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Avant Garde - The Lost Abbey

Not Rated.
Avant GardeAvant Garde

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

618 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 618
Reviews: 332
rAvg: 3.79
pDev: 9.76%
Wants: 31
Gots: 47 | FT: 1
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:
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 added by: xlperro on 05-12-2006)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 618 | Reviews: 332 | Display Reviews Only:
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?


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.

feloniousmonk, Jan 30, 2008
Photo of dfillius
4.08/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter.
A: Cloudy with a golden-tan fizzy head. Head quickly subsides to a very thin ring.
S: Bread, yeast, slight alcohol, a very little citrus, apple peel or a dehydrated apple smell.
T: Light apple, cooked squash
M: Smooth and round feeling.
D: I could have another.

dfillius, Jan 24, 2008
Photo of RblWthACoz
3.85/5  rDev +1.6%
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.

RblWthACoz, Dec 31, 2007
Photo of wheelinshirt
3.53/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 mL bottle into a wide tulip glass. Nice label, first lost abbey beer, looking forward to this.

As soon as the cork came out i got some nice funk, poured a light, clear yellow orange with a very bubbly head that receded to almost nothing and left little lacing. Smell was surpisingly dull after the initial burst of funk, but what was there was some nice belgian sweetness.

Taste is...dry. Really underwhelming in the taste department. i mean, I like that it is dry, it makes it very enjoyable and easy to drink, but in addition i would like some brett funk or some fruity yeast notes or something to really wow me.

Good mouthfeel and good drinkability, got super cloudy as the bottle went down from all the delicious yeast sediment. Some fruitiness did pop through in the taste around the middle of the first glass, but it was very fleeting and didn't seem to come back at all. Overall, a good beer, but not worth the price. I was really expecting a grand slam here--more like a single.

wheelinshirt, Dec 23, 2007
Photo of cookin420
3.38/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

bottle poured into chalice.
huge white head over very pale, translucent beer with yellows and oranges.
Smells sweet. Figs and apples.
Wow, This does not taste like it smells. Quite dry, I taste bitter citrus fruits and their zests. This is a very complex but easily palatable ale.
Fairly viscous. low to moderate carbonation and a pleasant dry mouthfeel make this a silky brew to tip.
Drinkability is quite nice.
good beer. almost worth 12 bucks.

cookin420, Dec 22, 2007
Photo of RustyDiamond
4.03/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed this week on the back porch, with our unusual 70 degree weather. Poured into an Allagash White glass. Bright orange color with a yellowish tint at the bottom. Gorgeous looking glass, with a pillowy three fingers of white foamy head. Aroma of dry biscuit, honey, wheat and with a faint touch of lemon zest. Refreshing taste of spice, light orange wheat & green apple. Dry, semi-hop finish. Highly enjoyable.

RustyDiamond, Dec 13, 2007
Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.88/5  rDev +2.4%
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.

BuckeyeNation, Dec 12, 2007
Photo of Overlord
3.68/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy orange yellow. Bit of white carbonation, quickly gone, then not much after that.

Mouthfeel is dry, has some good body. Pine needles, some citrus, a couple different malts/yeasts in the background: complex, dry champagne-esque finish that seems to show up now and again in Lost Abbey beers.

Not my favorite, but good.

Overlord, Dec 09, 2007
Photo of WesWes
3.68/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The beer pours a nice gold color with a thick frothy white head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a dry, toasted malt scent that boasts of pale and victory malts. It's quite inviting with a slight yeast fruitiness. There is definately a bit of mustiness as well. The taste is decent. It has a very rich malt flavor that boasts of pale, Munich, and Victory malts. It goes down easy and finishes with a fruity yeast presence as well as a mild warming. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a decent drinking beer. I'm not sure this is my favorite style, but this one is pretty good.

WesWes, Nov 27, 2007
Photo of Bitterbill
4.1/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This pours from 750ml caged and corked bottle a cloudy orange amber with a 2finger head of foam. Lots of nice sticky lacing.

The smell has a ton of fruity notes to it. Apricot, plum, citrus...and there's some candy sugar there as well as some funk. Love it.

The taste is a nice mix of the fruit along with healthy portions of funk and candy sugar and yeast. There's a nice bitter bite near and right through the finish. It has a medium mouthfeel and it's lightly carbonated. More sips in and I get some earthiness along with some bready flavour. Tasty. The funk is really hitting my taste buds in a positive way and I can't help but take more sips. The alcohol is hidden well and helps make for some very good drinkability. Man, that aftertaste really is bitter! it kind of over powers all of the other flavours I enjoyed. Still, I like this beer and I can recommend it.

Purchased from Southbay Drugs and Liquors. Thanks, Joey!

Bitterbill, Nov 24, 2007
Photo of akorsak
3.88/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A 750 mL corked and caged bottle courtesy of tangfoot in the I Want That BIF.

A: The ale pours a lighter amber color, leaning more towards the yellow end of the spectrum. A haze pervades the entire glass, casting a dull appearance on the beer. Carbonation-wise, the head does little at first but does leave hints of lace around the glass.

S: The aroma is dominated by a funky barnyard aroma that I've never seen in a biere de garde. The tartness takes over all aspects, drowning out what should be a sturdy malt profile.

T: The first sip reveals the deeper malt strength that I expected from the nose. Those malt notes are sweeter, taking on a flavor that is marzen-like in its sweetness. The funk from the nose is present, but it is muted significantly. Back to the malts, they do betray a relatively higher alcohol, with some warmth coming off of the tongue. The lasting impression on the palate is a dry, vegetal malt flavor.

M: The barnyard element is refreshing, leaving a lasting dryness in the mouth that, with the malty sweetness, is very enjoyable.

D: I am generally not a big fan of the style, but this one has a nice malt base and funkiness that makes me look forward to each sip.

akorsak, Nov 23, 2007
Photo of Billolick
4.35/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Belgian bomber, caged and corked, no fresness info. Pours apricot, cloudy, gauzy eggshell head, leaving thick film, tiny bubble sheen and plenty of ringed and delicate lacing. The nose I pick up is minty, yeasty and fruity. Light peppery notes, yeasty goodness, nutty, caramel, complex, tasty, heady, another high class, BA worthy brew from Lost Abbey. The only problem I have with this brewery is that they do not distribute to NY state...

Billolick, Nov 05, 2007
Photo of rxdrewthejew
3.85/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured out of the bottle into my tulip glass. Didn't have any fresh baked bread and soft chesse to eat along with it, as the bottle suggested, so I made do with some store-bought sliced bread and babybell.

A: Hazy, orange and yellow depending on the light. Looks somewhat like filtered apple cider. Bubbly with a thick white head which slowly dissapears.

S: Strong bready/yeasty smell. Crisp malt, honey and spices.

T: Bready as it smells. More hops than I had expected, the bitterness hits but quickly fades. Spicy/peppery alcohol, honey and flowers, and a strong malty base.

MF: Quite carbonated, but not to the point of being unpleasant. Light, but strong warming and a filling beer.

D: The alcohol is bigger then it should be, but a great flavor and a nice sipping beer. As I said, a very filling beer. Haven't had much experience with this style, but more complex and flavorful than the New Belgium Biere de Mars, in my opinion. This is a great beer to wind down a long day. A solid offering.

rxdrewthejew, Oct 23, 2007
Photo of EPICAC
3.73/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a clear golden with a thin foamy head. The white head fades to a film leaving patchy lace.

Smell: The aroma is light. Caramel maltiness, citrus, herbal and spicy alcohol.

Taste: Toasty maltiness that moves into a light sweetness. The finish is peppery with a light but persistent bitterness.

Mouthfeel: High carbonation. Light-bodied, crisp.

Drinkability: Tasty and well balanced.

EPICAC, Oct 23, 2007
Photo of Mryup
3.43/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Pours a cloudy golden honey with 1/2 an inch of white sparse head that I'm surprised to find holds its retention quite well. Too hazy for the style.

S: Elusive hops, bread, grapes and some other unknown fruit...perhaps caramel malt. Classic ale smell with the alcohol pleading it's presence.

T: Not necessarily a simple beer but simple tasting. Bread, grapes and slight hop presence. The appearance and smell intimidates but this is actually a mild beer.

M: Deceptively heavy. Pleads lightness but it is really like swallowing liquid bread dough. Turns light at the end and carbonation is acceptable.

D: Not a pounder. A heavy beer that deceives the drinker into thinking it is a lighter beer because of appearance and mildness. Very unusual.

Lost Abbey does a nice job for the style.

Mryup, Oct 18, 2007
Photo of Gusler
3.93/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Upon its departure from the 750ml cork and caged bottle it forms a nice crown of white over the golden amber body, with the resultant lace a thin covering upon the glass. The nose has a peach like aroma, backed by the malt, crisp and clean to the senses. Start is sweet; the malt adds nice bread like taste, with the top middling. Finish has a delectable hop presence with the acidity unobjectionable, nice and dry, a fine drinking beer

Gusler, Oct 16, 2007
Photo of orbitalr0x
3.4/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I've been hanging onto this a little bit now and figured it's time to pop the cork. Pours into my glass a hazy amber/orange with a small fizzy white head that forms a ring around the top. Aromas begin with some toasted grains and caramel. A light fruity spiciness is there as well. Earthy yeast with a slight twang, baked bread with some herbal hops. This just doesn't grab me.

First sip brings a toasted grain malt upfront with a nice hit of caramel. Fruity spiciness is evident and I pick up a grape skin and green apple flavor. Flows down with a bready, yeasty aspect and some earthy tones as well. Just a slight sour twang to it. Finishes with a touch of hops. A bit dry and grainy.

Mouthfeel is on the lighter side while still having a nice creaminess to it. Ample carbonation, the beer goes down easily and is refreshing. Overall, this just doesn't match up with some of the better Biere de Garde's I've sampled. Doubt I'd seek this brew out again, but I look forward to sampling some of the other Lost Abbey brews.

orbitalr0x, Oct 08, 2007
Photo of domtronzero
4.05/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes taken last night at a friend's house.

Pours a hazy orangey golden color with a massive frothy rocky head. Lacing left through the finish. Aroma is yeasty and malty with some fruitiness. A slight grassy hoppiness is noted. Tastes malty sweet up front with some nice fruity flavors balanced well with a slight hop bitterness. Mouthfeel is exactley what I like in a beer of this style. Smooth and easy drinking with the perfect amount of carbonation to balance and give it a nice bite. Overall this is another excellent beer from the Lost Abbey brewery. I think I'm starting to like this more than their Red Barn Ale. Hmmm... that's a tough one.

domtronzero, Oct 07, 2007
Photo of Wasatch
4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml Bottle

Poured into a chalice a nice golden yellow color, nice carbonation, nice one finger creamy white head, which leaves some nice small islands and sticky lacing throught out the drink. The nose is malty, yeasty, and slightly spicy. The taste pretty much follows the nose. Medium body, a complex brew to an extent. Drinkable, this is a nice brew from LA/PB, recommended.

Wasatch, Sep 22, 2007
Photo of Stoneman78
3.53/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Received as part of my "Patron Saint" membership at Lost Abbey.
A- Pours a slightly murky gold/orange hue with a huge, white, craggy head with thick lacing that sticks to the glass
S- Nose is of yeasty and caramel malts, some nice light fruits (peach mostly), and spices, alcohol is quite noticeable too
T- Initial taste is of caramel malts and peach, followed by some bitter hops and spices, finish is dry and bit acidic in nature
M- Medium-bodied ale with adequate carbonation, texture is creamy and almost oily that coats the entire mouth
D- This is definitely a unique style, but the acidic finish puts me off quite a bit (almost an aspirin-like quality), it is also has the look and smell of a lighter Belgian, but the taste and mouthfeel feels like a heavier beer, overall it lacks any unique qualities that would make me want to get another one in the future (especially given the other great LA offerings)

Stoneman78, Sep 15, 2007
Photo of
3.65/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle, courtesy of BlindPig, I think -- Thanks!

Hazy, dark orange liquid capped by a large, creamy, ivory colored head. No lacing, minimal legs.

Aromas of citrus - tangerine?, caramel and apples. The citrus quality semed to depart after it had warmed a bit.

A well balanced beer and quite complex. Apples and raisins at the start. Very bready with a touch of caramel in the middle. Alcohol, just a bit, and some herbal notes mainly at the finish and in the aftertaste.

Medium + in body. Medium carbonation. Very refreshing.

Very tasty and well done, but a challenge to do justice to in the description. I'll happily drink it again, and I encourage you to go try it for yourself!

, Sep 06, 2007
Photo of jjayjaye
4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

I think this is my first Biere de Garde. A slightly hazy lighter golden orange color. When poured aggressively a shallow wispy white head fades in a flash. A lighter, yet interesting lacing pattern forms. As it warms up, the smell is a real kick. The complexity is challenging for me to place; sort of a sweet musty candied pear and banana, fruity yet earthy at the same time. The mouth opens with a tingle, but settles to a lighter almost watery texture as it warms up. The mild yeasty malt flavor is much less sweeter than the nose. A spicy peppery finish lingers nicely. A good drinker. Really glad that i had the opportunity to try this one. Scores points for imagination.

jjayjaye, Sep 02, 2007
Photo of DrJay
3.45/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Deep gold and slightly hazy, a thick cap of off-white soapy bubbles appeared after a hard pour. Sheets of sticky lace clung to the glass as the head slowly receded. Lemon zest and bread appeared first in the aroma, followed by notes of cereal, yeast, and ripe fruit. Most of the flavour was quite mild, a little bread and fruit, some lemon. But there was a strong, bitter clove character and alcohol warmth that overshadowed the rest and were quite distracting - the spicy bitterness lingered long into the finish all by itself too. Nice texture though, with a peppery tingle on the tongue and generous, airy carbonation. Not bad overall - I got used to the weirdness in the flavour after a while, maybe it just wasn't as prominent as it warmed. Either way, still worth a try.

DrJay, Aug 31, 2007
Photo of bosco7
4.43/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Burnt orange in color sticky looking head that leaves a sea-foam like lacing on the glass.

Soap, earth, caramel, bread, vinous, and some pear aromas.

Starts sweet with a nice caramely flavor that coats the tongue then the grain, bread and biscuit flavors take over the palate. Accompanying the bread character is grape, red apple, and pear flavors. Finishes with spicy clove and black pepper phenols.

Smooth as hell mouthfeel- like velvet. Beautiful.

I absolutely adore this beer-complex, balanced and highly consumable.

bosco7, Aug 18, 2007
Photo of walshclimb
4.53/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I like this beer. I have enjoyed everything I have tried from this brewery, and I would highly recommend any of them. I thought this beer was gorgeous. I poured a 750ml bottle into two tulip shaped glasses. It was a clear orange honey color with a thick white head that really stuck around. The body had very active bubbling, and the head left a nice bubbly lace behind. The aroma was pretty subtle with light roasted malts and slightly doughy yeast. The inital flavor was smooth and malty and qqickly evolved into a nice sour aftertaste that was mellow and a little fruity. The mouthfeel was light bodied with slightly creamy texture and a fizzy carbonation. This is a nice light summer ale with very good flavor and great appearance. It pairs nicely with simple foods like buttered bread or a selection of cheeses.

walshclimb, Aug 14, 2007
Avant Garde from The Lost Abbey
86 out of 100 based on 618 ratings.