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Avant Garde - The Lost Abbey

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Avant GardeAvant Garde

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very good

641 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 641
Reviews: 335
rAvg: 3.79
pDev: 9.76%
Wants: 31
Gots: 49 | 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: 641 | Reviews: 335 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of callmescraps
3.63/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

First Lost Abbey beer. I've heard good things, so I'm excited.

Appearance - Beautiful. Nice copper color with a serious, not pillowy head. Good carbonation.

Smell - Lots of bread and yeast with a hint of fruit. Smells like bread fresh out of the oven. Very nice, a little sweet, but not sure how much depth.

Taste - First impression is very smooth. Almost too smooth, because I'm expecting some taste to show up for the party. The a little bit of that yeast, with a tiny hop afterwards, and some sweet fruitiness. It's good, but a little subtle. Slash. Bland.

Mouthfeel - Very nicely carbonated. It's smooth and creamy and good.

Drinkability - Almost no sense of the booze, and very smooth going down. The subtlety of the brew makes this one easy to drink.

Not at all bad, but it looked so damned good, and it's so easy to drink, that you kind of wish it had a little more going on.

Photo of soupyman10
4.15/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My first try at a Lost Abbey brew (although I had the Port Brewing Co's Wipeout IPA right before it, which was also excellent). This one had a nice look to it, a deep copper with a ton of floating yeast, and a solid head and lacing. Nose is a quite nice, with caramel malt, citrus, wheat, and spices. Taste is similar, add in lots of breadiness and strong citrusy malt. Highly buttery. Light hop bitterness in the end. Overall, definitely a tasty beer, one that I'd have again.

Monk's/$13.50/750 ml

Photo of Georgiabeer
4.2/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a lustrous golden with a fine head and constantly straming bubbles. Smells of red apples and honey. Juicy and fresh aromas. The taste is like a candied red apple with a hint of cinnamon with some nice herbal bitterness at the end. Very fresh and nice. Mouthfeel is crisp and refreshing, but with an underlying sweetness and enough body and spice to keep it interesting. A very nice summer or fall refresher.

Photo of czechsaaz
4.12/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Really nice smell that includes honey, apple, very light citrus and some bread yeast aroma too. Lots of fermentation esters that give it a good spicy nose too.

Pale gold and very clear. Starts off with a big rocky head that fades to a thin layer of both fine and large bubbles. Leaves a bit of lacing as I drink it.

Flavor starts off a touch tart and funky but the backbone is solid malt with mostly honey flavor. There's a really good spice component that I pick up as cinnamon and light clove but it is very subtle so I think it's more a yeast ester than spice addition, but what do I know. Hop bitterness seems very light until I get to the back end where the lingering aftertaste is bittering hops. Very light hop flavor. It's a malt dominant beer but with just enough hops to keep it from seeming sweet.

Nice playful carbonation level, very lively. A little heavy of body though. Most of my favorite saisons/bier de gardes have lighter bodies even if they are stonger in alcohol. It's a small knock though.

Very nice solid beer. Pairs well with spicy food or with a simple ploughman's plate kind of thing.

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

750ml bottle courtesy of KingG, thanks! the cork gave a very loud pop when I opened it but the head was not out of control. This has a nice light-orange color with some white bubble action. very subtle sweet honey on the nose, bready flavor with a bit of fruit on the tip of the tongue , oddly easier to drink than the Red Barn I had last night. As it warms the alcohol shows up a but the flavors really get stronger. This seems more refreshing despite the higher ABV, maybe its the lack of spiciness? In any case another interesting and worthwhile beer from Lost Abbey.

Photo of dsa7783
4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

1 Pint, 9.4 fl oz bottle purchased at The Blind Tiger on Bleecker Street in Manhattan for a whopping $20...
Pours a murky, cloudy, hazy, golden-colored, off-yellow hue with a thick layer of lacing around the serving glass...
Aroma was rendolent of ripe fruit, candy apples, and pears...
Taste strongly complemented the smell, bursting with sweet, golden candies, oranges, tangerines, and cotton candy providing a bittersweet finish...
Rich, creamy mouthfeel along with a good level of drinkability as well... Certainly not the best Biere de Garde depiction I've sampled, but a worthy selection nonetheless...
Recommended, but not at the price I paid for it...

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

Pours hazy golden with contrasting white head.

Nose has peach/pineapple fruit, whiff of metal, and some esters.

Palate is noticeably alcoholic, somewhat syrupy with the malty sweetness, and has a balancing tartness that melds well with the carbonation.

Worth seeking out to try, enjoyable, but not one I'd retain as a regular in the collection.

Photo of brewdogmrb
4.08/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Honey, honey, and more honey. I couldn't get over the floral honey stench that poured out of this glass. It was the flower, the honey, and the bee all in one, so to speak. The bee is the sting in the spice, which came with the nose and lingered on the tongue. Anyway, this beer poured a beautiful color out of the corked and caged Lost Abbey bottle which is adorned with some of the most ridiculous copy I've ever seen on a beer bottle -- but I loved it. This was a surprisingly complex and easy to drink Bière de Garde at 7% ABV and it really had everything you could ask for in an American version of a Belgian beer, a theme which dominated the tasting this bottle was a part of. Brews like this really get me going, when they which pour beautifully, feel great in the mouth, and have something expressive and interesting to say about a specific well-treaded style. Lost Abbey is a hell of a brewery.

Photo of msubulldog25
3.97/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A 750mL (1pt., 9.4 fl.oz.) bottle, corked & caged. Poured to a pair of 'La Chouffe' tulip glasses on a glorious Monday evening, my wife and I hanging in the backyard eating breads, cheeses and meats while listening to a symphony of bird calls.

Thanks to KingG for sending this bottle many months ago; it's been held in a box in our cellar since Spring 2007. Still good?

A: Golden honey, looks rather milky - a fine yeast sediment hangs in suspension. Fairly vigorous carbonation trails up the glass in thin strands. White head starts a fizzy one-finger, reduces quickly to a scattered film. Dusting of lace.

S: Aroma is yeast and fruit: baked bread with sugary apples, a little raisin and sweet peach. A touch of funky 'barn' aroma lends credibility to the style's rustic roots.

T: Spicy yeast, grassy hops and crisp ripe fruit meld together nicely. There's a very floral, sweetly herbal honey flavor that marries with pepper and dried citrus zest. Earthy, a little musty. It doesn't blow me away, but flavors and their balance are enjoyable.

M: Crisp, light mouthfeel. Carbonation gives a little zing, hopping dries the finish with a spice and pepperiness that's refreshing. Alcohol of 7% is concealed.

D: Perfect for a mild spring evening: a fitting accompaniment for the creamy cheeses, peppery salamis and baked ciabatta bread we paired it with. One of very few 'biere de gardes' I've ever had (hard to believe, it's my first review of this style, even as #600 approaches). Very likable, one we'd both definitely have again - worth seeking out.

Thanks again, Joey!

Photo of yourefragile
3.72/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750 mL bottle, caged and corked, poured into a Duvel tulip.

A: Hazy golden orange color with a frothy white head, minimal retention resulting a thin ring and not much lacing. Glass is covered in carbonation.
S: Slightly sour, earthy, floral aroma. Background has a little spice, orange, pepper. Also has a slight smell of sweeter fruits.
T: Medium body with high carbonation and a very strong flavorful finish. Body has interesting combination of flavors like smell, balancing an earthy, slightly sour taste with a sweeter, honey like flavor. Not much hops present. Very refreshing on a beautiful spring day, but the finish is a little too strong and earthy for me to be more excited by this. As another review says, this starts as another saison at original serving temperature of 45 degrees but as this warms up, there is more a malt presence and a little more sweetness.

Photo of number1bum
4.15/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed a bottle of this at Monk's Cafe in Philly. $13 seemed very reasonable to me.

Poured a slightly orangeish, light golden color with about an inch of off-white head. Maintained a very nice lace and left a good amount of stick, too.

Smell was quite floral, with light citrus aromas, fresh cut flowers, some herbal hops, and a little bit of yeast.

Taste had more herbal bitterness and less of those very nice, floral and citrusy characters that were in the smell. Still, it was quite refreshing with some light sweetness and a dry finish. It was also quite earthy and the herbal bitterness also gave off a musty sort of character. Finished dry with a medium body and seemingly appropriate level of carbonation.

I found this very refreshing and it really hit the spot on a cool spring day. I'd love to grab a few more of these.

Photo of paulthebeerguru
4.12/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750mL corked and caged

A: Snifter. Pours a cloudy orange/yellow with a pure white head with a fair retention rate and a decent amount of lacing.

S: Wild strawberries are all over this one, with some honey-like sweet malts. Slight sour tones.

T: Tons of flavor for a biere de garde. Complex malts with a smooth finish of light honey and light wild strawberries.

M: A little high on the carbonation level but it is pleasant. This is an extremely smooth beer.

D: Definitely a bottle to share with good company. This could be the best Biere de Garde I have had yet. Like the saying goes, "Port doesn't fall short

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

Solid, golden orange with a nice fluffy white head, not much retention or lacing on this one. Aromas of deep bready malts, with a slight funky barnyard backbone and very subdued hops. This malt machine is tasty and has a great blend of malt/yeast compelxity with a nice drying sweet/hop finish. Mouthfeel is medium bodied, carbonation is very smooth, drinkability remains good. Very, very French in it's stylings

Photo of Cromster
4.07/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a Oerbier Chalice served at about 45 degrees

Appearance - Poured a light golden and copper color with average head. White and creamy looking about 2 fingers deep. The head was gone within 2 minutes of pouring.

Smell - Tangy citrus with hints of pepper and spice. There is a touch of alcohol lurking in there somewhere waiting to get out.

Taste - Very earthy tasting. The alcohol is very noticeable and demands to make its presence felt. Mild spice and malt flavors throughout. Slightly bitter on the finish but in a good way. Overall a good flavor despite the strength of the alcohol.

Mouthfeel - Oily mouthfeel with heaps of carbonation. Coats the tounge while the alcohol bites at you.

Drinkability - Good for one glass but not something I could make a night out of. The alcohol taste is a little to much for me but if I wanted a glass to relax with I would be happy to drink this again.

Photo of Bubba83
4.12/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml of Tomme Arthur goodness poured 10 ounces at a time into a snifter.

Pours without much head, Got maybe 1/2 inch and that was a vigorous pour. Bright golden color, with shades of yellow and burnt orange in varying hues. Head is composed of small bubbles, and is super bright white in color. Almost no lacing.

Smells great! I actually thought this beer was going to be a bit sour after smelling it. I get tart fruits like pineapple along with some toasted malts and some pepper in the background. There is some alcohol present in there too.

I like the taste, at first it comes off like a standard Saison with a lot of earthyness, but maybe that's because I served it starting at 45 degrees. As it warms, I get more malty qualities coming through and the balance of the yeast with that malt transforms into green raisins, and green apple flavor. Alcohol is present all the way through, and hints of pepper are there also. I'm happy with the taste because the spicyness of the yeast does not kill the other flavors which are done so nice.

Feels nice. Good carbonation makes the beer feel crisp in the mouth, and dry in the finish. A pleasure to swirl around the tongue.

Drinkability is about right. I feel like the alcohol flavor makes it a little hard to quaff, but it's not too bad, especially for the style. The carbonation is nice but these two things in combination make this a semi-sipper.

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
3.87/5  rDev +2.1%
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
4.37/5  rDev +15.3%
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
4.13/5  rDev +9%
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
4.04/5  rDev +6.6%
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
3.37/5  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 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
4.09/5  rDev +7.9%
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.

Avant Garde from The Lost Abbey
85 out of 100 based on 641 ratings.