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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: 346 | Ratings: 706
Photo of anonymoose
3.25/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

The bottle is 5 years old at the time of review. At this age the beer has a hazy orange color. The aroma is sweet malt and spice. The taste follows with bready malt, spice, hop bitterness, and a little bit of funk. The beer has held up well but the taste isn't that remarkable.

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Photo of jacobseyb
3.28/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A=Pours a nice reddish brown copper color with an off white head that laces decently and dissipates quickly

S=not very strong aromas, but some biscuity malt followed with some apple

T=similar to smell with some dryness and crispness

M=dry with some good carbonation that doesn't stick around long

D=drinkable for sure, but not one I'm going after really often.

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Photo of Phelps
3.28/5  rDev -13.9%
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.

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Photo of cosmicevan
3.3/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

bottle from...sheesh...a WHILE ago. poured into a lost abbey teku.

a - brew poured a transparent shimmering orange...almost with pinkish tints. nice finger of fizzy, but partially creamy head. really nice visible steady carbonation swam to the surface.

s - nose is a toasted malt, some syrupy caramel sweetness. earthy.

t - taste picks up where the nose left off starting out with some toasted malt and then washed over with caramel sweetness.

m - fairly full bodied and chewy. soft carbonation.

o - overall BdG isn't my favorite style, but this is a nice offering. a bit rich and syrupy and chewy for what i like in this style, but the toasted malt is nice. the caramel and thickness make it feel like an old barleywine. this beer should've been consumed a while ago.

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Photo of OlieIPA
3.3/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

For a farmhouse ale, I thought it was alright. It had a nice yellow/orange appearance with a nice two-finger head. The taste on the other hand was a bit weak...wish it had just a little more of that citrus and yeasty flavor to it. The mouthfeel was okay, with the right amount of carbonation. The beer was also very easy to drink and would probably have it again.

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Photo of drabmuh
3.3/5  rDev -13.4%
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.

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3.31/5  rDev -13.1%
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.

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Photo of zoso1967
3.31/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Avent garde pours a slightly amber golden color with a tightly packed head that is just a shade too dark to be called bright white. The head sticks around forever and leaves wonderful lacing on the tulip glass. Before I go any further, I just have to give Lost Abbey props for the name. It is both clever and classy. The aroma is fairly subdued, but quite nuanced with a touch of toasted malt sweetness, a hint of acidic fruit and a bit of musty tartness. The flavor is balanced, but slightly malt forward with a definite breadyness that mixes with noble hop flavor, apricot, lemon and a touch of toasted malt. That cellar tartness is in the flavor as well, though it is not as funky as say, your average saison. As the beer warms, the esters from the yeast really take over and it becomes a bit unpleasant. The mouthfeel is medium with a nice slightly dry finish that has a spiciness to it that is not nearly as prominent before swallowing. The drinkability really suffers from the yeast taking over as it warms. This is my first biere de garde and I am looking forward to trying others in the future.

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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

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Photo of Dukeofearl
3.33/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

750 ml bottle shared with my wife. Purchased at LaBodega in Riverside, CA in July 2007; price not noted ($8.99?).

Pours a pretty golden with almost no carbonation and almost no head. Haziness from onboard yeasties keep this one pretty cloudy.

Aroma slightly sharp yeastiness, spicy in an ill-defined way. Flavor is moderately bodied, full of a variety of yeast flavors, with a sharp acid and hops ending.

I'll be honest, I love Pizza Port beers, I loved the Lost & Found Ale and I quite enjoyed the Red Barn Ale, but this one leaves me disappointed. Not really sure why, to be honest, but it just doesn't grab me. Maybe I need to try another day and see if it an off batch or it's me.

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Photo of impending
3.34/5  rDev -12.3%
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.

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Photo of olafisberserker
3.35/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Tried this out of a 1 pt 9.4 oz bottle at home.

A - A light golden color with a fluffy white head that leaves a little trace on the glass.

S - Fairly fruity aroma with a tropical smell dominating.

T - As with the smell, a taste of fruit. Strong banana taste leading it off.

M - A nice level of carbonation that dances across the tongue. Doesn't sit heavy in the mouth but does not have the typical feel of a 'light' beer in the mouth. A nice body.

O - A nice, light beer with easy drinkability. A little fruity but not in a terribly bad way.

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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 cookin420
3.37/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

bottle poured into chalice.
huge white head over very pale, translucent beer with yellows and oranges.
Smells sweet. Figs and apples.
Wow, This does not taste like it smells. Quite dry, I taste bitter citrus fruits and their zests. This is a very complex but easily palatable ale.
Fairly viscous. low to moderate carbonation and a pleasant dry mouthfeel make this a silky brew to tip.
Drinkability is quite nice.
good beer. almost worth 12 bucks.

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Photo of jwc215
3.37/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Thanks to nacir69 for this one -

Pours hazed golden. When finishing off the bottle, it was very murky. A thin head almost immediately disappears.

The smell is of caramel, bready yeast and some vague fruitiness.

The taste is of bready yeast, caramel and a touch of banana fruitiness. Herbal notes are restrained, but peek through at times. Sweet, with a warming alcohol finish.

Light-to-medium-bodied,. A bit too yeasty - in a bland doughy way - for me. Maybe they need to take the malt up a notch. Bottom line - not a bad stab at the style, but it falls short of anything approaching greatness or "standing out" for the style.

Got another from bitterbill - thanks Bill!

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Photo of Mryup
3.37/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Pours a cloudy golden honey with 1/2 an inch of white sparse head that I'm surprised to find holds its retention quite well. Too hazy for the style.

S: Elusive hops, bread, grapes and some other unknown fruit...perhaps caramel malt. Classic ale smell with the alcohol pleading it's presence.

T: Not necessarily a simple beer but simple tasting. Bread, grapes and slight hop presence. The appearance and smell intimidates but this is actually a mild beer.

M: Deceptively heavy. Pleads lightness but it is really like swallowing liquid bread dough. Turns light at the end and carbonation is acceptable.

D: Not a pounder. A heavy beer that deceives the drinker into thinking it is a lighter beer because of appearance and mildness. Very unusual.

Lost Abbey does a nice job for the style.

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Photo of orbitalr0x
3.38/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I've been hanging onto this a little bit now and figured it's time to pop the cork. Pours into my glass a hazy amber/orange with a small fizzy white head that forms a ring around the top. Aromas begin with some toasted grains and caramel. A light fruity spiciness is there as well. Earthy yeast with a slight twang, baked bread with some herbal hops. This just doesn't grab me.

First sip brings a toasted grain malt upfront with a nice hit of caramel. Fruity spiciness is evident and I pick up a grape skin and green apple flavor. Flows down with a bready, yeasty aspect and some earthy tones as well. Just a slight sour twang to it. Finishes with a touch of hops. A bit dry and grainy.

Mouthfeel is on the lighter side while still having a nice creaminess to it. Ample carbonation, the beer goes down easily and is refreshing. Overall, this just doesn't match up with some of the better Biere de Garde's I've sampled. Doubt I'd seek this brew out again, but I look forward to sampling some of the other Lost Abbey brews.

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

This fills the goblet with aprocot colored hazy liquid toped with a full finger of white head that melts to craggy top-covering goodness.
The smell is musty, toasted malt with a definite earthiness and powdery dryness that seems to evolve into slightly sweet amber malts.
Mouthfeel is both watery and foamy from the abundant carbonation. Sharp bitterness hits the tip of the tongue first then slips away to dry, earthiness.
The flavors are very different from the smells although some of the same adjectives describe them both.
Sharp orange-peel.
Lightly toasted malt.
Mists of honey.
....then, drying with the reminder of both orange and grapefruit peel bitter hops.
Interesting...definitely an American take on the style.

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

Pours a hazy and unfiltered orange brown into a large wine glass. Nice half inch head sits for a while before succumbing to the gravitational forces that be. Maintains a surface ring throughout and an easily regenerated surface film as desired.

Smell is funky, musty and rather unusual for me. A touch of orange along with wet leather, some fig and overripe banana. An unusual smell for an unfamiliar style. Yet overall just a touch annoying initially. As the beer warms, the nose oscillates between a nice yeast and said leather. Not bad per se, though surely different and a touch questionable in the end.

Taste follows suit with a light fruitiness, sour apple perhaps, and some lingering dried fruit/fig flavors. Carbonation is high for a Lost Abbey brew and quite welcome given my other experiences. Plan to research the style for more info, nonetheless an intriguing brew. I give it the benefit of the doubt, yet I have my doubts...

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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 UCLABrewN84
3.41/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at The Los Abbey/Port tasting room in San Marcos, CA.

Pours a clear honey gold with an off-white head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Foamy rings of lace line the glass on the drink down. Smell is pretty weak and is of grain/malt and mild spices. Taste is of grain, spices, and some slight citrus flavors on the finish. There is a mild bitterness on the palate after each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer but it tastes better than it smells.

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Photo of tbern007
3.41/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had this one at the Crowfoot Valley in CR, CO.
Pours hazy golden, light amber, orange. Huge white head, good lace.
Scent is light pale malt, grass, a little bit of yeast.
Taste is of yeast, grass, pale malt, a tiny bit of peach and lemon. Initial taste is better than after. Finishes a bit bitter and peppery, dry.
Light mouthfeel. A little light on the carbonation.
Overall decent but I probably wouldn't get it again. So many others out there to try....

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Photo of BMMillsy
3.41/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

On draft at Pizzacato in San Diego. Pours deep golden, clear, with a big creamy white head. Hay aroma, some yeast, with light pale malt sweetness. Flavor is very light hay and hops, again with light malt honey sweetness. Does not finish particularly clean or crisp, and there is lingering yeast on the palate. relatively light bodied with medium carbonation. This tasted much like a standard Helles lager to me when I was expecting a bit more farmhouse and light yeasty goodness. Only OK in my book.

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Photo of paleoplant
3.43/5  rDev -10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This beer had a nice cloudy color and I was looking forward to trying it. Since I am a fan of smelling the beer, I was expecting a strong aroma, but unfortunately this beer has little odor at all. Obviously that doesn't discount this beer, it's was just deceiving. The first sip had a nice mouthfeel: nicely carbonated but not too muc. The taste of this beer is subtle. If you are looking for a bold flavor, it does not exist here, although I found the crisp, mild taste to be quite enjoyable. I say you should try it...

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Photo of laituegonflable
3.43/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a pale, almost fluoro-orange colour, glowing yellow where the light strikes the edges, very opaque and hazy. Head is fairly humble, bubbly and sunk in the middle. Leaves some beautiful webs of lace around. Lookin' good there, beer.

Smells quite hoppy, actually quite earthy and resinous. Fair amount of citric character on that providing some fruit, but it's a rindy fruit smell, quite bitter. Aside from that a slight pear aroma and lots of soil, leather and grass. Bit subdued overall but what's there is quite nice.

Taste is...interesting. Minty flavour starts off the front, then a fair amount of yeasty character. Plenty of grain, with puffed rice and wheat coming through, and just a slight bready note on the mid. Very bitter and phenolic on the back, just a huge aspirin bitterness and a slight ashiness to it as well. Really quite bold and I can't say it's pleasing me a lot. Nice at the start, but just a very mediciney finish. It's impressive, just not my cup of bitter aspirin.

Swills quite well in the mouth, a lot of body to it but a nice silky texture. A touch of carbonation foam as well makes it almost broth-like. Really quite nice feel.

The medicinal bitterness puts me off, but it's not terrible and I can enjoy large parts of this beer, just not the part that counts most - my remembrance of each sip.

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Avant Garde from The Lost Abbey
3.81 out of 5 based on 706 ratings.
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