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Summer Solstice | Anderson Valley Brewing Company

477 Reviews
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Summer SolsticeSummer Solstice

Brewed by:
Anderson Valley Brewing Company
California, United States | website

Style: Cream Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.00%

Availability: Summer

Notes / Commercial Description:
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.

Added by xlperro on 05-09-2005

User Reviews
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Reviews: 477 | Ratings: 1,489
Photo of Sammy
3.73/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A cream ale with some attitude, a definite fruitiness,peaches and cream, though the finish is a bit odd. Overall on the very sweet side, though quite tasty. I am of the school that this is not a summer beer, which I would imagine something Kolsch, rather a cream soda substitute.Full mouthfeel.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.31/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear honey amber color with a 1 inch bone colored head that fades to a film on the top of the beer. Random thin streaks of lace stick to the sides of the glass on the drink down. Smells of sweet malt and some funky spice. The smell is almost like gym socks. Taste is of sweet malt and a slight spiciness. This beer has a lower carbonation level with a creamy and smooth mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer that I can see being a good choice in the warm summer months.

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Photo of kylehay2004
3.75/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: 3 finger head with minimal lace. hazy amber with brown hues.

S: some fig, caramel malt with cinnimon notes.

T: sweet caramel malt and cream soda upfront with a candy-like finish.

M: light to medium body and light to moderate carbonation.

Overall: as good as a cream ale can be for my taste. Not really something I will get again though.

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Photo of metter98
3.65/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: The beer is clear copper in color and has a light to moderate amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a finger high creamy beige head that died down yet consistently left a thin layer of bubbles covering the surface..
S: There are light aromas of caramel malts in the nose.
T: Similar to the smell, the taste is filled with flavors of caramel and has a mild amount of sweetness. There are also some hints of vanilla and spices. No bitterness is perceptible.
M: It feels light- to medium-bodied, creamy and very smooth on the palate with a high amount of carbonation.
O: The beer is very easy to drink and its low alcohol content makes it quite sessionable, particularly on a hot summer day.

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Photo of Knapp85
3.5/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This brew poured out with a slight orange color, pretty interesting actually. The smell of the beer has a light amount of citrus notes and some smooth malt aromas. The taste of the beer was a little sweet, hardly any hops noticeable in this brew at all. The mouthfeel of this beer was very creamy... Really impressed by the feel of this brew. It's still light and refreshing also. Overall the beer isn't bad, I'd probably drink it again one day.

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.25/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

As America's beer making roots steered away from German authenticity and into an indigenous world all its own, the taste of warm fermented lager gives distinguished taste with all its quirks, rusticity and charm. Anderson Valley brewers are here to help us to not forget those wobbly stepping stones.

Their summer-made cream ale bridge the season with a surprisingly dark, almost copper hue. Laced with a cloudy haze, its appearance even seems creamy. Well headed, the aromas of sweet caramel and cream corn are expected. But is toasted sweet taste and yogurt-like texture make for exciting allure.

Its stern structure remains highly creamy and sweet with a tea-like presence that act in balance. As its caramel and toast outweigh the commonality of sweet cream corn, the hybrid beer isn't as vegetal as expected. With such tepid bitterness to counter its sweetness, the taste is focused and dedicated, however somewhat one-dimensional.

In finish, the caramel loosens and its sweetness begins to evaporate. All this leaves a honeycomb structure of malted milk behind, with a creamy and semi-dry closure. Slight mint and tea leaf peak through and help to keep the beer highly drinkable and remarkably refreshed.

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Photo of brentk56
3.65/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a cloudy copper colored body with a miniscule head that quickly disappears and leaves no lacing

Smell: Very malty nose resplendent with vanilla

Taste: Starts out rather creamy, tasting like a cream soda without the cloying sweetness; joined mid-palate by some lemony bitterness; finishes somewhat spicy with a lot of residual sweetness on the tongue

Mouthfeel: Smooth medium body with low to moderate carbonation

Drinkability: A decent quaffer, even if it is not summertime right now; the lemony flavor adds an unusaul balancing tartness

Thanks, BeerBeing

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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.

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Photo of Thorpe429
3.95/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a light creamy-tan with a nice white head.

S: Nice bready malt. Nothing too much beyond that, but well done.

T: Pretty good. Bready malt and a bit of creamy fruit sweetness.

M: Nice and creamy. Medium bodied with good carbonation.

D: Very drinkable and refreshing. Not nearly as good as Winter Solstice, but not a bad lawnmower beer either.

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Photo of emerge077
3.57/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Sebastian for the bonus can!

Into a pint, it has a pretty charged head of foam on it, eventually it rises above the rim momentarily in uneven peaks. High clarity amber with a touch of reddishness. Retention is pretty good, though the head fades quickly to a skim.

Multigrain bread, sweet apples, and a hint of cotton candy in the aroma.

Toffee and cream soda come to mind in the first sips, later backed by a lightly nutty, husky grain. Light toasted malt sweetness and a mild apple astringency. Sort of watery with a sweet slickness, bigger on flavor than body. Still, a couple of these poolside wouldn't be a bad option. A good crossover craft beer.

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Photo of zeff80
3.92/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Poured out a clear, bubbly, copper/bronze color with a small, tan, bubbly head of foam. It left minimal lace.

S - It smelled very floral with fruity notes. It smelled of caramel malt, too.

T - It tasted of sweet biscuity malt. It had a nice caramel backbone.

M - It was crisp and sharp with a smooth finish. A light to medium-bodied beer.

D - This is a really nice cream ale. I'm not a huge fan of the style but this one was one I'd grab again.

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Photo of kojevergas
2.9/5  rDev -21%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

12 fl oz brown glass bottle with standard pressure cap served into a Guinness pint glass in me gaff in low altitude Los Angeles, California. Reviewed live. Expectations are average.

Served straight from the refrigerator. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: Pours a two finger beige-light khaki head of fair cream, pretty decent thickness, and above average retention. Colour is a clear gold. No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show.

Sm: Clean malts, wheat, ripe orange peel (over ripe methinks...), cream, and caramel. Orange flavored toffee hints perhaps. A mild strength aroma.

T: Wheat, orange peel, vague butterscotchy notes, a hint of toffee, caramel, and cream. Interestingly built, with bright malts coming through. The fruit is vague and indistinct. The butterscotch is off, perhaps a diacetyl note. Simple and lacking depth or subtlety.

Mf: Smooth and wet, with some nice coarseness about the climax. Nice carbonation. Moderate on the palate.

Dr: Drinkable but boring and underwhelming. It's a fair summer beer - pleasant and fresh and that - but there's little here that would bring me back to it. A decent offering, but still rather meh.


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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.

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Photo of jlindros
3.41/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A super hot and humid sticky summer's day, hopefully this beer helps quench my thirsts.

A: A fizzy creamy head rises up quickly to 2 fingers and fades semi quickly back. It's mostly clear toasty brownish orange color.

N: Sweet syrupy aromas, somewhat extract like syrup flavors. With that is some creamy malt effervescence but not much. A touch of toasty malts, but mostly that sweet fake smelling syrup extract like aroma.

T: Not as bad as I expected at first. Starts pretty creamy with some toasty malts, almost oatmeal flavors, smooth and a little velvety. Some lager flavors actually, with a little more sweet creamy malts. A little bit of that extract malt flavor comes through but not that much. A touch of bready toasty malts.

M: Smooth and creamy, medium to heavier body with lower carbonation.

F: Still somewhat sweet, a little syrupy and sticky, more toasty malts lingering with creamy malts, lots of creamy flavors lingering, perhaps more oats. I think I get a touch of biscuit as well on the finish. Some lingering sticky sweet slight syrupy malts that gives me that reminiscence of lager again. A little strange fruit comes through as well.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.3/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Mellow rustic orange with a coppery sheen. The head is impressive and is reason enough to justify the 'Crema' of the name. A rather fetching shade of orange-tinted ecru, it's as densely creamy as any you're likely to find on a summer seasonal. It develops a pie crust-like crimped edge as it sits and the beginning stages of lace formation promise more, and better, things to come.

The nose is both interesting and good. It's caramel malty with overtones of light brown sugar, or perhaps butterscotch, and crushed vanilla beans. I get tired of the summer seasonals that follow the same old summer seasonal blueprint (lemon mostly).

Summer Solstice is the best cream ale that I've ever had. Period. Thankfully, the flavor follows the nose pretty closely. This is predominantly a malty beer, but is still svelte enough to be easily categorized as an easy-drinking summer ale. There's very little hoppiness evident, as the style dictates.

Where this beer really shines is the amount of sweetness and the flavoring. Cream ales, as far as I'm concerned, need to be sweet, but not too sweet. They need, in other words, to be that 'juuust right' that Goldilocks found in the third bowl of porridge. Well, the sweetness of SSCC is juuust right. I'd love to know what spices, herbs or other flavorings were utilized. Whatever they are, they're different and wonderfully delicious. Vanilla is the only one I can identify for certain.

The sweetness, or at least the impression of it, is kept in check by a body that is supple and semi-firm, but isn't big enough to allow a sticky, lingering finish. Personally, I love big-bodied beer, but then that wasn't the goal here. Still though, this offering is as full-bodied as you're likely to find within the style.

Kudos to Anderson Valley for the vision and the skill to pull off a true original. A summertime cream ale that is, at once, flavorful, interesting and sessionable. If I was lucky enough to be in AV's distribution area, Summer Solstice Cerveza Crema would have a permanent place in my refrigerator. Very well done.

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Photo of Kegatron
2.75/5  rDev -25.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

12 oz can into a pint glass.

Pours a clear copper, with a finger of bright-white foamy head. This retains with more of a fizzy look, with some creaminess around the edges but the lacing is confined to just a light smattering on the sides of the glass. The aroma is sweet, with a ton of caramel and creamy vanilla sweetness going on in the nose. There is some graininess from the malts as well but this sits mostly underneath, along with a little citric flavor and some grassy tones.

The taste has a base of grains and light green hop bitterness before that flush of caramel and vanilla swoops and pretty much permeates the entire profile and especially comes out strong as this finishes. Them mouthfeel is lighter bodied, with a gentle crispness that keeps this interesting feeling and relatively easy in the mouth.

I like a good Cream Ale like the next guy but when the "cream" aspect consists of some overly fake tasting vanilla flavors, it just isn't my thing. I could see this being pretty accessible for new-to-craft beer drinkers but I look for something a little more substantial in my summer beers, as there was just too much sweetness here.

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Photo of mikesgroove
3.06/5  rDev -16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Served on tap at Fox and the Hound in Mason,OH poured into a pint glass

A - This poured a nice amber color with lots of visible carbonation and a good two finger high head of creamy white frothy foam on top. This gradually setled down to leave behind nothing more then a thin film across the top and some nice side glass lace. Overall pretty good appearence I would have to say.

S - The aroma was very fruity and that kind of took me back for a moment. Lots of blueberry tones mixed in with yeast and light herbal grassy smells. Very light and reminiscent of summer, however it was just a little too much to deal with as it came off smelling like a my little pony doll if you have kids or a little sister you know what I mean.

T - The flavor followed it almost exactly with a very fruity almost plastic like taste that was just way too over the top and a light grain filled back. There was a hint of hops trying to break through at the end but it never really got very far at all.

M - Very rich and smooth but at the same time there was just this slickness to it, especially in the finish that just really turned me off to it. Decent carbonation though stayed with it throughout and it did not come off as too thin.

D - Have to go average here. Although it was really a bit too much for the taste buds, it was better then a macro and as least was a little unique in its flavor and texture.

Overall on of the strangest of summer beers I have ever had ofr sure. Not really something I would seek out again thats for sure. Maybe next time I will try it next year and see if it changes any.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.4/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This unique, creamy, and lightly sweet copper colored ale has a beautiful, long-lasting head that leaves wide splashes and streaks of lace about the glass. Its charming, enticing, wonderful aroma is reminiscent of strawberry shortcake; and it's perfectly suited for a summer beer. In the mouth it's medium-full bodied, and creamy smooth across the palate with a moderate carbonation the just lightly tingles the tongue. The flavor delivers a sweet bed of vanilla-cookie-like malt that has just a hint of caramel to it, and a delicate yeasty fruitiness that's reminiscent of strawberries. It's low-level bitterness barely appears, and it's just sweet enough to satisfy without becoming candyish It finishes drying, with some residual fruitiness and a lingering note of vanilla. Simply put... wonderful!

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Photo of womencantsail
3.9/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A: The pour is a clear amber color with a thin and quickly vanishing off-white head.

S: Nice (lightly) roasted malt aromas combined with a hint of caramel. There's also a fair amount of diacetyl in there, lending a buttery, almost creamy aroma.

T: Again, a lot of caramel and toasted, biscuit malts. Not much in the way of hop flavor or bitterness, but I like the sweetness this beer has, which manages to be quite balanced.

M: The body is a bit on the light side, but still good, and the carbonation is moderate.

D: I can't say I've had too many cream ales, but I found this one to be very enjoyable. A nice low alcohol beer with good flavors and a light-medium body.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.55/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a deep golden brown color, with a short off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of caramelized malts, grain and a touch of hops.

T: The taste starts out bready with flavors of grain and a hearty malt character that are followed by a mild creamy sweetness from flavors of caramel and a little bit of fruit. The hops presence is mild but complementary and provides some balance. The after-taste is slightly bready and slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and smooth, medium body and a bit heavier than most in the style, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

D: A little tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, mild kick, good representation of style, this one has some more substance than most Cream Ales and is a decent beer to pound down for a while.

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

First had: bottle from Pinocchio's beer garden, Media, PA

Poured into a pint glass a nice clear mahogany, very carbonation, with a good two fingers of foamy white head that dissipated fairly quickly. I didn't really get too much aroma, but what I could detect was sweet malts, honey, and light fruit. Smooth with caramel malts, butterscotch, orange, maraschino cherries; sweet, but not sickeningly sweet. Balanced out with some organic grassy notes and a tad of earth. Little to no hop bitterness detectable. Smooth and medium-bodied, and very drinkable.

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Photo of TMoney2591
4.15/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served in a Gale Sayers shaker pint glass.

My friends have all praised this beer very highly, so now it's my turn to give it a critical shot. It pours a lightly hazy copper-brass topped by a finger of lightly cream-white foam. The nose comprises vanilla, cream, light wheat, light orange glaze, and a touch of caramel. The taste brings in more of the same, with the sweeter notes unionizing for better flavors for all, and the orange being joined by some pineapple and red apple to vainly balance out the sweetness (it's a valiant effort, though). The body is a light medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a creamy feel Overall, a deceptively complex, highly enjoyable beer, one of the highlights of coming Summers, indeed.

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Photo of superspak
3.97/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce can into pint glass, no canning date. Pours hazy orange copper color with a small white head with decent retention, that reduces to a thin cap. Minimal lacing on the glass. Aromas of orange, biscuit, toast, caramel, nuttiness, vanilla, grass, floral, light chocolate, and herbal. Very nice aromas with good balance and strength. Taste of orange, biscuit, toast, nuttiness, caramel, vanilla, floral, grass, and herbal. Lingering notes of citrus, toast, biscuit, caramel, nuttiness, vanilla, and light herbal spiciness on the finish for a bit. Fairly robust flavors with nice balance; no cloying sweetness at all. Medium carbonation and body; with a creamy and lightly crisp mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with hardly any warming present on the finish. Overall this is a damn nice cream ale. Nice amount of flavor and balance; very smooth and easy to drink. Really enjoyable, I would have it again.

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

poured cold into a goblet
A - Decants a light caramel with amber highlights and a tan head. There is a light haze from the chill.

S - Malty, doughy scents - sweetbread-like.

M - A sweet cream feel w/ mellow carbonation. Gentle semi-dry finish.

T - Malty, creamy, like butterscotch with the buttery fruitiness. Light toast, caramel and vanilla notes. Sweet, but not overdone. Subtle spice and light herbal hops.

D - A sweet ale w/ pleasant malt and decent drinkability w/ mild spice and malty goodness. A good choice for a late summer seasonal. The butterscotch flavor and medium-light body keep it going down smooth like a iced caramel machiato.

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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.

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Summer Solstice from Anderson Valley Brewing Company
83 out of 100 based on 477 ratings.