profile in comparison to a classical BdG. Not bad, just different and it would be better with a drier finish.

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Photo of jamie2dope
4.04/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

It came down between this and a Saison I really like at the store, but since I have not tried this style yet, I thought it might be good to try something new. The look of this beer was very impressive, with a hazed orange color, and a perfect looking white head. Smell did not reveal too much, though I suspect it might have been because it was sitting in the fridge for quite a while. Smells I did pick up were pepper, yeast, and some interesting funk you might find in a Saison. Taste was a big improvement. It starts off crisp and somewhat bitter, then ends slightly fruity, with the yeasty funk still present. It also displayed some dry champaign character in it's overall taste. I was also somewhat surprised that it was sort of syrupy. I was expecting something much more on the light side. I want to drink this beer all night...I should have bought two bottles. This was a real treat, and a great introduction to this interesting style. Great art work on the label as well. Well done.

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Photo of Franchise
4.32/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This offering from Lost Abbey pours a foggy orange with tiny carbonation bubble leaving a strong brown eggshell head on top of this beauty. The aroma is yeasty, fruity, dough, hay and grass. The taste starts sharp tart and lovely with enough sweetness to balance that bitter tartness upfront. The alcohal is warming and in control in this one. Followed by a bitter herbal hoppy and grass notes, hay, lemon grass, orange, citrus rind tarness, refreshing high carbonation make this finish fantastic and one helluva beer.

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Photo of Sammy
3.7/5  rDev -2.6%
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

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Photo of ggaughan
3.97/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sampled at the Monk's Cafe Lost Abbey beer dinner. The beer poured a golden color with a slightly hazy body and a medium white ring around the glass. The aroma was of sweet tarts and a bit earthy. The taste had more of the sweet tart quality and a wheaty character to it with a touch of bitterness on the back end, making for a medium body and easy drinking beer.

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Photo of Jredner
3.24/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

750 ml bottle. Aroma is bready and grassy with lots of floral and citric notes. The body is dull golden color and holds a diminishing thumb thick white head. Fore is bitter and herbal-like with some dry fruit notes and a green herbal-bitter finish reminiscent of the fore flavor, but even more concentrated. Seems to lack appropriate carbonation level as well.

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Photo of wcudwight
4.01/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured a bright copper color into a tulip glass. Nice sticky 3 finger off-white head from an agressive pour. Nice lasting head with wonderful sticky lacing.
Smells of lemon, fresh cut grass and hay bails.
I've never had this style before and I must say I like it. Nice mixture of sweetness, bitterness, and fruitiness. Starts off mildly sweet with hints of spice and fruit. Green apple comes to mind and a nice bitter finish. Lemon/Lime in the finish.
Mouthfeel is carbonated and dry but fits this particular beer very well.
This is very drinkable. Would go good with a meal, could be a meal, and is sessionable.
I really enjoyed this and think I'll investigate this style further.
Thanks to boolshot and Marvz and the Double Trouble BIF for the enlightenment.

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Photo of rajendra82
3.55/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Received in a trade from BA dogfoodog, this 750 ml. brown bomber came corked, and caged. The uncorking went smoothly, and the beer was poured out into goblet, where it sat golden pale in color, clear, and mildly but steadily carbonated. The steady streamers formed a thin head that refused to go away. The floral and hay aroma was delicate and gave subtle hints of orange peel, and an occasion whiff of earthy yeast. The taste was sweeter than I was expecting, with a toasted maltyness similar to an American Amber Ale. Spices were too light to provide a lot of balance, and there was no hop presence, so the malt pretty much dominated the palate. It had a medium thick body and felt soft in the mouth, and was quite soothing. A good beer to have in autumn, as the back side label seems to suggest.

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Photo of bradford
3.77/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had at Toronado in S.F. from their bottle selection. For a beer as hard to find in Northern California at a bar, it was very reasonably priced. Around $9.00 for a 750ml corked and caged bottle. Looks like your average Biere de Garde, pale amber in color with a good sized head pouring from bottle. Fragrent odor of citrus, a very nice yeasty taste and silky moutfeel. This went down smooth despite the 7% abv. But maybe that was because I was about 3 pints deep of Pliny the Elder. A very good beer. Nothing I would seek out terribly hard and not Port's best effort. But a very good beer. I don't think they make anything that isn't.

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Avant Garde from The Lost Abbey
86 out of 100 based on 342 ratings.