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Avant Garde | The Lost Abbey

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Avant GardeAvant Garde

Brewed by:
The Lost Abbey
California, United States

Style: Bière de Garde

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.00%

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.

Added by xlperro on 05-12-2006

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Reviews: 347 | Ratings: 709
Photo of FriedSlug
4.14/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Slightly hazy copper colored brew with an off white head with globs of lacing. Nice musty, fruity, malty, yeasty aroma. The taste is amazingly malty and fruity with a taste that reminds me a bit of strawberries. There is some nice carbonation and moderate bitterness. This is a really tasty beer.

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Photo of Docer
4.13/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to BeerMolly for this one... a very pleasant new brew for me to try... for me a new style, and glad its a Lost Abbey.. wondering if others could compare..

- Wonderful slightly cloudy orange-copper hue with a great little bit of off-white head.. and wonderful amounts of lacing in my tumbler..

- A very appealing sweet bread and grain scent with a slight bit of wheat character.. pumpkin notes, squash... small bit of piney hop..

- Wow.. very good sweet caramel quality to the taste with a bit of bread, yeast... and a mild spice of hop. This is one for a nice picnic in a flowery field.. slight bit of fruit... just very good.. hard to explain the wonderful flavors this brew contains.

- Slightly dry and chewy mouth.. but a pleasant bready aftertaste..

- Super drinkable because it tastes so good.. and not very strong at all as I am guessing this brew fits its style to the 'T'. A very good brew and a must try!

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Photo of berkey
4.13/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750 ml bottle served in a tulip. From 10/23 notes, my original review was lost in the site crash.

Pours a fairly hazy golden brown color and forms an extremely stubborn, medium sized, off white head that leaves some thick caked on lacing as it goes. A good amount of active carbonation is visible when held to light. Lost Abbey can really brew a beautiful beer when they're on their game.

Aroma is of roasted grain and very yeasty fresh bread. There's also a fairly prominent faintly fruity tart character which hasn't always been my experience with the style.

More bready malted goodness and Belgian style yeast meet the palate on first sip with some dry bitter hops and a nice toasty flavor on the aftertaste. Fruity tartness is quite noticeable in the aftertaste as well along with very subtle caramel and toffee notes.

Feel is very nice and dry with light but active carbonation. ABV is just at the right level for my tastes which, along with a nice even flavor profile, keep this very drinkable.

This is an old favorite by now but it's a beer that had to grow on me. It's not intensely estery and alcoholic, not sour, not Bourbon or coffee infused, just a pleasant drinkable ale. I'm starting to think we need more like this. This is the beer I pick up virtually every time I'm in the mood for a Biere De Garde.

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Photo of WanderingFool
4.13/5  rDev +8.4%
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.

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Photo of Lemke10
4.13/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This pours a cloudy copper color with bubbles constantly rising to the top for a thick white head. The aroma has a yeasty, banana, farmhouse ale scent. The initial flavors are wheat mixed with citrus that create a well balanced flavor with the yeast. The texture is superb while being light tasting to the tongue with a dry finish.

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Photo of chinabeergeek
4.13/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle. no date found. poured into tulip.

hazy, golden honey w amber/orange hue. lots of head that slowly recedes to thin layer. decent lacing, with a couple of pretty thick rings.

aroma is fruity, perhaps overripe apple. faint musty hay and yeast. floral honey. trace of phenols.

sweet fruitiness in flavor, with light malt note upfront, then turns to phenolic for a moment, then grassy hop. mild to moderate bitterness. finish is semi-dry w flash of phenols.

smooth, not too thin. fluffy but otherwise gentle carbonation.

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Photo of Bubba83
4.12/5  rDev +8.1%
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.

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Photo of Derek
4.12/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Hazy bronze with a white head, some retention, light lace.

S: Light acidic aroma, pineapple, mango, light phenolic spicing, citrus rind, wheaty biscuit, a little grassy.

T: Candied pineapple, pappaya, mango, phenolic spicing, slight funk (Brett?), marmalade, wheaty biscuit.

M: Body is on the heavier side of moderate, hint of acidity, off-dry with a slightly drying alcohol finish.

D/O: A good drinker and overall a good crafted brew.

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Photo of czechsaaz
4.12/5  rDev +8.1%
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.

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Photo of mltobin
4.12/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I picked up a 750mL bottle of this while driving through Mass.

Poured this de Garde into a large wine glass and it has a light golden tone with one finger of bright white head. It has a smell of fruit, such as pear and orange, also some spices. There are some malts as well with a bit of earthiness to it. Upon sipping, I can taste pepper. hops, cloves and yeast. All of it is balanced very nicely. MF is medium in the body with a similar carbonation level. All in all, this is one of the Biere de Gardes that stands out for me. Not an inexpensive beer, but worth it.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
4.12/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours with a frothy, initially three-finger thick, tan colored head that is a mix of tight and larger bubbles. The head leaves a lacing pattern as it falls back into this brilliantly clear, lightly reddish tinged, amber colored beer. The aroma has an enticing spiciness to it that is quite prominent as I pour this brew. An interesting mix of aromatic notes are noticeable here; plum, apple, bready notes, caramelized bread crust, spicy notes of almost cinnamon, hints of berries and even a bit of cherry. There is even a certain vinous quality that reminds me of a fruity, lightly sweet white or rose wine. There is also something here that I want to describe as murky, though that is not quite right; it is approaching musty, but not quite. I have always been interested in warm fermentation characteristics of lager yeasts and this is one of the more expressive commercial examples I have ever experienced (at least as far as the aroma is concerned).

The taste is sweet, but more from a fruitiness than an overabundance of residual malt sugars. It is also quite quaffable and light on the palate. A combination of the carbonation and the yeast derived spiciness give this beer a certain zesty zip. Fruit notes of tart plums and aromatic apple varieties combine to give this a sweet, yet kind of of tart edge that is quite nice. This beer is nicely malty at times with definite notes of caramelized malt and a biscuit-like bread quality that makes me think of freshly browned crusty hearth breads. The warm fermentation temperatures are quite evident here, not only with the fruity notes but with the background phenolics, esters and higher alcohols which contribute a large portion of the flavor profile.

I'll admit to expecting a lot less from this brew, but this beer has inspired me to play around again with warm fermenting lager yeast strains. I have had some interesting results with a certain San Francisco Lager yeasts at very warm temperatures in the past and I think that I will have to do some additional exploration of this. The spiciness that is in this beer is what I remember from my experimentations with the San Francisco Lager yeast, and it makes me wonder did Tomme use that yeast here, or is this a characteristic of all Lager yeasts at warmer temperatures.

Purchased: Plaza Liquors, Tucson AZ

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Photo of Bitterbill
4.12/5  rDev +8.1%
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!

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Photo of paulthebeerguru
4.12/5  rDev +8.1%
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

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Photo of surfer4life
4.11/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a Tulip from a 750ml bottle.

A - Pours a deep gold with a small head quickly disintegrates into a small ring around the glass, some lacing but not much.

S - Fruits assault the senses. Apples, Raisins, plums, apricot and oranges. very small amounts of hops and fresh baked bread.

T - Lemons, apples and raisins. Caramel malts with the fruitiness make it very sweet on the front, followed by some hop bitterness that lingers for a while on the end.

M - Highly carbonated, leaves the mouth crisp and tingly. Just right!

D - Pretty descent drinkability. Goes down smooth and I could session with it.

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Photo of Psilo707
4.1/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Extremely good looking beer that is a dark pear-colored hue, with a thick foamy head (I disagree with those who said the head was less than expected - it look's great!). A very opaque look to it. The aroma of this beer reminds me of slight raisin and fruit combination and goes well on the nose. The taste is as expected, but more complex than previously estimated. Pear, Caramel, Raisin, a swirl of other fruits, and many more taste-bud exquisitely placed tastes hit the mouth immediately. Mouthfeel is tender yet solid, and the strong taste eminates through your head while holding it in. The drinkability for this is on par with the rest of the Lost Abbey brews - that is, drinkable, but extremely thick in nature so you might not want to go too far with multiple mugs of it.

Overall, this is currently my favorite Lost Abbey brew and one of the best beer's I've had in a long time. I will be recommending this as much as possible to all my fellow Stone (and related) drinkers. I give it an A-.

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Photo of sjverla
4.1/5  rDev +7.6%
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.

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Photo of Deuane
4.1/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A-Brilliant reddish copper. With a medium bright, white head that reduces to a thin cap and leaves decent lace.

S-Aromatic wafting aroma of fresh baked biscuits. Lightly tart apple and pear co-mingle with light, spicy Belgian yeast. Touch of herbal hop pop in the background.

T-Fresh biscuit malt with a jaunty pop of herbal hops. Apple bite and spicy Belgian yeast adds nice support.

M-Medium-light body fairly sharp and crisp and a pleasant dry, musty ending.

D-Goes down easy. This style, when done properly, is one of my favorites. I think it is an overlooked and ignored style and this is much undeserved. I find this to be fresh, bright and spot on, well done!

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Photo of superspak
4.1/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750 ml bottle into tulip glass, no bottle dating. Pours hazy golden orange color with a nice 3 finger fluffy white head with great retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lingers. Nice foamy lacing clings to the glass. Aromas of big apple, pear, pepper, orange peel, caramel, bread, floral, grass, coriander, earth, honey, light funk, and herbal. Damn nice aromas with great balance and complexity. Taste of pear, apple, pepper, citrus peel, coriander, bread, caramel, clove, honey, floral, grass, earth, and herbal spiciness. Lingering notes of light fruits, citrus, pepper, bread, coriander, clove, caramel, floral, grass, honey, and herbal spiciness on the finish for a good bit. Great balance and complexity of flavors; with a very nice malt and yeast spiciness balance; with zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium-high carbonation and medium bodied; with a very smooth, crisp, and lightly prickly mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a slight warming noticed after the finish. Overall this is an excellent Biere de Garde style. Very nice flavor complexity and balance; very smooth and crisp to sip on. Really enjoyed this one.

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Photo of drewbage
4.1/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a nice fresh bottle into a tall Triple Karmeliet glass.

Hazy pale orange brown with a low white flat head that is sticky throughout out the glass.

Aroma is spicy nutmeg, mushrooms and a grassy hop tone to finish.

Flavor is toasty biscuity malt with a seriously earthy fungual mushroomy touch that is cut with a combination of cinnamon and hops. Big carbonic acid driven zing to the beer.

Overall, a good beer that's very agressive with it's flavor profile in comparison to a classical BdG. Not bad, just different and it would be better with a drier finish.

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Photo of dfillius
4.09/5  rDev +7.3%
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.

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Photo of NCSUdo
4.09/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 mL bottle

A: Cloudy golden/copper body with a small chunky white head. No retention, very little lace.

S: Sweet and slightly funky, bit of earthy hop and some solid malt character. Some fruitiness, perhaps a light apple. Very pleasant aroma.

T: Taste is much more maltier than the nose. Earthy hops round out things with a medium bitterness before a settling into a bittersweet finish. Good taste but I feel it is missing something.

M/D: Medium to near full body. Carbonation is a bit high and slightly prickly. Drinkability is decent as well. A pretty solid beer.

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Photo of brewdogmrb
4.08/5  rDev +7.1%
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.

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Photo of beveritt
4.08/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Presentation: Poured from a 750 ml brown bottle into a Duvel chalice. No freshness date.

Appearance: Pours with 1 1/2 fingers of nearly pure white head. This settles, but still retains about 1/4 inch of foam throughout the drink. Nice lacing. The beer itself is amber/orange with a slight chill haze.

Smell: Semi sweet caramel with hints of cinnamon and cloves. Slight sour twang in the finish.

Taste: Sweet caramel malt with slight underlying alcohol sweetness. Bitter orange and mild hop bitterness in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Average carbonation level. Body is very thick and creamy.

Drinkability: A flavorful yet easy drinking beer. I could see visiting this one again, but it doesn't make it out this way, so no luck.

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Photo of PhillyStyle
4.08/5  rDev +7.1%
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.

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Photo of smakawhat
4.08/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a tulip glass.

A real gorgeous tangerine orange and red body, crystal clear with a real nice column of carbonation in the middle. Head is off white, slightly yellow, with a sudsy character and makes some noise while pouring. Settles to a nice collar too, real impressive looking.

A nice clean malt action, almost minty and menthol smelling. Kumquat and citrus spritzy character, with a sense of champagne like yeast. Very fruity.

Real crisp carbonation on first sip, with a fruit like palate and sharp bitterness. Citrus oil and flesh orange bitterness mixing with a toasty white bready malt. Great finish and aftertaste. Very oily character to the feel, but a wonderful aromatic palate, and some hints of Belgian like sweetness.

Overall a real pleasant brew to be having.

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Avant Garde from The Lost Abbey
3.81 out of 5 based on 709 ratings.
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