Dismiss Notice
Get FREE shipping on all US orders of $25 or more from the BeerAdvocate Store.

No promo code required. Offer valid through 4/30.

Ready to gear up? Start shopping →

Avant Garde | The Lost Abbey

very good
342 Reviews
no score
Send samples
For Trade:
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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 342 | Ratings: 688
Photo of Monkeyknife
3.83/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle deep clear orange color with a finger of off-white head.

Aroma of orange peel, tropical fruits, honey, cracker, and light earthy notes.

Tasted of light orange citrus with caramel malts, cracker, and booze.

Medium bodied and dry with a moderate carbonation.

Very nice. I quite enjoyed this one.

 320 characters

Photo of normyk
3.98/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Big thanks to Jason for this. I'm into the style so am super excited to try.

Looks: pretty! Nice amber, no lace, no head. Slick looking.
Aroma: I get the aroma where others are missing it. Not that I can describe it - it smells like biere de gaarde. Hints of oak, nice smooth sour nose, though ai can't really describe what makes it nice. It hits the right notes for style but doesn't hit you in the face.
Taste: yum. Good oily biere de gaarde. However you spell it. This is yummy like the JP Biere de Mars. Very enjoyable, but subtle. Not a big hit of sour, but a really tasty treat all the same.
Mouthfeel: not fizzy. Slick and kind of oily. Not as good as taste. I'd like to feel more than the slickness.
Overall: tasty! Could be better - mouthfeel is a bit of a letdown. Still very nice beer and super stoked to try.

 821 characters

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.41/5  rDev -10.3%
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.

 537 characters

Photo of Gavage
3.93/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: pours a dark orange color with a nice two finger head that lingers around a while. Some lace develops during the session.

Smell: grass, fruit sweetness, and a hint of spice is what the nose picks up here.

Taste: grass, pear, golden apple, a bit of earthiness, some pepper spice, and a moderate bitterness make up a well balanced beer.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied. Crisp throughout, somewhat dry at the finish. Refreshing.

Overall: a solid tasty beer where one can have more that one glass in a session. Very quaffable.

 531 characters

Photo of kojevergas
3.12/5  rDev -17.9%
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.


 1,881 characters

Photo of draheim
3.5/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap @ the Lost Abbey brewery in San Marcos. Pours a clear golden color with a light white head, some lacing, minimal carbonation.

Aroma is slightly flowery, subtle, muted.

Taste is pale grainy malt and some slight Belgian funk, accompanied by a slight hint of tartness. Everything seems a bit muddled.

Overall this is not what I expect from a Bière de Garde. Lacks the vinous quality, the carbonation... just didn't measure up to the few other versions I've had in this style.

 483 characters

Photo of russwbeck
3.56/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A: Very bubbly hazy yellow to orange pour with a huge white head. Bubbles rush to the top of the beer constantly throughout the enjoyment of the beer. Retention and lacing are both above average.

S: The aroma is so subtle. Grass, yeast, malt, not much else. Multiple huge whiffs really return a very faint aroma.

T: The taste, as I've found with other beers in this style, is basically sweet and mute. Malts, yeast, ans sugar without much else going on. I like it, but it doesn't do anything special for me.

MF: Light, over-carbonated, hardly any finish. It's pretty drinkable if the sweetness doesn't get to you.

O: This isn't worth how expensive it is, plain and simple. Glad I tried it, would never foot the bill again.

 726 characters

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.21/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a nice blonde yellow, much like many of the acclaimed belgian strong pale ales with its glow and virgin white head. Aroma was more bready than pale, but the pungent belgian yeast esters were here. Lemons and spice in a restrained amount.

one of the light and bready beers, thats impressive when you can pull it off, but not necessarily going to bbe something I'm all about as a recurring customer. I'm not a biere de garde guy, but as far as they go, this one is decent enough. There's a fine hop quality, very small, built with a belgian yeast, light body but bready quality that is probably a relatively difficult beer to pull off.

 641 characters

Photo of biglobo8971
2.83/5  rDev -25.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

poured from bottle into tulip
A - very beautiful beer, almost a rosey amber color. Great 1 inch head with thick lacing the whole drink
S - nothing, I tried and tried. Did not get any aroma at all, even let it warm up quite a bit while drinking hoping something would come through. It did not.
T - very muted, not one flavor stands out to me. It is a well crafted beer, but the taste is very average.
M - very easy to drink, I kept going back for more. Wish the other characteristics were as good.
O - average at best, was hoping for more. Disapointed in this one.

 563 characters

Photo of rodenbach99
3.08/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

750ml brown bottle with cork. Thanks to Julien and Pierre-Luc. Golden blond ale, a white thick head is on top. The nose is unidimentional, grainy and fruity (cherry). The grain is omnipresent and ackward. The taste doesn't differ from the nose with grain and maize. Some hops in the aftertaste. Medium bodied. Overall an easy drinking bière de garde that would have benefit from less grain and more malt (!!)

 409 characters

Photo of tbern007
3.41/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had this one at the Crowfoot Valley in CR, CO.
Pours hazy golden, light amber, orange. Huge white head, good lace.
Scent is light pale malt, grass, a little bit of yeast.
Taste is of yeast, grass, pale malt, a tiny bit of peach and lemon. Initial taste is better than after. Finishes a bit bitter and peppery, dry.
Light mouthfeel. A little light on the carbonation.
Overall decent but I probably wouldn't get it again. So many others out there to try....

 459 characters

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

Picked up a bottle at the local store. No dates.

A - The bee was poured to a globe glass and poured a hazy golden yellow/orange color with a huge 3 finger white bubbly head. Nice retention and lacing throughout. Looks outstanding.

S - Mild yeast aroma as well as a variety of malted grains on the nose. Not as powerful as I was expected but pleasant.

T - The beer starts similar to the nose in that mild yeast flavors and malt bill coats the palette just as you'd expect from the aroma. Hides the alcohol extremely well and easy to drink. Mild bitterness. Finishes clean and smooth.

M - Lighter bodied with good carbonation. Smooth.

O - A good beer I could see myself drinking a lot of. I liked the grain bill and crisp light nature of the beer. Enjoyable.

Note: This review was a re-post from my former account, jmkratt, which was hacked and I lost all my reviews...sorry for the redundancy.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 04-25-2011 13:00:35

 955 characters

Photo of Philousa
3.79/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Imbibed on tap at the Lost Abbey tasting room 12/31/2011.

Poured a warm golden amber with a thin layer of white head. Nearly clear in appearance. Lots of subtle fruit aromas, strawberry stood out the most, followed by nutty, sugary malt. Sweet hops in the background, lurking. The nutty, fruity barley malt is the showcase. The barely-there hops balance it out so it isn't too sweet. This isn't Lambic sweet, but more of a slight fruity/nectar sweet. The feel is a bit malty with a dry finish.

I was won over with this beer's fruity tendencies. The sweeter side of the malts are uncovered over time, almost rewarding you for continuing to drink and discover. I am always complaining that Belgian beers have too much candied sugar in them. Well, this beer seems to know how to solve that. Please make the malt for your Dubbels more like this one! I had to get some to go, and will look for this in local stores as well.

 921 characters

Photo of scottyg354
4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Golden yellow with a huge head each pour, the head was actually overwheling at times, sometimes 5-6 fingers high.

S: Funk, Lemons and some spice and bread.

T:Lemony and Spice, bready an funky. Def tastes more like a Saison than anything, maybe with a little wild ale character as well.

M: Crisp and fluffy almost reminded me of a heffe or wit. Goes down smoth.

O: Not a bad beer, paired this up with some brie and wassa crackers. Worked out pretty well. Would be a good weeknight beer on a hot summer night.

 514 characters

Photo of BucannonXC5
3.44/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a tap into a pint glass at Vine Cottage in San Diego (La Mesa), Calif. Caramel color with about 1 ¼ inches of foamy head. Nice lacing on the top, while the film on the sides were in rings. Very impressive looking beer.

Nothing too special on the smell, but I was 0-for-2 on the smells tonight, so who knows? I got some hints of some kind of malts and citrus hops. Kind of bland overall.

Some fruity stuff up front, but not overbearing. Slightly bitter finish. Just a tad better than the nose.

Medium body. Average-to-lively carbonation. Bitter on the tongue after.

A bit disappointed for my first (EDIT: second) Lost Abbey beer. The look was the part of his beer.

 681 characters

Photo of spicelab
3.7/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bomber thanks to [email protected] Liquor.

Bright and clear orange with a very large white head. Leaves good lace trails and a raised ring.

Pretty sweet and vibrant nose, showing refined honey, pear and boiled sweets with interesting nutty undertones. Touch of lemon and grapefruit pith save it from being a total sweetfest.

That is, until you encounter the full-on candy floss sweetness in the taste. Still get plenty of nutty, woody notes, but slightly less clarity around the elements detected in the nose.

Sticky and relatively full mouthfeel. Pretty busy carbonation and mild astringency on the mid-palate.

Nicely made and drinks well, without pushing any boundaries. Lacks X-factor, though who's to say Lost Abbey thought this needed it.

 744 characters

Photo of ehammond1
3.78/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

On Tap

Churchill's Pub & Grille
San Marcos, CA

Auburn and rust with a thick and tight white soapy head that stays perched atop the glass. Rings of sticky lacing slide down the glass. Beautiful.

A combination of bread, mild yeast, and lemon in the nose.

Slight Belgian yeast tang and a bit of spice present in flavor. A bit of sweet fruit and caramel malt but a very mild tasting beer in nearly every regard.

The mouthfeel is the star of the show with this beer. Highly carbonated, luscious yet smooth, full and bold yet smooth and easy drinking. No alcohol presence. Impressive.

An easy drinking Biere de Garde that pairs and drinks well with food.

 655 characters

Photo of Mora2000
4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Always happy to try a new beer from Lost Abbey.

The beer pours a golden-orange color with a large white head. The aroma is full of flowers and apricots, with some candy sugar and Belgian yeast notes also coming through.

The flavor is similar. I get a lot of orange citrus notes, as well as some very sweet floral notes and some biscuit malt. The candy sugar and alcohol also come through.

Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

 434 characters

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

Pours a lovely clear amber with a very thick and rather persistent white head. Crisp, malty aroma has a sharp fruity tone like a good cider. Satisfying flavor is mainly malty and has an undertone of sour apple, not complex but fine for sipping. Smooth, firm-bodied texture has a fair amount of fizz, and it leaves a malty, fruity, slightly woody finish.

 353 characters

Photo of mltobin
4.12/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I picked up a 750mL bottle of this while driving through Mass.

Poured this de Garde into a large wine glass and it has a light golden tone with one finger of bright white head. It has a smell of fruit, such as pear and orange, also some spices. There are some malts as well with a bit of earthiness to it. Upon sipping, I can taste pepper. hops, cloves and yeast. All of it is balanced very nicely. MF is medium in the body with a similar carbonation level. All in all, this is one of the Biere de Gardes that stands out for me. Not an inexpensive beer, but worth it.

 568 characters

Photo of Travisnin
3.61/5  rDev -5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: pours a beautiful copper color, nice mellow lacing.

S: smell is of citrus and spice.

T: bland coming from a lost abbey ale but overall not a bad tast. It is something I could drink in the heat. The tast is small compared to the tast though.

M: lots if carbonation

O: a little disappointed in this as I am normally blown away by any lost abbey beer. Maybe I'm just not a huge fan of biere de gardes? I give it a 4 out of 5

 429 characters

Photo of Derek
4.12/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Hazy bronze with a white head, some retention, light lace.

S: Light acidic aroma, pineapple, mango, light phenolic spicing, citrus rind, wheaty biscuit, a little grassy.

T: Candied pineapple, pappaya, mango, phenolic spicing, slight funk (Brett?), marmalade, wheaty biscuit.

M: Body is on the heavier side of moderate, hint of acidity, off-dry with a slightly drying alcohol finish.

D/O: A good drinker and overall a good crafted brew.

 442 characters

Photo of LiquidBread219
3.5/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750mL bottle with a cork and cage seal.

A=It poured nice white head with a slight amber color but mostly a Golden color. It was a little Hazy in color. Looks pretty Good. Some lacing

S=I pick up a scent of fruit (apricot) and mostly spice notes on the nose

T=The taste is nice get the spice notes in the taste more don't get that much of the fruit notes from the nose.

M=The mouthfeel is decent (medium style) the one thing I just thought it was kind of overcarbonated

O=Overall a nice enjoyable beer, refreshing and light goes really goes down good and is refreshing.

 573 characters

Photo of mactrail
2.92/5  rDev -23.2%
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.

 588 characters

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

Another brew with thanks from Mrkennedy and it pours a hazy yellow golden hue which leaves a two finger head that slowly settles down to a one finger layer and little clingy lacing,the smell is baked bread,yoghurt,honey and vanilla,the mouthfeel is medium-full bodied and very nice for the style almost like liquid bread but the tastes of baked bread,honey,candied pears,light boiled candy and warming stonefruit towards the end dont really jump out at me to say WOW its more of just a good Biere de Garde than a great one cheers.

 530 characters

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