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Avant Garde - The Lost Abbey

Not Rated.
Avant GardeAvant Garde

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

635 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 635
Reviews: 335
rAvg: 3.78
pDev: 9.79%
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:
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: 635 | Reviews: 335 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of SoCaliC8
3.75/5  rDev -0.8%

Photo of Cyberkedi
3.75/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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

Photo of htomsirveaux
3.75/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From a 750 mL bottle. Pours with a large foamy head, has a slightly peachy hue. Hazy, well carbonated, color is dark gold. Aroma is yeast and tart green apples. Starts sweet and petillant becoming dry with an apply tart finish and aftertaste. Medium body and moderate alcohol. Refreshing and easy to drink.

Photo of TwoTrees
3.75/5  rDev -0.8%

Photo of portia99
3.76/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

750ml bottle (bottled 10/4/11) poured into an Allagash stemmed glass. Found this old bottle sitting on the shelf at an out of the way store and figured I'd give it a shot.

A - After a nearly impossible to remove cork finally lets loose this pours hazy and finely sedimented glowing orange body with two fingers of fluffy off-white head that shows excellent staying power and leaves lots of lacing on the glass.

S - This is super fruity on the nose with tons of green apples, really bright lemon aromas, some oranges, still nice hoppy bitterness, quite estery, some spices.

T - Surprisingly bitter hoppiness that trends towards being a bit medicinal which also overpowers most of the other flavors. Still manages to put out some solid fruity flavors consistent with the aroma - lemons, oranges, apples...but all at a lower and less satisfying intensity.

M - Agressive carbonation that is fizzy and foamy in the mouth. Body is a lightish medium. The medicinal bitterness sadly lingers long past the swallow and drowns out the other nuances that are trying to come out.

O - Started out really great with a beautiful appearance and really great and aromatic presence in the glass. Unfortunately perhaps the age hurt this one with the medicinal bitterness overpowering the more delicate fruitiness. Maybe I will seek out a fresher bottle for comparison. Had high hopes on opening and suffered a bit of a letdown in the taste test. Still plenty drinkable and enjoyable, but what the aroma promised could have been something great if the flavor lived up to it.

Photo of ehammond1
3.78/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

On Tap

Churchill's Pub & Grille
San Marcos, CA

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

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

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

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

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

Photo of russpowell
3.78/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Got this one from Bitterbill, cheers!

Pours a hazed apricot/amber with 1 finger of dirty white head.

S: Green apples, some barn & a touch of citric hops

T: Green apples, tartness,a touch of booze & a bit of pear up front. As this warms we get slight pineapple & more green apple plus a touch of honey dryness. Finishes dry crisp & tart

MF: Medium bodied, minimal carbonation & good balance

Drinks fairly easy, an alright/good stab a the style

Photo of mac31
3.78/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bomber to chalice.

Spice, biscuit, citrus

Dry, spice laden entry. Spice reminiscent of the holiday-cinnamon, all spice?. Citrus/orange peel, apricot, stone fruit. Soft, clean bitterness. Spicy, slightly floral and earthy hop notes. It does have some funk to it. As a huge saison fan, it seems a bit restrained. The light malt seems almost pale/muted in flavor, but bready. But the malt profile leaves behind some residual sugars that balance out the dry entry. The alcohol is more detectable as the beer warms. There is a modest cereal finish.

Medium, yet syrupy mouthfeel. Bright carbonation.

I enjoyed it. I had no expectations. I would like to see other offerings from this style.

Photo of TheLongBeachBum
3.78/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: 750ml tall thin necked brown bottle sealed with a silver cage, dark gold steel cap and a simple thumbed artificial cork which has the words The Lost Abbey on it with the website address. Label arrangement is rather cool, just like the BA Avatar my bottle has an orange edged Abbey Window shaped main label with a separate rectangular label below it. Labeled as ‘The Lost Abbey Avant Garde Ale’ and listed at 7% alc. by vol. No freshness date or best before. Reverse label has lots of blurb on it, but harks back to some of the influence for The Lost Abbey brand no doubt.

“From the French word "Garde" meaning something worth keeping, this Farmhouse Styled Ale is a most delicious companion to a loaf of freshly baked bread from the oven. Grab a seat on the porch, some soft cheese and a tree ripened apple from your grandmother's old orchard. Relax and watch the evening arrive as the afternoon sun is consumed by the illuminating moon over the gardens. We brewed Avant Garde for you, our friends and families. Here's to things worth guarding over. www.lostabbey.com”

Appearance: Amber body, dark orange apricot turbidity traits contribute to a pseudo haze that soon clears as the beer rests. The head is tobacco stained off-white affair that sadly falls flat rather too quickly. Minimal lacing and a sad looking broken head results. Carbonation levels are a little below average and despite the healthy “thrupp” from the Cork when it was opened it suffers from a relaxed conditioning I feel.

Nose: Sugar encrusted boiled fruits, candied peaches and a healthy dollop of caramel. Starts well but the aromas are a little mooted, at least from the off, but even with a few British Thermal Units to boost up the temperature it still never reaches a high plateau.

Taste: Peppered bitterness and breaded malts are enhanced with some yeast infractions. Tense hops seem agitated and don’t blend well with the caramel, edgy with some nervous refraction. Spices muddy the waters yet it all seems to work out fine in the end, though you could be forgiven for having several other styles of beer cross your mind whilst reflecting on this one…..a spiced up Anchor Steam kept leaping into my mind whilst supping this one. This is a bit sugary in the finish for my liking though.

Mouthfeel: A soft start with a juxtaposed prickly feel immediately after a quick vigorous swirl, but after the glass has settled for a while, it tends to allow the flatness add a one-dimensional texture to develop in the feel. Rising body and an alcohol spice finish bring some backing strength to the Mouthfeel.

Drinkability: Bière De Garde can be unquestionably flaccid at times, at others stunningly brilliant. Yet even the most complex offerings can still exhibit a simplicity that often broaches into tedium after only a glass or two. I find myself at this juncture with the Lost Abbey Avant Garde.

Overall: A great start but I have to be honest and say that this was not as good as I expected. Despite its unquestioned pedigree, I don’t think this is the Bee’s Knee’s, just yet at least, but the whole “Lost Abbey” arm of Port Brewing is a very welcome development in sunny SoCal and it can only get better and yield more high quality offerings. That said, with a cool head, removing the Port brewing accolades and with an unemotional stance mixed with a candid reflection, I am not sure I would splash the beans for this one again. Even if it would have had a keener price, I feel a bit let down overall.

Photo of litheum94
3.78/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pour: Nice golden amber body with a big, dirty, white head that settles to a thin covering. Very little lacing on the glass.

Aromas: Honey, malts, grassy hops and a little hint of lavender.

Taste: Pretty much what I expected from the aromas: nice, honey flavor that coats the mouth; caramel malts; grassy, dry hops leave a dry finish.

This is a really nice beer. Good drinkability, with a good balance of hops and malt. A good entry into a style that I don't have much experience with.

Photo of Viggo
3.78/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

750 ml corked bottle, big thanks to grub for sharing this one.

Pours a slightly hazed copper/amber, thin white head forms, drops quickly to a thin ring around the glass, not as much head as would be expected, but looks okay. Smell is pretty cool, heavy caramel graininess, quite fruity, apricot, neat floral character, wheat, very malty, very fragrant, bit of coconut and light spice. Taste is neat, some vanilla and coconut, caramel, fruit, mango, wheat, sour fruit in the finish, slight oxidation, very malty, some floral, some candi sugar, pretty interesting. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with medium carbonation, not as complex as I would expect but still pretty neat. Thanks Russ!

Photo of BlackBelt5112203
3.78/5  rDev 0%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Big thanks to FosterJM for this one!

750 mL bottle poured into a snifter at cellar temperature.

L – Deep gold color with a huge 5-finger cream-colored bubbly and pillowy head. Really nice retention and great lacing. Clear with tons of bubbles. This certainly does not have any of the carbonation issues that Lost Abbey beers are somewhat infamous for having.

S – Bready and toasty malts with apple, pear, and grape esters. There’s also a little bit of an earthy, woody, musty aroma here as well. Smells nice.

T – Starts off sweet with bready malt, apple, and pear flavors and rapidly shifts to a yeast spiciness, an earthy hop bitterness, and finally a woody astringency. The astringency isn’t huge, but it takes away from the pleasantness of the beer and is sort of magnified by the spice and bitterness.

F – Medium-bodied with good carbonation, a silky-smooth mouthfeel, and a spicy, slightly bitter, and very dry finish. Spicy and astringent dryness lingers for a little bit along with a subtle palate-warming sensation from the alcohol.

O – This beer is kind of all over the place. It looks fantastic and smells great, but the flavor and mouthfeel share this woody astringency that takes away from all the good flavors included. It doesn’t make it a bad beer, but it’s just not as good as it could be. Still a tasty beer, and I’m very glad I got to try it.

Photo of Gobzilla
3.78/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: poured and orangish yellow with a thin head and left a little bit of lacing sticking to the glass.

S: very light toasty bready malts with some sweetness but it did have faint hops in the background and grainy citrus notes. There was also some booze character as well.

T/M: citrus, various grains, and bready toasty malts dominate the palate alongside slight brett notes which adds tartness and wheat accents. The brew was light in body with a good amount of carbonation which had a bready, malty, citric, and slight tart finish.

D: it drank exceptionally good due to how light the flavor and the body was but was still a decent beer but not a beer that I would be excited to drink often.

Photo of OtherShoe2
3.78/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours hazy medium orange with some nice white foam that turns to a skim that crawls up the sides of the glass. Some bubbles rising.

Great aroma here. Something tart, but also some peach or apricot nectar, some mustiness, like dried wheat husk, and some yeast. The fruit shines in this, near perfect.

Initial flavors involve some light toasty malt. This turns to some slight fruit sweetness, some alcohol, some woody bitter vanilla notes, pure bitterness and lingering vanilla, yeast, and the boozy chemical alcohol cleans the palate with chemicals and bitterness. Finish is a bit odd, but somehow it works. The bitterness is a bit strong, and that is the only true knock.

Well carbonated and decent body -- bubbles keep it feeling lighter than it really is.

I thought this could go fast, but it isn't complexity and some strength of flavors (chemical booze and bitter) keep this to a sipper range. Very good brew. Glad I gave this a chance.

Photo of nrbw23
3.78/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pours a pretty clear amber with a white head. The head settles fairly quickly into an interesting looking cap.

S- Smells like freshly baked bread with hints of sour apple, black pepper and grapes.

T- First taste comes bready dough mixed with honey. This is followed by a mild bitterness. The finish is lightly floral with hints of black pepper.

M- Medium in body and nice carbonation feels pretty creamy.

D- Pretty easy to drink and pretty interesting brew.

Photo of PittBeerGirl
3.78/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

750 ml bottle that I got in a trade with route66pubs (I think). Thanks! Poured into my Chimay chalice.

A-Body is a translucent dark gold hue. Pours with a 1 finger or so creamy white head that fades quickly to a thin collar. Some traces of lacing is left behind in the glass. Cloudiness is uniform and so thick that the body is nearly opaque.

S-Nose is very good. A balance of white grapes, raisins, and maybe pear upfront with a big accent of spiciness. A big dose of sweet, bready yeast provides a great background.

T-The taste upfront is mild and offers some mellow fruitiness accented by minimal spiciness. The sweet bready yeast so prominent can only be found when the brew is swished around over the palate a bit. The main character in the finish (and in the flavor overall) is a big bad floral hop bitterness. Below this bitterness is a nice balance of floral hop flavor, breadiness and a hint of spice. What lingers, surprisingly is a slight phenolic bitterness and alcohol warmth and nothing else.

M-Medium to high carbonation and medium weight body composed of sweet bready yeast and powdery spiciness.

D-This is a decent to pretty good beer. Not the best LA beer or Biere de Garde I have had but still a very interesting brew. I wish the taste were as good as the smell-but it falls short for me. Definitely worth a try.

Photo of almostjay
3.79/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Photo of bradford
3.8/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had at Toronado in S.F. from their bottle selection. For a beer as hard to find in Northern California at a bar, it was very reasonably priced. Around $9.00 for a 750ml corked and caged bottle. Looks like your average Biere de Garde, pale amber in color with a good sized head pouring from bottle. Fragrent odor of citrus, a very nice yeasty taste and silky moutfeel. This went down smooth despite the 7% abv. But maybe that was because I was about 3 pints deep of Pliny the Elder. A very good beer. Nothing I would seek out terribly hard and not Port's best effort. But a very good beer. I don't think they make anything that isn't.

Photo of KrisPaulk77
3.8/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Graciously provided by piginapen. Thanks and Cheers!
The beer poured a deep burnished gold, with a big foamy off-white head, and a nice amount of lacing.
The aroma had alcohol on the nose, mixed with a good dose of malty sweetness, candied fruits, a little citrus, and a touch of barnyard.
The taste was malty and spicy, with some fruitiness alongside, and a bit of hot alcohol. Pleasing nonetheless.
There was adequate carbonation and a fluffy feel.
Not a bad brew by any means. This is my first taste of any Lost Abbey offerings, and it was enjoyable. It was shared amongst friends and enjoyed. The rarity of this brew where I live means that enjoying this brewery's offerings may be few and far between.

Photo of Deeps
3.8/5  rDev +0.5%

Photo of Philousa
3.8/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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

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

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

Photo of riored4v
3.83/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Reviewed on 12/21/08

Poured into a Chimay glass. 1 finger, off-white head. Clear, and deep copper in color.

Smell had some nice fruity notes. Good spicey aroma and slightly sweet.

Taste had a nice bittering finish. Mild fruitiness which hints of caramel and nuttiness. Slight hint of chocolate as well.

Mouthfeel was crisp and dry. Medium body.

Drinkability was good. No signs of 7% in the beer and overall it was pretty mild.

Photo of QuadriderMX
3.83/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of Joshpu
3.83/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from the bomber to a snifter.

A: Poured a hazy golden orange with two fingers of creamy white head. Lots of carbonation.

S: Yeast funk, a little fruity like an apple or lemon. Noble hops (I believe).

T: Light fruit/lemon, bready/cereal, noble hops grassy and dry on the end. The malty characteristics are interesting, some gulps they're prominent, others they aren't really at all.

M: Light to medium bodied. Lots of carbonation. A little sweetness with a dry and bitter finish. Fairly light beer on the tongue overall.

Overall a pretty solid beer. Its not doing anything crazy but still a satisfying beer. Gets pretty bitter once it warms.

Photo of BEERchitect
3.83/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Awsome always to get to try the Lost Abbey stuff. Thanks Clvand0.

The beer pours a very bright golden, orange color, not unlike orange juice (no pulp). A dainty head quickly forms and settles with a lace of paper thin whiteness. Not overly carbonated and has a still appearance.

Strong aromas of pilsner malts, vineous alcohols, and oranges. Orange aroma dominates the fruity esters while backups of papaya, pineapple, apples, peaches, and pears. Could be mistaken for a pina colada if not for the woodsy, vineous tartness.

Flavors also favor the esters with the citrus and tropical flavors that are a direct transfer from the nose. Maltiness begins to play a bigger part with a soft, bready taste and light graininess. Phenols of white pepper and soft medicinal notes wrap around the alcohol taste and texture.

Quite sweet and heavy with no buffer from the carbonation. Still, orange juice acidity, citrus, and sweetness linger deeply into the finish.

A tasty beer but the fruit flavor and overly orange notes challenge the notion of beer.

Avant Garde from The Lost Abbey
85 out of 100 based on 635 ratings.