Avant Garde is the third bottle I’ve opened from the big batch of Lost Abbey beers I received. The name is a play on the style of beer—Bière de Garde (French farmhouse ale)—but "avant garde" also has the meaning of being experimental, or on the edge—referring usually to things that are ahead of their time. I think Lost Abbey is pretty much avant garde in that sense, combining traditional Belgian styles with the "new" American brewing sensibilities.
Avant Garde the ale is excellent. So far it’s my favorite of the three I’ve opened. I mowed the lawn after I came home from work, so I couldn’t think of a better way to relax than popping the cork on the bottle, sitting out on the patio in the nice evening weather, and tasting this beer.
Appearance: Light and gold with a slight haze. Nicely fuzzy head, audibly fizzing. Reminds me of nectar. There’s visible sediment on the bottom of the bottle, too.
Smell: Some nice floral aroma, and a touch of sour. A little bit of fruit and orange blossoms, and a mild Belgian farmhouse yeast character. Fairly delicate aroma overall, I’d say.
Taste: Oh my, that is a good beer. Big and malty with cotton candy and rock candy, and even though it sounds weird, there’s a vegetable note that’s really good… beets? It’s rich, whatever it is. Malts are nice and toasty and bready. I’m noticing it gets spicy as it warms up. Quite simply—superb.
Mouthfeel: Rich and thick but not chewy… complex flavors roll around the palate and it just works. You want to keep sipping and sipping…
Overall: What, I should gush about this beer some more? It’s good. It’s #20 on Men’s Journal’s 25 best beers in America. ‘Nuff said.