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: 714
Photo of number1bum
4.15/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed a bottle of this at Monk's Cafe in Philly. $13 seemed very reasonable to me.

Poured a slightly orangeish, light golden color with about an inch of off-white head. Maintained a very nice lace and left a good amount of stick, too.

Smell was quite floral, with light citrus aromas, fresh cut flowers, some herbal hops, and a little bit of yeast.

Taste had more herbal bitterness and less of those very nice, floral and citrusy characters that were in the smell. Still, it was quite refreshing with some light sweetness and a dry finish. It was also quite earthy and the herbal bitterness also gave off a musty sort of character. Finished dry with a medium body and seemingly appropriate level of carbonation.

I found this very refreshing and it really hit the spot on a cool spring day. I'd love to grab a few more of these.

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Photo of brian44556
4.15/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from a 750 mL bottle into a Teku glass. No age on the bottle, but this is 3-4 years old.

Pours an extremely hazy, deep honey with a thin head. Little retention and minimal lacing. Belgium yeast esters, fresh baked bread, and ripe, dark fruits on the nose. Very fruity, lots of earthy undertones, and a mild sweetness balanced out with a bit of spice. This beer has aged exceptionally well. Medium bodied, a bit dry, and low carbonation. I'm really digging this beer. First time having the style and it has me wanting to try more.

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Photo of JohnQVegas
4.17/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle into red wine glass.

Pours a very hazy, even cloudy, golden-orange, with a thin, wispy white head that settles intoa smattering of suds left over.

Nose is fresh baked bread, loads green apples, hints of buttery caramel. Floral.

Taste is delish - notes of doughy bread and green apples are here as in the nose, but complimented by a drying, balancing light, grassy hop bitterness. Finish carries more sour apples, some hints at over ripe pit fruit, and more of that bready sweetness that mimics fresh baked sourdough. Very nice experience.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied, with a nice carbonation that doesn't get in the way but supports the flavors nicely.

Drinkability is top notch - very impressed.

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Photo of PeterIngemi
4.18/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Split a 750 ml poured into a dfh snifter.

A: pours a very nice golden orange with a finger if fluffy white head.... Excellent retention... The head dissaptes To a film and remains for the rest of the glass... Incredible coating of lacing. Great looking beer!

S: pleasant fruity yeasty aroma, not overly spicy like some Belgian yeast tends to be, a touch of bready yeastyness as well... Very nice aroma, and I don't even usually care for yeast forward aromas.

T: yum, very nice light fruit notes of apple and pear, a very faint hint of caramel in with the fruit sweetness, and a bready yeasty finish, very gentle and well rounded. Lots of nice apple notes.

M: creamy and lush, excellent lively moderate carbonation, nice am slightly dry,
Bready yeasty finish. Love the mouthfeel on this one.

O: this is an excellent saison, great use of yeast, excellent balance, I'm not huge fan of this style, but this was great.

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Photo of SirRuss
4.18/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I'll skip over the details of this review since I'm writing from memory.

Overall - really impressed. Great expressions of Belgian yeast, and a perfect compromise between simplicity and character. Very easy drinking and incredibly refreshing.

Definitely worth trying, definitely worth buying again. Bring on the summer so we can really enjoy this one.

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Photo of AronVietti
4.18/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured at 50 degrees into a large wine glass, a very fresh bottle date December 2010

A - Poured with a large, persistent head, good lacing on the glass, and extremely clear.

S - Clean citrus and grass aromas, slight yeasty aroma, no spice or brett character, maybe too young
T - More citrus, good hop balance with a little bit of toast

M - Good body, surprising for how clean the aroma and taste are, almost like a very full bodied lager. A decent finish with lingering bitterness and citrus.

O - Overall I like it, I'm going to pour another glass and go sit on the porch. I'm going to cellar another bottle and come back to it and see how it is in a year.

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

A deep golden color, with a three finger thick white head on top. The head laces slowly down the glass. A definitive yeasty fragrance at first scent, that is followed by a spicy sweetness. That scent brings along some fruitiness and a touch of grass at the end. A very mild, mellow malty flavor at the front, followed with a bisuity flavor, along with a sweet spiciness. A mild hop citric bitterness hits the back of the palate at the end. A light mouthfeel, not watery though, it has more character. It tip-toes across the palate, bringing the cleansing feeling carbonation. This is my first expierence with this style and this brewery. The style is unique, the malt and spiciness are strong and disstinctive. This went well with a mixed green salad and balasmic vingerette.

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

Many thanks to Irishsnake for sending this to me during Secret Santa 2006.

This was my first Biere de Garde.

Poured a very pretty golden yellow with about a half inch head.

Aromas were mild. Slightly hoppy and slightly yeasty.

Taste was very good. Slightly dry, slightly yeasty. Went very well with some swiss cheese I was snacking on.

Good mouthfeel. Left a nice, clean palate.

Overall, a very drinkable beer and highly recommended!

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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.

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

pours amber orange with a thick head and a good bit of lacing

smell is honey, spice, pears and apricots

taste is very honey dominated apricots - so intense and fruit forward...

mouthfeel is light and smooth.

A delicious albeit slightly sweet saison driven by intense fruit character, a great brew.

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

Was quite the beer tasting last night, as I sat down with jac5084 and split a bottle of this...

A: Pours a very light peach color with pretty much no head at all...not even a skim of foam. Pretty clear though with only a slight haze.

S: I was not expecting such a robust smell from a Biere de Garde. It has a lot of light fruits, particularly banana, bus also some orange and lemon. No noticeable hops, but the Belgian yeast and spice was definitely there.

T: The taste is fantastic...very flavorful and complex...and rather viscous. A lot of light fruits, particularly banana, but also some lemon, orange and a hint of peach. A nice pepper aspect from the yeast shines, and not much hop presence. This was rather sweet.

I have not had much experience with Biere de Gardes, but this was a fantastic beer and very flavorful.

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

A_Pours a semi clear amber with an almost white one finger head. This settles fairly quickly into an interesting looking cap. It is made up of concentric circles culminating into a small dome of foam in the middle.

S_A gentle swirl unveils a mid intensity aroma redolent of freshly baked bread with hints of sour apple, black pepper and grape must.

T_The initial sip unveils a bready dough mixed with clover honey. This is followed by a mild bitterness which is a nice compliment. The finish is lightly floral with hints of black pepper. A light mineral quality comes out here as well.

M_Mouthfeel is a real strongpoint. The liquid is rather creamy and punctuated with a soft but present carbonation.

D_Dangerously drinkable. The 7% is barely noticeable, this drinks like a more flavourful table beer. For the style, there could be more funk but it isn't supposed to be too funky.

The first of the Lost Abbey I have purchased in NYC. The price renders this a rare treat but the beer itself is very good.

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Photo of hman43
4.21/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Look: It pours golden with a full head. It is hazy with a slightly off white head.

Smell: It has a malty sweet aroma highlighted by toast and bread. There are some spices and light fruit as it warms.

Taste: It has flavors of toast and bread. There are also moderate spices and low pepper. As it warms, it has a fruity ester character that develops.

Fee: It has a dry finish with a moderate body. There is some alcohol warming.

Overall, this is a beer balance toward the malt with a complex blend of flavors.

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Photo of jgasparine
4.22/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Poured from the bottle with a large offwhite head, which quickly receded to a haze layer and collar. No significant lacing. The mildly carbonated body was a turbid honey color- The tubidity comes from sediment disturbed from the bottom of the bottle.

S- The aroma is true to style: malt-forward with some cellar-like musty notes. Subtle nuances of treacle and tropical fruit esters.

T- On the palate it doesn't come-across true to style... it starts out as anticipated, malt-forward with some mild mustiness. But on the midpalate some of those mild tropical fruit-like yeast esters kick in. Into the finish, some mild citrus hop bitterness kicks-in, and lingers resinous in the peppery finish. Nuances of orange-marmalade on all subsequent sips. This is a wonderful American twist on the French style!

M- Thin body, softly carbonated, no astringency. Occasional texture from yeast sediment. Nothing special here.

D- A super-quaffable. The alcohol is exceptionally well hidden. A perfect beer for a warm afternoon on the patio.

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Photo of sitarist
4.22/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Golden in color with hints of amber. A whirlwind of bubbles race up to a few inches of eggshell white head. The head takes its time falling, leaving rings of lacing behind.

It has a strong, but pleasant aroma. Fruity, musky, spicy, sweet, and sexy...this is a treat, and challenge to ones nose. Apples, bread, honey, ginger, orange, I keep getting a hint of gin, strippers, etc... Olfaction obliteration!

Like the aroma it is a mixed bag. The main flavors I detect are apples, bread, and Mozzarella. It also has an herbal thing going on as well.

Medium body bordering on creamy, and dry.

A great beer experience!

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Photo of MadScientist
4.23/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: A pale gold with good clarity and a persistent off-white head comprised of rocky and thick creamy bubble that leaves lacing on the glass.

S: The aroma is spicy, hoppy and fruity. There is a moderate pepper phenol and apricot ester with moderate spicy hops. There is a malt sweetness and a very slight perfume alcohol. Some light orange peel in there as well.

T: Moderate hops bitterness with a bunch of spicy that seems to be from both the yeast and the hops flavor so it's peppery and noble hop-like. There is some malt sweetness which does linger into the aftertaste. The finish is fairly dry. The balance seems to be modestly bitter.

M: The body is medium-light with high carbonation. There is a little bit of that astringency common to the Biere de Garde style.

O: A very drinkable example of this style and I will search long and wide for the sour version because layering some sour notes one will make a fantastic beer.

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Photo of notchucknorris
4.23/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Hazy golden color with a fairly large head that fades pretty lazily.

S: Light malts and freshly baked bread in the smell.

T: In my notes, I wrote that it tastes like a saison but without the funk. Something very earthy about the taste. Freshly baked bread in the taste as well along with a slight hint of earthy hops.

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Photo of BlindPig
4.25/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- big 1" off white head in my Duvel tulip. Clear orange body (a darker shade of orange but not dark). Leaves a nice pretty big lacing that sticks to side of glass.
S- A lighter malt back with some fresh european hops. Maybe a bit grassy or floral. Lemon and a few other citrus fruit aromas. Maybe a bit yeasty also. Another hint of something that can't pin point.
T- Lemon flavor comes through a long with maybe a lime hint too? Some light spices. Cloves and maybe some other spices. This is all blended with a nice light European hop flavor. A light bitterness is left in the aftertaste. A pale malt is also in there to help balance out everything.
M- Medium body with a medium to high carbonation.
D- It is a very drinkable beer. I wouldn't say its one of my favorite but if it was cheaper this would be a great beer to have when just in the mood for a nice refreshing beer. I could see this going well with most foods also. Since it is on the lighter side but the flavors do come out nicely. It's not a weak flavored beer.

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Photo of JBogan
4.25/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy dark honey color with a small one finger white top which recedes quickly. Minimal lacing id left behind.

There's a yeasty aroma, along with some grains along with a slight citric quality.

The taste is bready, along with a bit of honey and alcohol. I've had many beers which had these same attributes but this one seems to blend them all together better than most. A very nice tasting brew.

Mouthfeel was thick and smooth, yet finishes a little bit dry.

Overall I was surprised by this beer, as I had been slightly disappointed by some of the other Lost Abbey offerings. This one however hits the mark, and I'll certainly be having this one again.

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Photo of vfgccp
4.26/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A - Spot on for a biere de garde; deep hay and ice tea body is darker than a classic saison, as it should be. Beautiful cream white head has fantastic lace and retention.

S - Big, dry barn notes. Dried weeds, dusty root cellar, and waxy dandelion bitters.

T - Herbal up front with thyme and parsley balanced by agave and a light honey sweetness through the center. Straw and earthy mushroom backend with lots of nutty wheat.

M - Thick and creamy with a surprisingly light frame. Low carbonation.

O - A really nice, accessible biere de garde on the sweeter side of the style. A great table beer for thanksgiving.

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Photo of bluemoonswoon
4.27/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750mL bottle, my last review in my trade with BrewerB.

A: Clear golden orange with a tightly packed but quickly receding head. Looks nice, but not especially inviting.

S: Sweet and bready, detectable citrus hop profile mixed with a nice balance between lemon zest and coriander.

T/MF: Solid chewy and toasty malt profile backed by a slightly citrusy and pineapply hop bitterness. Tastes much like it smells, mild grapefruit mixed with fresh baked bread. Solidly malty with a slight fruity kick. Nice and sweet with a medium bodied and almost crunchy mouthfeel. Finishes with a balance of mild alcoholic heat with tangerine and even more pineapple.

D: While this beer does not look or smell out of this world amazing, I found it hard to put this beer down. I sipped and sipped and before I even noticed the bottle was empty. Overall a very tasty, highly drinkable, biere de garde.

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Photo of Pardishcreel
4.28/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

It looked a golden color with lots of head. It's overly carbonated.
The taste was sweet but very fruit infused I thought the sweetness came out nice really balanced with the abv%.
The mouthfull had to much carbonation, but as for the drinkability it was a beer I could have anytime.

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Photo of jujubeast6000
4.3/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed 1/2/2009 (bottle):

Pours a somewhat hazy orange colored body with a big foamy white head, lasting. Sweet floral aroma. Some musty dark fruit too., also some nuttiness. Nice light floral taste, some spiciness. Soft carbonated palate. Some nuttiness balancing the hoppiness. A little bitter hoppiness, along with some dustiness. Tasty.

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