Avant Garde - The Lost Abbey

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Avant GardeAvant Garde

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very good

335 Reviews
no score

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Reviews: 335
Hads: 661
rAvg: 3.82
pDev: 6.54%
Wants: 34
Gots: 54 | 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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 335 | Hads: 661
Photo of Neffbeer
3.97/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle dated December 10 2010, perhaps a bit past it's prime...
Poured into a De Dolle Oerbier tulip.

A: It pours a hazy golden amber with some light orange hues. There is a fluffy two finger white head that recedes into clumpy clouds of foam and sticky lacing.

S: Surprisingly I am greeted by a pleasant waft of noble hops, herbal and enticingly floral. For six months in the bottle this beer has obviously held up extremely well. The hops fade a bit after it warms and some ripe fruit starts to surface; apples and pears are the main components. There is a hint of honey and vanilla as the beer continues to warm.

T: The hops have held up magnificently displaying a pleasing herbal, floral bite that borders on bitter. Fruit takes over mid-palate with notes of apple peels, over-ripe pears, and white grapes. The yeast is really doughy and spicy, I can only imagine how well this would go with a holiday meal. It finishes dry and slightly herbal/bitter.

M: Light and airy, the carbonations lends itself well to highlighting the subtlety of this brew.

O: I am surprised and impressed by this beer given some of the lack luster reviews I have read. It is a really solid Biere de Garde that I would seek out again. (1,225 characters)

Photo of impending
3.34/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

750ml into a tulip. Pours a hazy honey tang, towering dense head recedes leaving clumpy froth.

Intoxicating aroma, a cornucopia of fruits, thin skinned and citrus. Upbeat, spicy, hoppy with clean dirt.

Complexity does not carry through to the taste. Initial flavor is rather bland, nondescript, mostly yeasty. There is no middle. Finishes begins with a minor hop bitter that fades slowly away. Significant let down from the aroma. Medium bodied creamy mouthfeel.
jd (474 characters)

Photo of mmmbeer
3.82/5  rDev 0%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 mL brown Belgian bottle, cork and cage, with no freshness date. Brewed with two-row, honey malt and house-toasted malt, hopped with Brewer's Gold, Strisselspalt and Saaz, and fermented with lager yeast at ale temperatures; OG 1.060, FG 1.008. Pours crystal-clear amber, with low carbonation and a short, loose head that leaves very light lacing. Smells of sour grapes and vinous malts at first (how long was this on the shelf?), but it smells less aged with breathing. Becomes floral and sweet, with notes of toasty/bready malts, spicy/perfumy hops and a bit of alcohol. Tastes fairly similar, clean, with a hint of sweetness, a creeping bitterness, and a mild malt astringency. The body is light and moderately-carbonated, with a dry and warming finish. Easygoing and fairly good for the style, but it is way overpriced for what it is. (840 characters)

Photo of Rifugium
3.5/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

First had: on tap at Eulogy, Philly, PA

Pretty tasty. Poured a hazy golden brown with a large head that settles down but doesn't completely dissipate. Nice lacing and some carbonation. Grainy, bready aroma, with a definite presence of hops. Similar taste, very grainy, hoppy with some fruitiness to it: citrus and light Prunus fruits and a touch of almond. Medium mouthfeel. I'd drink more if given the chance. (411 characters)

Photo of SubpoenaDeuces
3.68/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: huge carbonation even with a gentle pour, light straw color to bright yellow at the edges, huge 4 finger head in a pint glass with thick lacing.

S: smells of honey, apple, bright bouquet with sweet finish

T: bright sweet honey taste on the initial palate with a biscuity middle that abruptly finishes, leaving you wanting another taste, aftertaste does not linger, a one two punch of bright then dry flavors. citrus hops bring up the final flavor with a very subtle compliment.

M: its very light on the palate with just enough maltiness to sustain the drying hopes and sweet notes. three very nuanced flavors held in a delicate balance and very fleeting, no coating in the mouth making it an easy beer to drink quickly if not for the substantial carbonation.

D: incredibly drinkable in a variety of condtions, go out work on your transam and class it up with this, serve this inside on a rainy day and it will impart the crispness of the air, if not cost prohibitive, a great session beer, despite the 7% abv.

Narrative: ::Ding dong:: he's here already? I havent even finished me eye lin- ah but who cares, he's so easygoing that he wont even notice that I only flatironed my top chunky layers. His bright blonde locks, cool disposition, who am I to keep him waiting. "Sorry I'm no rea-" oh well that's a new bit of panache, a step with a ball turn into the marble foyer and he leans lazily upon the ballustrade. "-eady." His light breezy air is welcoming but not cloying, you exhale and turn around closing the door, noticing the sunlight cascading through an eddy of dust particles dancing on a sunbeam and- he's gone. But you aren't worried, you have 21 more ounces of this fellow, to lithely waste away this verdant afternoon. (1,739 characters)

Photo of sitarist
4.22/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Golden in color with hints of amber. A whirlwind of bubbles race up to a few inches of eggshell white head. The head takes its time falling, leaving rings of lacing behind.

It has a strong, but pleasant aroma. Fruity, musky, spicy, sweet, and sexy...this is a treat, and challenge to ones nose. Apples, bread, honey, ginger, orange, I keep getting a hint of gin, strippers, etc... Olfaction obliteration!

Like the aroma it is a mixed bag. The main flavors I detect are apples, bread, and Mozzarella. It also has an herbal thing going on as well.

Medium body bordering on creamy, and dry.

A great beer experience! (616 characters)

Photo of champ103
4.08/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Another thanks to armock for the extra.

A: The bottle opens with a nice pop...very encouraging for a Lost Abbey product. This pours a beautifully hazy orange color. A two finger white head forms with really good retention. Rings of lace are left behind.
S: Up front is is a nice citrus/orange aroma. Quickly fades to baked bread. Light grains. Some grassy hops linger in the nose.
T: Again, fruity up front. Citrus and orange flavors. A zesty spice. Some sweetness. Dry bread and biscuit. A hoppy finish.
M/D: A medium body and lively carbonation. Very crisp, clean, and dry. This is very refreshing. A nice sipper. The alcohol is not over the top at all, and the bottle is gone in no time.

A very nice surprise from Lost Abbey. I have been disappointed with a lot of their offerings. Not with this one though. I wish there was a bit more fruity flavors going on, especially for a Bière de Garde. Though overall, very nice. Something I would recommend. (955 characters)

Photo of AronVietti
4.18/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured at 50 degrees into a large wine glass, a very fresh bottle date December 2010

A - Poured with a large, persistent head, good lacing on the glass, and extremely clear.

S - Clean citrus and grass aromas, slight yeasty aroma, no spice or brett character, maybe too young
T - More citrus, good hop balance with a little bit of toast

M - Good body, surprising for how clean the aroma and taste are, almost like a very full bodied lager. A decent finish with lingering bitterness and citrus.

O - Overall I like it, I'm going to pour another glass and go sit on the porch. I'm going to cellar another bottle and come back to it and see how it is in a year. (667 characters)

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

My buddy brought this one back for my from Philly. Thanks Blake!

A: Man.... this totally looked like a very dark Witbier.... cloudy glass and all. The rather large mildly off-white head stayed afloat throughout my entire session.

S: Mild fruit sugar scent, yeast, and a bit of Lost Abbey charm.

T: Smooth as hell and very yeasty. The fruit of the day is... apple ... and it was very present here. Still, there was more candy sugar here than meets the eye.

M: Considering the head kept its retention for about an hour (the time it took me to finish this beer), the carbonation was really nice and prickly... as well as the lacing.

O: It was a nice beer and worthy of my drinking.... nothing else. (701 characters)

Photo of colforbin73
4.33/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

i am holding off on giving this a 5 for the overall because i am relatively unfamiliar with the style, Biere de Garde. but this is an eminently quaffable brew. it is deeper in flavor than your typical lager -- but taste-wise i find it very much in that zone: easy to drink, bubbly, medium but appropriate bitterness, slight malt complexity but in the end an unmistakable Beer, with a capital "B". this is not an Ale, neither a Pils nor a Saison -- it is a Beer.

pours a lovely golden amber with a very lively, foamy carbonation... leaves some suds on the glass as you drink, but it is not a sticky beer. minimal yeast aroma and grassy fields of grain in the nose. smooth and clean is the order of the day... sweet, bright malts coat the inside of your mouth as it goes down with a nice little bubbly bitter bite too, just how you like it. only the finest of aftertastes. this is an easy drinker, i do not find the 7% alcohol to assert it self in the flavor -- this is my kind of session beer.

take me out to the ballgame. (1,024 characters)

Photo of beerprovedwright
4.33/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

First the only bad thing I will say about this beer is the way it is bottled. I had to saw off the top of the cork and use a cork screw. Lots of carbonation in this one, resulting in a four finger head of dense foam, and wonderful clinging lace. The color is a 9 on the SRM beer color chart. Smell is floral in character, with solid fragrances of apple, orange peel, lemon, and earthly tones. Great taste, of green grape, citrus, green apple, and hops. Creamy in my mouth, but a little drying on the back of my tongue and back sides of my throat. Carbonation is just right. Overall a great brew, easy to drink and a great taste. (628 characters)

Photo of TommyW
4.5/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A- Dark golden body, slightly hazy, with a medium, bubbly, white head.

S- Lots of ripe fruits with a faint hint of herbal hops.

T- Big taste of overly ripe fruits that is quickly balanced with a slightly bitter and dry medicinal yesty flavor. The bitter, dryness lingers for a bit.

M- Medium body with a crisp feel.

D- Not very familiar with this style, but this is one tasty beer. Will definitely be buying this again. (423 characters)

Photo of SirRuss
4.18/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I'll skip over the details of this review since I'm writing from memory.

Overall - really impressed. Great expressions of Belgian yeast, and a perfect compromise between simplicity and character. Very easy drinking and incredibly refreshing.

Definitely worth trying, definitely worth buying again. Bring on the summer so we can really enjoy this one. (354 characters)

Photo of sjverla
4.1/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Nose: Sweet and fruity. Lightly raisiny--almost like strawberry jelly. Mild yeastiness.

Appearance: Hazy honey-gold. A thing white head coats the top and laces down. Pretty.

Taste: Big and fruity. Sharp bitterness that sticks to the sides. A tiny bit alcoholic, but well-balanced by the creamy and smooth feel. (312 characters)

Photo of notchucknorris
4.23/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Hazy golden color with a fairly large head that fades pretty lazily.

S: Light malts and freshly baked bread in the smell.

T: In my notes, I wrote that it tastes like a saison but without the funk. Something very earthy about the taste. Freshly baked bread in the taste as well along with a slight hint of earthy hops. (323 characters)

Photo of Phelps
3.28/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Enjoyed during a tasting of Bieres de Garde, poured into a plastic tasting glass.

The color of honey with a frothy half-finger off-white head with fairly good retention.

The nose: honey, caramel and very subtle green apple along with a floral character -- maybe roses or orange blossoms. There's also a tiny bit of nuttiness and not a lot of cellar character, though it is perhaps a little oxidized.

The musty cellar quality emerges in the flavor. Earthy, roses, very very subtle wild yeast, honey and some savory notes. Finishes on the sweet side.

This bottle might be old -- it's nearly flat, though the body is a nice velvety medium. It's a little soapy, lingering on the tongue for a while alongside a subtle tinge of alcohol.

Avant Garde has a pretty nice, complex flavor, but wasn't the best of the style I tried that day. (838 characters)

Photo of samie85
3.44/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The cork was impossible to get cleanly out of this bottle. The top part of the cork broke off so I tried a wine corkscrew to get out the rest. The cork was obliterated by the corkscrew and refused to come out cleanly. I had to resort to a steak knife to get the rest of the cork out and not surprisingly, tiny pieces of cork ended up in the beer.

A-Pours a hazy orange color with three fingers of white head with tiny bits of cork suspended in the head (that I picked out to the best of my knowledge).

S-Slightly spicy with some apple notes and light toasty malts.

T-Toasty and bready malts with a mildly peppery and bitter orange finish.

M-Rich and mouth-coating with light, yet prickly carbonation and a medium body.

D-A very satisfying, delicious, and easy drinking beer. The frustration with the cork that I experienced was enough to make me consider avoiding Lost Abbey in the future. (894 characters)

Photo of PhillyStyle
4.08/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

1 pint 9.4 oz, corked and caged bottle
Bottled 12/9/10:

The beer poured a bright, cloudy amber/light orange. It produced a huge foamy white head that was well retained. The beer had noticeable carbonation floating to the top and yeast particle floating throughout the beer. A slightly thicker than a thin cap remained.

The beer gave off a nice aroma...seemed more like a pilsner aroma (more toasted grains) than Belgian aroma that was expected. I did get a hint of perhaps some orange or other citrus.

The taste of the beer was not at all what I expected, I guess that I expected more a long the lines of a Belgian strong pale ale, but this was not as sweet, but more sweet than most beers and the hops were a little more noticeable than a strong pale ale. I guess it would be a lighter version of a strong pale ale.

The beer had a medium body with extreme carbonation, but the right carbonation. The beer was smooth, creamy and easy to drink. This was my first for the style and was a little unsure of what to expect but I will definitely be trying more. (1,059 characters)

Photo of Eschulz91
2.94/5  rDev -23%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

It poured hazy golden. Lingering bitterness on the back of the pallet. And not in the good way. Nose rather unimpressive, mostly lagerish. It did follow a rich malty aged nick. Still, drinkable, yet really not sold on this ale. Still want to try their other styles. (265 characters)

Photo of Thorpe429
3.18/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle shared by Darrell at a recent tasting. Served in a snifter.

Pours a yellow-orange color with a white head and a moderate amount of lacing on the way down. The nose brings forward quite a bit of grain and bread with some mild yeast presence and a touch of a farmhouse character. The taste is mostly just a bit of grainy malt without too much else. The finish is oddly dry and a bit too bitter. Not terribly drinkable. (424 characters)

Photo of Pardishcreel
4.28/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

It looked a golden color with lots of head. It's overly carbonated.
The taste was sweet but very fruit infused I thought the sweetness came out nice really balanced with the abv%.
The mouthfull had to much carbonation, but as for the drinkability it was a beer I could have anytime. (283 characters)

Photo of drabmuh
3.3/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle shared by Darrell, thanks.

Beer is yellow with a slight haze with a decent but short lasting head of small and medium bubbles that leaves only a little lacing on the glass. Carbonation is moderate to low. Looks OK.

Aroma is odd with almost a harsh bitterness to it but it's not hoppy. The bitterness is coming from some sort of yeast / grain, it's not too offputting but it's not what I expected.

Beer is medium bodied and boring. There is nothing of note that would make you think that this beer is a Biere de Garde. It has that graininess that I feared from the aroma at the back end of the mouth. I suppose when push comes to shove it's just an OK beer, a pretty big disappointment for me personally. (713 characters)

3.31/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

750mL to tulip.

A: With a semi-vigorous pour, four fingers of yellow tinted head is created, frothy, airy and very long lasting. The body is lightly cloudy and has a tangerine hue with medium saturation. Lacing is spare to fair.

S: Light scents of toasted grain and straw compliment the delicatedly hopped nose. Hop aromas include herbs, grass and celery with a light lemony-orange zest brightening things up a bit. An earthy character remains, balancing must with light funk and barnyard. Whiffs of menthol come as a detriment to the overall aroma profile.

T: The flavor follows the nose closely and isn't any more impressive. Mainly earthy with semi-sweet fruity flavors supporting. Dusty, spicy. Lightly sweet and lightly bitter. Unwelcomed flavors of bandage mixed with light medicinal notes.

M: Medium body with a dry and chalky finish. Fizzy carbonation. A mild tartness and very light sourness rounds out the mouthfeel almost perfectly.

D: The drinkability is fine but the uninspired aromas and flavors will likely keep Avant Garde from being a repeat purchase. (1,074 characters)

Photo of RenoZymurgist
4.52/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a light orange with nice streams of fine bubbles and a thick rocky white head that leaves nice lacing.
Aroma is dry and spicy with a nice light malty note. More fruity than spicy with some light applish esters and a touch of pepper.
The flavor begins nice and sharp from the high carbonation great for style. Once that carb backs off the balance of toasty dry malt comes through and some more of the subtle yet stylistically accurate belgian notes come through. The flavor of the malt is very nicely balanced with the light fruit notes and the high carbonation keeps things refreshing.
Mouthfeel is great for a belgian style ale and is right up there with actual belgian beers. This beer does an excellent job of blurring the lines between a belgian style and an authentic belgian beer. Very refreshing and drinkable this is a great food beer and would go well with poultry or light fish dishes. (902 characters)

Photo of donkeyrunner
3.45/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Bright translucent orange with a thin marrow white head. Head collars and leaves a few lacey stragglers.

This beer is as farmy as a skyscraper. Pleasant, albiet subtle, spiciness, fresh clementine orange and mild caramel maltyness. Melds to a nondescript citrus candi sugar.

Taste is more clementine and apricot fruit, tame mustiness, and a very mild maltyness in back. Leaks flavor as it warms.

Pretty tame beer. Good, but tame. I expect more from Lost Abbey. (466 characters)

Avant Garde from The Lost Abbey
86 out of 100 based on 335 ratings.