Avant Garde - The Lost Abbey

Not Rated.
Avant GardeAvant Garde

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very good

626 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 626
Reviews: 333
rAvg: 3.79
pDev: 9.76%
Wants: 30
Gots: 48 | FT: 2
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: 626 | Reviews: 333 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of IdentityAles
4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a tulip @ ~ 45 F

Nose: Earthy, citrus tartness, melon , a little black pepper, pears and other stone fruits, slight banana and something like soap

Appearance: Clear but not brilliant, orangish (burnt) in color with a very long lasting pillow like head.

Flavor: A bit of orange citrus, some light biscuit malt, some very light spicing (not sure if yeast or spice derived), a small bitterness on the finish with a hint of earthy, nutty aspects appearing as it warms a little.

Mouthfeel: Dry on the pallet, creamy body, high carbonation.

Overall: A very inviting farmhouse ale that would be great in the summer a real thirst quencher. Wouldn't know it was 7 % ABV. two thumbs up

Photo of Oxymoron
3.85/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pushing the boundaries of what is accepted as the norm or status quo, primarily in the cultural realm. Poured with limited yeast but still had a pretty hazy appearance. Nice frothy head with the pour. Decent retention but did not last through the tasting. Limited lacing overall.

The nose is noticeable has more of a Belgian Pale aspect than Biere de Garde. Some apples, citrus, orange and more of a bready quality. Not much spicy notes but light pepper and cinnamon. Looking for more funk, barnyard, and overall esters.

The taste is similar with more bready and light Belgian malt qualities. The fruitiness comes out more with some apple and pear flavors. Some white wine characteristics too, but lighter. Noticeable herbal qualities from some yeasty and hop undertones. Again looking for more.

The body is light to mid. Carbonation is a bit high but ok. Overall this is a good beer to drink but feels more of a Belgian Pale than Biere de Garde. Very easy to drink and nice flavors but is missing style. I wonder if I were to add the yeast/sediment in next time if that would make a difference.

Photo of Floydster
4.38/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

750 ml bottle purchased from Beverage Warehouse for seven dollars and some change, split with two friends last night while watching the Clippers almost sneak out a win, poured into my Chimay goblet

A-Murky golden yellow color, one inch foamy head white head, settled pretty quickly and had minimum retention, some lacing when it was colder

S-Bready malt aromas, orange peel, green apples, funkiness, cherries, cinnamon, caramel, various spices, some booze, and caramel

T-Starts off with a slightly sweet fruity flavor, then fades into tasting like a loaf of bread, then finished with a dry but malty aftertaste, as it warmed the bready flavors stuck around and then some tart came along with some cherries even though it was very faint, also some apples and yeast, great flavor overall and extremely easy to drink

M-Chewy and dry mouthfeel, medium body, maybe too much carbonation, beer squirted everywhere when I popped the cork, nice lingering taste

D-Could drink a lot of this stuff, it is only seven percent, very light on the stomach, quenches your thirst, smooth and goes down easy, would make a great session beer except for the price tag

This beer does not get enough credit, best one of their year round releases I have tried, not a particular fan of this style and still very good, would definitely drink again, especially on tap in the tasting room next time I am down in San Marcos, recommended

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

Appearance is a hazy yellow brown with a short yellowish/white head that falls quickly to a light cover without lacing or very light bits.

The smell is bread and undefined citrus plus a bit of funk as it warms.

The taste is varied and unlike the smell. There is some sweetness, some bitterness, some very light funk and it all balances quickly so that nothing sticks out as the main attribute.

Mouthfeel is dry, carbonated and medium bodied.

Drinkability is good for this beer. It's not overpowering in any area and if you like this variety of the style. then you should have no problem with a bottle.

Photo of WanderingFool
4.15/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a tulip glass.

Lost Abbey Avant Garde pours a hazy golden color into the glass. On top, a creamy white head forms which slowly dissolves down to a thick sheet on the beer leaving behind several spots and lines of lace.

The aroma is a pleasant blend of orange citrus, apples, cinnamon and clove. Much like a Belgian pale but with a bit more fruit.

Each sip of this medium bodied beer is very smooth and soft on the palate. The flavor begins malty with a taste of toasted malt and bread. Mixed in are some fruit notes of apple and grape. At the end the hops move in with some grassy notes and a mild bite of pepper. It finishes slightly tart with an grape and pepper flavor lingering on the palate.

This is a well balanced beer with a great mouthfeel and flavor. I think aged for a year or two would make this a terrific mellow beer.

Photo of DoubleJ
3.9/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The bottle label encourages you to sit on the porch with some soft cheese and a ripened apple from the orchard as you drink this. Sounds nice, but there are some fundamental problems with that fantasy. First off, I'll be drinking this by my fireplace in the living room. Second, I don't have any soft cheese at this time (though I've had my share of cheese from the pizza I had earlier). And most distinguishly, my hometown prides itself on its orange groves, not its apple orchards. I'm excited for this rare style of beer, so let's get on to it:

A big poofy head forms on top of the golden sunset colored beer as it settles into my oversized wine glass. There's some sour funk in the aroma at first. But ripened fruits from the orchard (most notably pear) and a touch of sugary sweetness exist as well and gain dominance.

Now, I'm going to drink it, but you knew this was coming. Hmmm...freshly baked sourdough bread is the first thing that comes to mind. There's a little fruity sweetness beneath the bread. I'm not finding any other flavors yet, but I'll come back when it warms up. ... there is some sourness that's starting to come out. Or is it just the growing intensity of the sourdough bread note I hinted earlier? Seems different to me. Finishes dry.

My first bière de garde was interesting, and Port/Lost Abbey lead the way. Now I wish I had apples growing in my back yard.

Photo of benito
4.05/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I can't wait until Lost Abbey starts distributing in Colorado. Until then, I'll have to settle for the booty brought back from trips to San Diego.

Straw colored with a long-lasting, creamy, thin head. Aromas of mixed fruit (pear stands out) and light grains. Fruit flavors come through and are followed by bright, grassy hop flavors, and a persistent, dry, bitter finish. Light bodied and highly flavorful, hence the high drinkability.

Overall, this is a nice variation on the "biere de garde" tradition from Lost Abbey; it could only be improved upon if the (complex) flavors were more distinguishable and distinct. As it is, there's a somewhat low-key melange of flavors in which none stand out. The grassiness/earthiness of the hops is a good starting point and the dry finish is a nice touch as well.

All Lost Abbey beer is worth finding, though this one doesn't merit its own pilgrimage.

Photo of jwc215
3.38/5  rDev -10.8%
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 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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!

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.

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...

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

Avant Garde from The Lost Abbey
85 out of 100 based on 626 ratings.