Avant Garde | The Lost Abbey

very good
347 Reviews
no score
Send samples
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

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 347 | Ratings: 714
Photo of Halcyondays
3.63/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

25.4 oz. bottle, my 20th Port/Lost Abbey review, $7.99 at the Huntington Beach BevMo,

A: Pours a translucent hazy orange, with a long-lasting almost gushing white head, lacing is light.

S: Apple esters, light spice, and some ethanol, nice smelling beer, but not as robust as its cousin Red Barn.

T: Quite bitter with hops on the first taste. Subsequnt sips bring out more malt and yeast, especially as it warms to 60 or so degrees. Malt is of lightly toasted white bread, with the complex fruit esters that I first encountered in the smell.

M: Light carbonation, not watery though, still has its robustness, creamy, drinkable at its strengh. Would have liked some more character though. Dry as hell.

D: This is a good offering from the Lost Abbey, not as strong as Red Barn, but still tasty and servicable. A nice California take on this French style.

 856 characters

Photo of John_M
4.44/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on tap at the Brickskeller. This might well have been my favorite Lost Abbey beer from the Tomme Arthur tasting.

The beer pours a hazy orange honey color. The beer has very good head retention and lacing. On the nose.... wow! All kinds of crazy aromas, including red candy apple, vanilla and hard candy. The initial impression on the palate is that of a sweet tasting, Belgium style beer, but there is a good hop bite in the finish, and it almost seems dry at the end. Flavors on the palate include honey, butter, apple, vanilla and melon. The beer has a long, smooth finish, and the abv. is well disguised. Hence, despite the abv., the beer is very, very drinkable.

A very fine beer indeed....

 705 characters

Photo of Georgiabeer
4.2/5  rDev +10.2%
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.

 413 characters

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.

 442 characters

Photo of HopHead84
3.7/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5


On tap at Lost Abbey.

A: Vibrant yellow orange with an inch of white foam. Tendrils of lacing are left behind. Great color.

S: Baked bread slumbers beneath a bouquet of apple and pear. Lightly floral with a little grassiness.

T: Green and granny smith apples with bready malt and a light sweetness. Notes of pear are evident.

M: Light in body with upper medium carbonation. The mouthfeel is dry and crisp.

Overall: A nice Biere de Garde that I often overlook. It sure makes a fantastic base for sour beers.

 522 characters

Photo of lacqueredmouse
4.05/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a pleasant orange-tinged golden colour, with a frothy and fine-bubbled head of white foam. Lacing is excellent. Body is really pleasantly cloudy, and looks solid and vibrant in the glass, like a liquified gemstone. Lovely.

Rustic and slightly tart aromas on the nose. A little crushed leaf, some hay bale and a really pleasant vinous or oaky acidity to piece it all together. Very nice BDG nose.

Taste is slightly tart on entry, but is wowed away by big earthy phenols that put this beer smack bang in the centre of its style. Hints of plasticene and leather, welling up through the back before a big spicy, phenolic bitterness on the finish. It's a boisterous Biere de Garde, and an unapologetic one. Mouthfeel is pleasantly leavened by some very fine carbonation, which balances the slight heat of alcohol detectable mid-palate.

A really nice beer and a very good Biere de Garde. I think it could use a tad more acidity on the palate, but that is just what would turn a very good beer into a spectacular one. This is a lovely drop.

 1,042 characters

Photo of corby112
2.94/5  rDev -22.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a hazy dark amber/orange color with a thick frothy two finger yellowish head with pretty good retention, only slowly fading into a lasting ring. Sporadic spots of laceing left behind.

Spicy and earthy aroma with a lot of dark fruit, especially fig, plum and raisin, as well as some sublt piny hops.

Medium bodied with a lot of earthy spice and sweet fruit flavor. Kind of nutyy too with a strong malt backbone. Hints of zesty peppery spice, citrus peel, citrus hoppiness, cinnamon and sweet alcohol. There's also a bit of a syrupy mouthfeel that I'm not really feeling. Unique interpretation of the style but average at best.

 633 characters

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!

 930 characters

Photo of spinrsx
3.61/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

750ml Bottle from Bevmo La Quinta for 10$

Appearance - Slightly hazy yellow colour with a large size fizzy white coloured head. There is an average amount of carbonation showing and there is some fairly good lacing. The head lasted for 3-4 minutes.

Smell - Breads/grains, lemons, ginger/spices

Taste & Mouth - There is an average amount of carbonation and I can taste bread/grains mixed with some lemons, ginger, and noble hops. There is also a bit a herbal/grassy flavour. It ends with a bready/grainy aftertaste with a light bitterness.

Overall - Good, not great. Every beer I've had from this brewer has been fantastic so my expectations were high. Not a repeat buy for me.

 680 characters

Photo of barleywinefiend
3.18/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured a hazy yellow color with good carbonation and a fluffy white head. Nose is yeast, fruits, spice, and booze.Taste is biiger malt up fron,t spice, sugars, grassy and a sticky, buttery note that sordove lingered around, it sordove declined the mouthfeel since was not pleasant and would not go away. Ok beer but not a go to beer either.

 340 characters

Photo of Haybeerman
3.7/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Cloudy copper/amber color. Poured a 1 finger off-white head that gave way to a bubbly skim. Decnated continually. Laced in thin rings.

S: Fruity yeast and candi sugar. Malt character in the foundation.

T: Big sweet bready malt and spices. Mild sourness thats not overbearing. Bitter finish to balance.

M: Light-to-medium body. Medium carbonation. Crips an dry in the finish.

D: Flavorful and balanced; not too wild.

 422 characters

Photo of beertunes
3.04/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Thanks to OKComputer for this one. Poured into 10oz goblet. Poured a cloudy straw gold color with about an inch of white head that had moderate retention and no lacing.

The aroma was mostly slightly funky yeast, with some underlying grain. The taste was pretty similar, tangy funk, some earthy grains and perhaps a slight cigarette taste. The flavors dissipated quickly on the finish.

The body was was on the light side of medium, and the finish was so light as to be non-existent. Drinkability would have been OK, except for the weird funk and ashtray taste. Overall, not terrible, but I was expecting more.

 610 characters

Photo of akorsak
3.87/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A 750 mL corked and caged bottle courtesy of tangfoot in the I Want That BIF.

A: The ale pours a lighter amber color, leaning more towards the yellow end of the spectrum. A haze pervades the entire glass, casting a dull appearance on the beer. Carbonation-wise, the head does little at first but does leave hints of lace around the glass.

S: The aroma is dominated by a funky barnyard aroma that I've never seen in a biere de garde. The tartness takes over all aspects, drowning out what should be a sturdy malt profile.

T: The first sip reveals the deeper malt strength that I expected from the nose. Those malt notes are sweeter, taking on a flavor that is marzen-like in its sweetness. The funk from the nose is present, but it is muted significantly. Back to the malts, they do betray a relatively higher alcohol, with some warmth coming off of the tongue. The lasting impression on the palate is a dry, vegetal malt flavor.

M: The barnyard element is refreshing, leaving a lasting dryness in the mouth that, with the malty sweetness, is very enjoyable.

D: I am generally not a big fan of the style, but this one has a nice malt base and funkiness that makes me look forward to each sip.

 1,196 characters

Photo of rodbeermunch
3.14/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Bright blonde yellow, super virgin white head on it, looks pretty. Super bready, belgian yeast esters flow deep and hard. Sweet lemon like that candy.

Still comes through bready, chalky and phenolic alcohol. Mildly bitter, mostly from the alcohol I'd guess.

This stuff is everywhere LA is on a shelf for some reason. Maybe they should make less of this and more of another kind.

 389 characters

Photo of RBorsato
4.44/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

LIght peach-ish gold color with a decent light beige head when swirled, light carbonation, and no lace. Spicy malty aroma with some alcohol on the nose and some some earthy spicy Saaz-ish hop aroma. Spicy malts, hops, and some earthy/woody character give this a nice overall flavor. Medium bodied and smooth with a lingering dryness and warming alcohol sensation.

Very nice... hoping to get more of the "Lost Abbey" line of beers.

Per MJ notes:
Two-row Barley, Honey Malt, and what we call Port Custom Toast.
Brewers Gold, Strissespalt Spalt and Saaz hops.
Lager yeast strain at ale temperatures
O.G. 1.060
T.G. 1.008

(750 ml brown wine-like bottle, corked and caged)

 683 characters

Photo of pat61
4.5/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

L: Pours hazy gold under a persistent, clingy 3” creamy white foam collar.
S: Fruity nose, peach. A little over ripe fruit.
T: Fruit over shortbread biscuit with peach, melon, lemon, citrus with a light lingering honey sweetness balanced by earthy hops. A hint of marmalade.
F: Very creamy body with above average carbonation.
O: the brewer has nailed Belgian texture and yeast character. As good as anything from Belgium.

 428 characters

Photo of Stevedore
3.31/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

On tap at Lost Abbey in San Marcos, CA.

A- Lighter golden-copper body, half finger white head with minimal retention time, not much lacing.

S- Lightly toasted crackers, mild tartness, a bit of lemon, bread, baker's yeast. Decent complexity, but it seems to be lacking something; I'm not sure what that would be. Possibly some noble hops would make this nose more compelling. Or peppers.

F- Mild booziness at first, a bit of mild leathery funk, biscuits, crackers, lemon zest. Minerals. It's solid, but nothing special. As above, it seems to be missing something that would add some complexity.

M- Medium bodied, good carbonation, not soft nor hard but is about right. A bit of bitter lemon on the finish blunted by the bready sweetness.

O- Not my thing. It's certainly not like any other Biere de Garde or Saison that I've tried. Seems like it's missing something here. As above, it could probably benefit from something more than what it already has.

Final score: 3.30

 975 characters

Photo of ppoitras
3.95/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle bought at Julio's, Marlboro, MA. Corked and caged.

Poured in a heavy glass chalice, formed a 1/4" white head over the clear golden amber brew. Head lis quickly down to a layer of bubbles, with minimal lacing. Nose is sedate, but interesting with slightly spicy malt and lightly flowery hops. Taste starts with a biscuity maltiness upfront, comes on a bit fruity and alcoholic in the middle, and closes with light bitterness and lingering spices. Mouthfeel is quite bubbly for such a minimally frothed brew, and this brew is quite drinkable. And quite tasty.

 574 characters

Photo of tigg924
4.42/5  rDev +16%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: 1/3 inch head, clear, orange brown in color, high carbonation

Smell: bread, fruit, toffee, and toasted malt

Taste: bread, honey, peach, and toasted malt

Mouthfeel: sweet, light bodied with high carbonation

Drinkability: I really like this beer. A very good and bready beer with just the right spicing. Nice and malty, I cannot wait to have this again.

 367 characters

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.

 568 characters

Photo of rfgetz
3.97/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a murky gold color, plume of fizzy white head, quickly diminishing but leaving enough behind for lacing. Smell is a very faint blend of fresh cut grass, dried grains, fresh baked bread, mellow lemon and faint spice. Taste is akin to biting into a fresh loaf of artisan bread with a faint kiss of herbs. Lighter side of medium bodied, moderate carbonation levels. Finnished as dray as any liquid i have ever ingested. A nice beer, somewhat mild, but a plesent drinking experience.

 485 characters

Photo of scruffwhor
3.52/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Very quick, and blochy white head that recedes to nothing in a short amount of time. Golden, bright copper amber. Very tiny bubbles help make for a mediocre appearance. Faint green apple skins, a little grassy hops, toasty malts, and maybe some bretty-like yeast in the nose. Very dry toasted malt, maybe a little champagne in flavor. Then the earthy, grassy hops, and add a little lemon peel. Crisp palate with hard to miss earthy hop and yeast notes. Pretty hoppy biere de garde. Pretty good and quaffable.

 508 characters

Photo of DrJay
3.5/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Deep gold and slightly hazy, a thick cap of off-white soapy bubbles appeared after a hard pour. Sheets of sticky lace clung to the glass as the head slowly receded. Lemon zest and bread appeared first in the aroma, followed by notes of cereal, yeast, and ripe fruit. Most of the flavour was quite mild, a little bread and fruit, some lemon. But there was a strong, bitter clove character and alcohol warmth that overshadowed the rest and were quite distracting - the spicy bitterness lingered long into the finish all by itself too. Nice texture though, with a peppery tingle on the tongue and generous, airy carbonation. Not bad overall - I got used to the weirdness in the flavour after a while, maybe it just wasn't as prominent as it warmed. Either way, still worth a try.

 776 characters

Photo of Viggo
3.77/5  rDev -1%
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!

 684 characters

Photo of Jwale73
3.55/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

750ml bottle served in my Gouden Carolus chalice. Poured a hazy orange-gold with a quarter inch off-white head. Nose was alcohol and muted candi sugar. Taste follows nose, but also picked up some grassy notes. Mouthfeel is light and effervescent with some astringency and a lingering bitterness. Not really a huge fan of the style, but seems like it would pair well with many dishes.

 383 characters

Avant Garde from The Lost Abbey
3.81 out of 5 based on 714 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    No fake news here. Get real beer content delivered to your doorstep every month.