Summer Solstice - Anderson Valley Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Summer SolsticeSummer Solstice

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1,406 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,406
Reviews: 483
rAvg: 3.67
pDev: 15.26%
Wants: 58
Gots: 159 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Anderson Valley Brewing Company visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
Cream Ale |  5.00% ABV

Availability: Summer

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: xlperro on 05-09-2005

Our Summer Solstice Seasonal Ale is a slightly sweet, malty session beer with a creamy mouth feel and clean finish. With hints of caramel in the nose and a touch of spice, it’s become affectionately known as “cream soda for adults”. The unique flavors and superior drinkability make for the ultimate refreshment on a hot summer day.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,406 | Reviews: 483
Reviews by SpdKilz:
Photo of SpdKilz
3.35/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - Pours a dark amber color with about half finger of head that quickly dissipates leaving lackluster lacing.

Smell - Slight biscuit malt, caramel, and floral notes. Not much there.

Taste - This is my first "cream" ale, and there really is an odd creamy sensation. Slight orange, malt, spices such as nutmeg and vanilla. Interesting but not really digging it.

Mouthfeel - Creamy, light carbonation.

Drinkability - Not very. Glad I only got a single. Interesting to try but would not try it again.

More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
3.9/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep copper with a one finger fizzy-like head that is gone pretty quickly leaving no lace behind,lighter aromas on the malty side a touch of roastiness and some nuts in there as well.Malt dominated flavors lightly sweet even more so in the finish pretty grainy and lighter in the mouthfeel department.There is a spice in this brew that I cant put my finger on,Iam thinking vanilla the more I drink but not quite sure.A pretty good offering and highly drinkable good for the summer months for sure.

Photo of tectactoe
3.51/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

On tap at the Park Bar in Detroit. Pours a burnt amber-traffic-light kind of color with a small, wispy white head that remains as a thin film on the top of the beer. Virtually no lacing was left on the way down. Upon the first sniff and taste, you immediately get a sense of some wild, fruity flavors, maybe like wild berry and white grape. However, I knew there was a stronger taste that I couldn't quite put my finger on until the beer warmed up -- figs. Halfway through, the figs were prominent and easily noticeable. By the end it was like a liquid Fig Newton. Very unique and very tasty. Little bit of hops in the background, but overall more malt. Body was medium-thin, clean, left your mouth a little wet afterwards. Sharp carbonation on the back of the tongue, maybe just a bit too much.

Overall, a nice and refreshing beer that tastes of berries and figs. Very commendable for being so unique, I'd most likely have this one again.

Photo of Guden
4.08/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A- Reddish amber with copper highlights. Pours with a nice creamy 1 inch thick head with great retention and pretty lacing.

S- Lots of deep caramel and vanilla sweetness with a little bit of sweet corn, malt and blackberry.

T- Awesome. Lots of nice fresh vanilla and melted caramel with still just a hint of the berry found in the nose and just the faintest bitterness on the back to really round it out. Light enough in flavor to drink a bunch on a hot day but strong enough to keep you coming back.

M- Very creamy with a moderate carbonation to round out the flavors. Perfect for the style and exceptional regardless.

D- Tasty and easy drinking, had it on tap at the brewery and decided to pick up a six pack (in cans) and it was just as good. A very satisfying drink.

Photo of Jason
3.79/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap at the Sunset Grill & Tap.

Dark brownish copper with a thin but steady head, clarity is fine.

Aromas of toasted grain and mild hop mirror the flavor, crisp wheat and bready ... very smooth. Suggestions of pears and vanilla come to mind. Quite malty but to big of a body for a summer brew. Very mild hopping though the palate does dry out in the end.

A tasty switch from the usual pale summer brews.

Photo of tigg924
4.22/5  rDev +15%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: amber, small carbonation, clear, 1/4 inch head

Smell: malt, pepper, spice, bread

Taste: malt, caramel, cream, and bread

Mouthfeel: creamy, smooth, sweet, light body with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: I like the creamy caramal malt taste that I associate more with a RIS. This one hits the style guidelines to a T. I could have several of this mini-malt bomb

Photo of jakester
4/5  rDev +9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I got this as a single at Union Jack's on the Manatawny. No friggin' date, (this is going to be my personal quest), but this was fresh.

Pours a beautiful clear deep copper with a beige, one finger head that drops fairly quickly. Carbonation evident. No lacing.

Aromas of caramel/toffee, herbal hops, spices. Very pleasant and inviting. Smells very clean.

Creamy caramel malt is the main flavor, but spices and just enough hop bittering balance this very well. Slight breadiness, herbal/grassy hops, and, I don't know, cinnamon/nutmeg? Definite spices in this baby.

Mouthfeel is like velvet. Incredibly smooth, slightly sweet, yet sort of crisp. Very pleasant tingle across the tongue from carbonation.

As a summer type thirst quencher, this would be a good one. You wouldn't think so after pouring it, but it's so damn smooth and silky.

Photo of Swedes21
4.23/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - pours a gorgeous coper color, very clear and a lot of carbonation. the head is a nice slight off-white, very thick and foamy. there is some real nice lacing as well.

Smell - very fresh smelling beer, i can pick up some light malts, minimal caramel. there is a nice earth tone as well with some base fruits.

Taste - can really pick up the deep caramel along with the malts, there is min aftertaste, very easy drinking beer. there is also some fruit taste, possible pear/pineapple very nice twist. as it warmed, i was able to pick up some vanilla flavour as well.

Mouthfeel - everything in the taste just a little glorified. there wasnt a tremendous amount added, some good volume/fullness in my mouth.

Overall - this would be a fantastic session beer, has a lot to offer the avg joe with some good tasting and easy drinking attributes.

Photo of jondeelee
4/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Summer Solstice opens with a mildly yeasty, malty nose, full of the aromas of baking wheat bread, light brown sugars, and wheat fields, along with touches of apricot and orange at the edges, the latter almost too delicate to notice. The effect is that of an enticing bowl of hot cereal with fruit slices. Noticeably absent in any marked quantities in the nose are spices, which, given that the label notes "natural flavors" and "special spicing" have been added, is quite peculiar, but refreshingly so, since in many beers the spices seem more intent on bashing you with a hammer than caressing you with a feather.

On the tongue, the first flavors are of brown sugars and wheat, though the grain flavors quickly pick up steam and equal themselves to the sugars. Soon afterward a good, subtle spice blend emerges, the spices so delicately balanced and finely nuanced that no single spice emerges as overpowering. The mix is somewhat peppery, with touches of, perhaps, coriander and kola nut (at least that's what I attribute the slight Dr. Pepper taste coming from). Fruit esters are light and hardly noticeable, but some apricot comes through at the fringes. Hops are hardly distinguishable, mostly adding just enough bitterness to counter the sugars, but since the beer only has 4 IBUs (according to Anderson Valley's website), this is hardly surprising. The aftertaste is an evanescent continuation of the main flavors. Mouthfeel is medium-light, and carbonation is medium.

Overall, this is good beer, keeping in mind that it's brewed for hot summer months, and therefore the flavors are purposefully kept light. Despite this light quality, the flavors are quite distinguished and delicious, and the beer is thankfully not over-spiced. It is slightly too reminiscent of a soft drink for me, reminding me in this sense of a weak cross between a Dr. Pepper and a Coke, but is most certainly better fare than the average summer seasonal.

Photo of alexkeil
3.47/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is not a beer I would have very often, nor is it a beer where I would drink more than one...but it is different which is good. An amber in color ale that is heavy on sweet malts and is flavored with it a cream soda like after taste which is kind of fun. Its just tasty and there is something to say for that.

Photo of far333
3.73/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Cinnamon amber colored with a low beige head that flattens out quickly.

Low aroma of bready malt and ripe fruit, semi sweet.

Malty flavor, pretty rich but not overdone. Hints of ripe apple and pear, toffee notes, and a rush of cinnamon flavor in the finish. Notes of creamed corn and roasted marshmallow linger. Even balance of bitterness, but no noticeable hop flavor. This is a tasty malt-centric beer.

Full and even mouthfeel, moderate carbonation, bubbly finish. Very drinkable, good sessionable beer.

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.38/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

What was a relatively new beer from an old brewery that rarely makes new beer.

A very light appearance for Anderson Valley, gold color with good clarity, small head and virtually no lace after just seconds. Aroma was definitely in the background, waaay back.

Taste was surprisingly complex. It really does have a creamy texture while remaining light. It is a little bit silky, but you just can't put your finger on what is going on here beyond saying someone dropped a creamsicle in the vat. Missing the trademark hopping and bitterness of most of their beers. This is just a smooth summer ale, a little bit of honey I guess.

Photo of WVbeergeek
3.63/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appears an amber color cream hued head quite surprising for a cream ale head forms thick and leaves even lacing down the pint glass. Aroma has some eviden corn and cooked veggies with mild grassy hop character and caramel malt presence as well. Taste is quality nice caramel amber malts mix of corn sweetness light grassy hop finish very tasty and not overbearing in any way. Mouthfeel is light to medium bodied evenly carbonated very smooth with somewhat notable texture. Drinkability is great compared to my past experiences with the style but Anderson Valley decided to add some specialty malts, thank the beer gods.

Photo of chinchill
3.77/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12oz can served in a lager glass.

Surprising dark body for style with a very good head and decent lacing.

As claimed, the flavor is "malty, and lightly sweet, with a delicate hint of spice". Plenty of caramel malts and very faint spicing that becomes a bit more obvious in the aftertaste.

Photo of Justin_stanton
4.51/5  rDev +22.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

One of the best summer beers!

Photo of mocktm
3.77/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Can into a pint glass. Something about cans in the summer months; I find myself buying them left and right.

Pours a golden amber like red with an initial monstrous and aerated cream colored head. Maybe I just poured too aggressively or accidentally agitated the can, but I literally got several fingers worth that threatened to spill over the glass' rim. Settles eventually to a partial film coating, with minimal lacing.

Nose is not what you would expect from a seasonal summer beer. Its complex, expressing more winter like aromas of roasted malt, cream, vanilla, caramel and light spice. Mild hop scents, but they are secondary to the candy sweetness.

Again, a definite change-up in the realm of summer brews. Malts take the reigns here, with a lot of caramel and vanilla flavors up front, transitioning to some very mild hop bitterness in the finish. As others have said, it almost reminds me of a spiked cream soda.

Creamy consistency with a medium body and normal carbonation levels. Pretty easy drinking, but this would not be my first choice after mowing the lawn on a hot summer day.

I don't really know what to think of this one. I don't dislike it, but I would definitely be more inclined to drink it when the weather is a bit colder, rather than in scorching summer heat. However, disregarding seasonal attributes and concentrating more on style, this beer is pretty right on.

Photo of Brenden
3.88/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A creamy, rocky off-white head is very close to 2 fingers high and never reeally fades beyond half a finger when it does drop. Lacing is left thickly at the top of the glass and drops some lighter, spottier lacing the remainder of the way down. Underneath is a well-carbonated bright amber-orange liquid.
A somewhat light aroma is mostly malty with a dose of hops that leans a little bit floral, with an interstingly varied sweetness evoking thoughts of vanilla and light summer fruits. A lingering grains aroma persists underneath and a touch of lemon fades in and out like a phantom.
As in the aroma, the flavor is mostly malty with a light floral and perhaps citrus hops balance. Ghostlike vanilla and toffee notes are perceptible. Grains linger in the background and a lemony tang hits the back of the tongue with each sip. A very light spicing adds a nice touch and serves to blend the flavors together.
The beginning of each sip is crisp, but a bit of creaminess is what's really imparted the rest of the way into the finish. Carbonation isn't heavy, but ample to support the feel without overpowering it.
This is a nice cream ale, summer or otherwise, though I find it a good style to make for summer.

Photo of Jeffreysan
3.78/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12 oz can poured into a pint glass

Appearance: Pours a beautiful dark amber/caramel color with a half finger of white head that quickly dissipated into a thin lacing of foam that covered the top of the beer.

Aroma: Burnt sugar, caramel, malt, some faint floral notes, like clover of heather.

Taste: Wow! There’s lots of caramel up front. Then there’s the malt and some very subtle hops characteristics. There’s also some spice at the back end, maybe black pepper and ginger. This beer is sweet without being overpowering, crisp without being drying or bitter. This is a very nicely balanced beer.

Mouthfeel: Creamy, with some chewiness that’s not usually present in summer beers, or at least in the summer beers that I’ve had (especially this summer). There’s some nice carbonation present to cleanse the palate, which is good, as the sweetness could, but isn’t, be a bit cloying.

Overall: Damn, this is a really good beer! I love the caramel and spices that this beer possesses, and the creaminess. I’m going to have to have a few more of these this summer! Maybe more than a few!

Photo of epk
3.37/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

notes from 2-13-09

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a weizen glass showing a cloudy amber hue. This cream ale sported a slightly eggshell in color head which laced quickly. A sweet smell with undertones of honey and spices.

On sip you get a well balanced beer which is also light yet still flavorful. No one attribute is more prominent than any other with a moderate body and velvety texture. Very refreshing and smooth.

A well rounded and easily drinkable beer perhaps more timely for a nice summer afternoon rather then the brisk winter I find myself reviewing it in.

As this is noted a seasonal beer I can only imagine that it has been sitting on the beer store shelves for quite some time - as a reviewer below mentioned, this beer may have mellowed quite a bit from when it was first bottled - unfortunately I did not notice a date. I'll definitely have to try this again in the summer.

Photo of IntriqKen
4.04/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Beautiful darker honey amber color when poured into a pint glass with a single finger head that melts quickly to fine lacing.
Aroma is of sweet malt and ripe mangos.. someone else mentioned mangos in the aroma and that is exactly what it is.
Taste is definately sweet...sweeter than I normal get in a summer beer with a little honey, mango, then citrus hops..yep, the hops are in here and do a decent job of drying the mouth for quenching and to tempt you into another swallow.
Aftertaste is a very faint version of the original taste with just a touch of citrus drying and light mango sweetness.
Not what I expected for a Summer quencher, but pleasantly surprised. The tropical fruit taste is in no way overpowering...all in all a very balanced beer.
I could drink a few of these.

Photo of biboergosum
4.05/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz can. Thanks to Christian, the Alberta rep, and Jim from Sherbrooke Liquor for the sample can. Cool to see "Good Drinkin' since '87" in a heretofore unknown to me North American English dialect.

This beer pours a clear, dark brassy amber colour, with three fingers of puffy, bubbly, and finely foamy ecru head, which leaves a few sparse streaks of grotesque, upward reaching arched lace around the glass as it slowly seeps away.

It smells of semi-sweet, raw pastry malt, a tad biscuity, with caramel, candy corn, and vanilla notes swirling about, and some soft, savoury spices. The taste is more sweet biscuity caramel malt, the doughy pastry element still strong, a slight drupe fruitiness adding to the mire, and the same cooking spices from the nose mixing with the earthy, leafy hops in a sluggish balancing effort.

The carbonation is quite soft and understated, the body a serene medium weight, and smartly creamy in its unassailable smoothness. It finishes on the sweet side, of course, the confectioner's dream malt and low-key spices overwhelming a mildly bitter (and this is from California?) spurt.

Now this, this is a cream ale, I say - a nicely rounded, soft, yet full malt base, some quirky, but still workable side flavours, and an almost silky-smooth mouthfeel. Bahl hornin', indeed.

Photo of NJpadreFan
3.3/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Anderson Valley- Summer Solstice

Appearance- caramel orange/ brown with a huge head. I had to stop pouring and wait.
Smell- caramel and cream soda with a touch of Malibu rum?!
Taste- light cream soda and caramel malt.
Mouthfeel- light and bland. The flavor is weak but an easy to drink beer for sure.

Overall- nothing special here, a surprise from Anderson Valley. A beer to try but I won't be drinking again.

Photo of weasbri
3.88/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Nice copper color to this interesting summer beer. Definitely not my usual, but pretty tasty.
Mostly malty aroma, with a hint of something extra. The flavor is mostly malty, but there is a good balance of hop spiciness which makes it just a little bit bolder than the usual light summer fare, but just light enough to refresh on a hot day.

Photo of jmz62565
3.76/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This pours a a dark orange with a large tan head. The smell is weak,but I could make out an earthy floral aroma along with a malt sweetness. The taste has a sweet malt creaminess to it that's nice. Other flavors include bread yeast, sweet malt, and some hop bitterness. The m/f is light and well balanced making this a different,but good beer. Cheers.

Photo of TheSixthRing
4.07/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - Pours solid amber with a white finger width head, leading to average retention and a spotty, semi-sticky lace.

Smell - Strong aromas of rich caramel and vanilla... and a hint of animal crackers?

Taste - Plenty of creamy caramel malts upfront, along with notes of vanilla and a firm graham cracker character. Faint notes of citrus hop. Subtle hints of cinnamon. Full-flavored, yet quite refreshing. A rare combination.

Mouthfeel - Light to medium body. As creamy as summer ales get. Goes down silky smooth.

Overall - One of the more impressive summer releases I've had. It's almost as though it's cheated by exploiting a loophole; an unusually full-flavored summer ale that still retains a nice, light feel. Will buy again, and soon. May be one of my go-to summer brews from now on.

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Summer Solstice from Anderson Valley Brewing Company
83 out of 100 based on 1,406 ratings.