Avant Garde | The Lost Abbey

very good
723 Ratings
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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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Ratings: 723 |  Reviews: 349
Photo of biboergosum
3.95/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Unibroue-esque Belgian bomber, with lots of Celtic cross imagery. Into a chalice it goes...

This beer pours a slightly cloudy golden orange hue, with a finger or so of soapy white head, which leaves no lace as it melts away. It smells of very light white wine spritzer. The taste is mildly sour prune, cherry candy, musty pitted fruit, light funky barnyard, an echo of metallic yeastiness, and a wallflower of caramel malt. There's a twinge of alcohol pull, more evident as it warms. The carbonation is fairly strong, the body moderately round, and kind of dusty, and it finishes very dry, some peach pit fruit essence lingering for a bit.

This is very much like a collision of a sour ale and sparkling wine, and is all the tastier for it.

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

liter bottle poured into a wine glass. pours a cloudy apricot orange color with one finger of white head with decent retention and no lacings.

aroma is fruity and yeasty with fruit notes of apple, citrus and some apricot. other notes include a bit of alcohol and some belgian yeast in the background.

taste is more of the same with a light alcoholic spice and a yeasty base. somewhat smooth with a sharp finish of alcohol residual is pretty crisp with only a bit of fruit.

mouthfeel is light to medium in body with a lightly sweet and crisp finish leaving the palate clean.

drinkability is decent. the flavors are a bit less distinct than they could be. overall the brew is tasty and a bit boozy, but remains quite drinkable.

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

I got this beer on a recent trip to Colorado.

L: Light brown, quite cloudy, a small but nice head

S: a little bit fruity with slight citrus overtones; nice, sweet smell but a bit alcoholy

T: Surprisingly intense at front. I taste a touch cloves and just a tad bit sour, which is nice.

F: Creamy but it's quite a bit carbonated

D: A nice, sippable beer. Good with fruit and cheese. This beer comes off stronger than it is but it still is fairly drinkable.

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Photo of srandycarter
3.62/5  rDev -5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This bottle was in the cellar for some time. It might be older than optimal.

A - Dark copper, .5 inch off white head leaves to small ring fast. Some sudsy lacing.

S - Pretty plain. Some malty goodness, a little brine. Very light banana.

T - Spice, a little gingerbread, fresh fruit.

M - Medium body, perfect carb, good balance.

D - Not a bad brew, will quaff the 750 easily.

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Photo of craytonic
3.38/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Hazy apricot. Good head and lacing.

Smell: Pale malt, banana, spice

Taste: Pale malt, yeast, bread, coriander, banana, spices, crisp tart apple and pear. Some citrus.

Mouthfeel: Well done carbonation, which is actually surprising for lost abbey.

Drinkability: You could drink it, if you wanted to.

Average in every way. Beer is also not typical of the style.

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

Very nice bright, hazy apricot color with a thick, dense head. The nose has a pleasant sweet, light fruitiness with a dusting of hops--not very de Garde-like, but it is appetizing. The flavor has a clean grassy hoppiness, some light malt, and a little tartness at the finish. Nice effervescent body, lots of carbonation, but light on the tongue.

Biere de garde is one of my favorite styles, and this isn't a very good de garde beer. The yeast profile is way too neat and clean. However, it's a very tasty beer, with no obvious flaws, well worth buying again.

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

Had this at the Lost Abbey for the Xmas party. 4 buck pints are your friend.

Appearance: Hazy yellow-gold with a little foamy white head and nice retention.

Smell: Nothing too floral or overwhelming, but grassy hops greet the nose after the first rush of barley, but really wasn't all that funky. I had a few Saison samples today as well and this was nowhere near as farmy or anything. Simple, unoffensive, and basic.

Taste: This word always leads me to laugh, but I thought it a little zesty. Sort of fruity, nothing too huge though, with grassy malt character and a little bready texture to it as well. A little spice, a little fruit, a little taste, but it all comes together nicely.

Mouthfeel: Well carbonated, but in the hot brewery, whew, the taste was unoffensive enough to make it a quick sipper and easy drinker for refreshment.

Drinkability: Would've stuck with the Gooze if it were still an option for availability / my wallet, but definitely fun to try. I might pick up a bottle if I ever see a particularly good sale on it, but it didn't blow nor drive me away. Quality, easy-drinker.

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Photo of Kegatron
3.58/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

750 ml corked & caged bottle into an oversized snifter.

Pours a clear gold, with a finger of foamy brite-white head. Retains around the edges with some thin wisps in the center, but this flares up very nicely, leaving some big swathes of lace back. The aroma is bready sweetness, floral hops and spice, with maybe even some dark fruits thrown in. This is floral and sweet overall.

The taste is bread and citrus tang, with a touch of yeast, and a dry spicy quality to it. Much like the aroma, I'm defintely getting some dark fruit here in the taste. Finishes with a warmth, tang, and bitterness that sticks to the palate. The mouthfeel is medium bodied, with a lower (yet gentle) carbonation that gives this an extremely silky feel in the mouth. There's a bit of alcohol beef to this but it's not overly noticeable.

This drank pretty good for the size but I wish that the flavors had gone a bit deeper. Quite refreshing with the lighter body. I'm glad to have tried this but one bottle was enough.

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Photo of womencantsail
3.63/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: A hazy copper color with lots of white foam.

S: Yeasty and bready/doughy with some orange aroma.

T: Also yeasty, some caramel and malt flavors, the citrus here is mild as well.

M: Good carbonation and medium bodied.

D: Certainly not bad, but not outstanding, either.

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Photo of gpogo
4.07/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Hazed deep copper orange with large tan head.

A- Deliciously sweet aroma, fruity notes of apple and citrus. Very light funk.

T- Fruity citrusy flavor. I get some apple tastes after a spicy bite.

M- Medium body high carbonation.

D- Delicious. Very enjoyable farmhouse ale.

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Photo of clvand0
4/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a cloudy orange color with a tall white head that has good retention and leaves some lacing on the glass. The aroma has a touch of funk, but mostly comprised of citrus notes and a little breadiness. The flavor is quite fruity (citrus) with a touch of sour and funk. The carbonation keeps things light. Reminds me of a barnyard version of a witbier. The mouthfeel is light-medium and the drinkability is good. Tasty.

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Photo of ClockworkOrange
3.92/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 750ml corked bottle into my basic tulip glass. Appears a cloudy muted orange color with about a finger of quickly fading fizzy head. The flavor and aroma is of spicy yeasty bread, citrus such as lemon and orange peel, a touch of caramel, grassy bitter hops. Just about a notch more than medium bodied with ample carbonation. Rather quenching on a warm evening.

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Photo of bashiba
3.37/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured a dirty and cloudy orange color with a light and sticky head.

Very musty and funky nose with a lot of yeast.

The flavor is defined by the yeast with a big musty taste mixing in subtle oak flavors and a long grainny malt body.

The mouthfeel is slightly thick with a long slick body.

Not to bad, but not good enough to justify the price of a second bottle.

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Photo of Blakaeris
4.2/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours dark orange with a creamy white head.

Aroma is citrus in character, orange stands out with accompanying pineapple and melon.

Taste is a strong caramel malt base. Very citrus in character with an orange peel bitterness, rather than citrus hops. Hops that are present have an earthy character that matches well with the general mustiness that lingers throughout.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied.

Overall, a very drinkable Biere De Garde. Flavor is unified, with a tasty orange peel finish. Certainly worth a try.

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

1st beer of this style

A- copper and cloudy with off white head and some white lacing that sticks to the glass

S- very bready and yeasty some lemon zest in there and a delightful hint of funkyness

T- lemon zest a little funk, some bread, and some more tart but i cant put my finger on it

M- medium body good carbonation

D- smooth nice beer for a hot day

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Photo of johnnnniee
4.2/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pulled this bottle out of the cellar tonight, it seems it's time had come. This bottle is about a year old at time of review.

Pours a clear dark golden color with a fluffy white head that dissipates to a cap. Nice lacing on the way down. Smells of bread and oranges, fig, a bit of honey. Taste is semi sweet with bready malty sweetness with orange and citrus flavors peaking through an almost earthy character. Lingering alcohol in the finish. Full body, slick mouthfeel, medium carbonation. I really enjoyed this one! Not to phenolic, light and fruity with a touch of alcohol.

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Photo of ckeegan04
3.85/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Clear copper with a frothy dirty white head. Decent retention and good lacing. Steady rise of carbonation bubbles to the top of the beer.

S - Very bready aroma up front. Light fruit tartness becomes more noticeable as the beer warms. Hints of banana and just a little lemon zest. Reminds me a little of fresh baked banana bread, easy on the banana.

T - Light, sweet breadiness up front with a strong fruity taste quickly coming in. A nice spicy and grassy mix of tastes come through mid drink. Lacking the "funkiness" that I expected, but this is my first biere de garde so I might have had the wrong expectations. As I continue through the drink a spicy hop taste really begins to dominate.

M/D - Light bodied and very crisp. Excellent carbonation and an easy drinker. Nothing remarkable about this beer, but a nice one all around.

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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 BEERchitect
3.82/5  rDev +0.3%
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.

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Photo of Arbitrator
3.08/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

Chilled bottle into a glass. I initially got a flat one but didn't review it; Lost Abbey sent me a replacement after I sent them an e-mail, and this is a review of the replacement.

A: A hazy honey / light amber body with gold tint when held to the light. Pours with a finger of head that quickly recedes into nothing, despite a vigorous pour. Uh oh. I think this one is flat, too. That explains why it took so much work to pull out the cork.

S: Lots of earthy must with leather. Closer sniffing reveals orange (sweet) and fig. Couldn't detect any hop aromas.

T: Light orange on the initial taste. The mid-taste is mostly leather and earthy must, which remains through to the slightly sweet fig-based finish. Earthiness lingers well into the aftertaste. A pretty nice flavor. A Biere de Garde should have more hops though.

M: Medium body. Totally flat, unfortunately, which detracts from the score a lot. Has a well masked ABV.

D: Pretty easy to down this one. Unfortunately, after two flat bottles of this, I'm not going to be buying more, especially at the price.

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Photo of biegaman
3.91/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A narrowly brighter tone than pumpkin pie with watercolour-like strands of orange peel showcased up against the afternoon sunlight. The beer has an unusual and distinctive colour; a tone far more clear and concentrated than an IPA but lighter and more fluorescent than most amber Bieres de Garde. It is spotlessly clean (unless the addition of yeast sediment). The head is committed and appears like cotton bolls ready for harvest.

As much as the beer in general may encourage reflection and slow contemplation, the aroma itself does very little to stimulate it. The smell is quite pleasant, albeit modestly plain. It doesn't showcase much of hops, malts, or yeast. There is a light layer of butterscotch, a pinch of herbs, a drop of honey, farmhouse straw and a bed of toasted grains but this combination fails to keep the nose overly engaged.

Something about this tastes authentically "French", which should be the aimed character in a Biere de Garde, a traditional French style after all. For those who aren't familiar with the typical musty house character of Bieres de Garde, they often impart a distinctively herbal and earthy maltiness. There are hints of grass, straw and dry hay, honeysuckle and melon and very earthy, herbal hops on the finish.

And beyond that there's a definite suggestion of caramel and little crumbs of toasty, fresh baked bread (a member of the brewery confirmed with me that they still actually use toast that they themselves make in the Pizza Port pizza ovens). The flavour isn't terribly complex but like any staple remotely French I imagine it would pair wonderfully with a huge variety of foods, in particular hearty vegetables, strong cheeses and game meats.

I don't have much experience with Bieres de Garde, most coming from American interpretations or the more commercial French exports, but I have had a few really good ones. It's a style of subtlety and simplicity. These beers wouldn't be worth "keeping around" if they weren't something special. Like Tomme Arthur's other Old World reflective pieces, this does the European rural towns proud. And it also makes me happy.

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Photo of malcontent
3.54/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Honey-colored body with vigorous bubbles feeding a thin, downy white head.

Bready malt nose supported by earth must. Spicy hops are in the background but present. Still, a "weak" nose.

This definitely mashes old world barnyard funk, bready malt and noble hops with an American "extreme" edge (read; more hops). Not bad, but the hops (tastes almost like a blend of Saaz and Goldings) merge with the malt sweetness in an awkward fashion creating almost a vegetal aftertaste.

Not as active on the carbonation front as I would expect from most Northwest European styles. Full body is certain appropriate, though. An interesting if perhaps challenging brew.

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

Bottle shared by shigadeyo.

Poured a hazy orange color with an average white frothy head that lasted and produced good lacing. Moderate yeasty and sweet citrus aroma. Medium body with a smooth texture and flat carbonation. Medium yeasty sweet flavor with a smooth citrus sweet finish of average duration.

Soft drinkable brew.

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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 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.

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Avant Garde from The Lost Abbey
3.81 out of 5 based on 723 ratings.
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