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Summer Solstice - Anderson Valley Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Summer SolsticeSummer Solstice

Educational use only; do not reuse.

1,324 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,324
Reviews: 459
rAvg: 3.67
pDev: 15.53%
Wants: 48
Gots: 119 | 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: 1,324 | Reviews: 459 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of nickd717
4.24/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Review from summer 2009 notes.

Cloudy orangish-copper in color with a small white head. Surprisingly good summer beer. Very creamy with some pineapple-ish flavors, almost creamsicle-like. Some spices on the finish. Smooth, creamy mouthfeel. Refreshing but not boring like a lot of the watery summer beers out there.

Photo of farrago
3.8/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Half finger of eggshell cream white color, densely solid with an very even surface, settles down to a thin surface coating, the lacing comes as a thin sheet down the glass sides, slips downward with ease. Glowing filminess to the amber to zinc orange liquid, easily opaque, very consistent from top to bottom. The nose does have a strong herbaceousness to it but quickly settles down into more vanilla cream, fudge, orange citrus and toffee to chocolate notes, pepperiness and rye bread notes bloom as it warms, the peach and apricot fruit scents more dense than expressive. Medium to full-bodied, the creamy mouth texture adds volume if not weight per se. Easy to identify the vanilla, butterscotch, honey elements but it’s the pepper, garden herbs, tea leaf and country style bread which gives it complexity. The orange creamsicle pairs well with pine notes. The carbonation is active but in a more fluffy than tightly woven manner. What deserves credit most here is how it remains true to its category but doesn’t settle for “simple” and leaves it open for the imbiber to just groove on the creamy sweetness or follow the more unique elements.

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

12oz bottle into wine glass.

A: Pours a dark burn amber/orange with a thick dark tan head that faded into a thick bubbly collar that left a few spots of lace down the glass.
S: Dominant notes of orange, both sweet and bitter, with a hint of cream, caramel and bread crust.
T: Follows the nose with big flavors of creamy orange, sweet malt, caramel and bread crust. The finish is spicy with a hint of pepper, but the beer is sweet overall.
M: Medium body, slick mouthfeel, low even carbonation that all goes down smooth.
O: This is a beer I would drink for dessert. It’s very sweet with a good creamy orange flavor. This beer is much different than the only other cream ale I’ve had that was full of adjuncts. Good to know there are a wide variety of beers within the style.

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

Pours a translucent amber-honey color with pillowy white head that stacks a couple inches. Webby lacing. The nose is alright. Some light hops and wheat is noticed. The taste is sweet and malty up front and sweet and malty in the end. Very drinkable for such a summer day. Some toffee is noticed throughout. The mouthfeel is creamy and rich, yet not too thick. Very drinkable and quite tasty.

Photo of engagechad
3.83/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Purchased as a single from Wine and Beer Westpark in Glen Allen, VA - poured into pint

Pours a dark orange amber with nice head and decent lacing. Smells of citrus and corn, the corn is kind of off putting. Tastes like a light porter in a way which was surprising. The body on this is really interesting and smooth, almost milky.

Overall this is a great beer but the slight cornyness kind of turns me off a little.

Def good for a warm day on the porch

Photo of smakawhat
3.98/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a nonic pint glass.

Creamy looking off copper head which settles nicely. Body is copper amber and a little cloudy and dull. This is one giant copper orb looking beer and orange as all get out.

Bouquet is a creamy mild sweetness with a little light malt. But not much else going on, simple but nothing too exciting.

Taste overall is a big surprise. What a very noticeable creamsicle popsicle rush. Orange cream and mild malt, but with a little bit watery and fizzy too, almost getting into soda pop territory and fizz candy.

Overall though I enjoy this taste so much I have to call good regardless of everything else.

Photo of jeff1973
3.08/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12oz bottle pour into a pint glass.

A - Clear, amber-orange color. Light tan head, minimal lacing. Looks pretty good.

S - Sweet smell with a touch of vanilla and a very small amount of spice.

T - Black tea up front, moves to vanilla with a touch of spice and then a sweet finish. Well balanced.

M - Medium to light. Starts creamy, then finishes a bit watery.

D - Average. A little to sweet for me to have more than one.

Not my favorite. Too sweet for me. I would have liked it much more if it finished dry. Would have been the refreshing summer beer that I was looking for.

Photo of cbarrett4
3.75/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from tap at Oregon Brewers' Festival.

Pours a nice copper/gold hue with moderate head and lace retention. Very good aromatics. Mostly centered on honey, spice, citrus, and yeast. Very low key. The palate is subtle and pretty straightforward. Slightly bitter orange with honey and a touch of malt and spice. Flavors don't really jump out, kind of muted.

The texture seems a little light even for a cream ale. The alcohol is there and a hefty amount of acidity. I could have used a smidge more weight (yes, I know it is a lighter style! It still seemed a little thin).

Overall I was impressed with this beer and would order it on tap or pick up a can or two. It's tasty summer sipping. I love that more brewers are embracing this style! This is one of about a dozen cream ales I tasted in July/August.

Photo of ChanChan
3.83/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

From notes:

Appearance: Light amber in color with a big fluffy head that lasts only a short while.

Aroma: Smells of malt, honey, and spices

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied and somewhat creamy

Taste: The main flavor I get in this beer is of honey. I also get a lot of spices and cream

Overall: This is a great summer ale or session beer. The low ABV makes drinking a sixer of this very possible!

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

At the time of this review, this beer is the #6 top Cream ale on the beeradvocate.com best of styles lists. Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a shaker pint.

Beer is yellow to amber with a haze to it, almost no head, small white bubbles, bad retention, no lacing, low carbonation.

Aroma is sweet, almost like a milk stout or something. Malty, no hops.

Beer is medium to light in body with no bitterness on the end but an overall smooth mouthfeel and some creaminess to the whole beer. There is most maltiness to the beginning and the middle and the end sort of disappears. I don't think I"d have this again, I'll continue to look for a cream ale that I like.

Photo of flagmantho
3.45/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured from 12oz can into a pint glass. Started to foam up right as I opened the can!

Appearance: rich dark golden hue. Surprisingly dark for a cream ale. Slight haze to the body. There's a thin finger of pillowy ivory foam atop.

Smell: light, sweetish malty aroma. Not complex at all but surprisingly clean and enticing.

Taste: sweet, a bit malty and a bit corny. Really, the latter to be expected for the style. Unfortunately, as I drink more, I get more Corn Pops flavor building on my palate. There is a nice malt component here as well, though. Frankly another style couldn't get away with this much corn, but on balance it's a decent cream ale.

Mouthfeel: medium-light body with a great carbonation yielding a great creaminess. Delightful.

Overall: totally acceptable for a cream ale, but this heavy corn flavor is off-putting for me.

Photo of DavoleBomb
3.11/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint glass.

3.5 A: Crystal clear medium orange color. About two fingers of frothy white head. Retention is just quicker than average and no lacing is left.

2.5 S: Aroma is incredibly weak, even for the style. Slight breadiness and a touch of caramel sweetness.

3.0 T: Taste isn't bad for the style. Grainy with just a touch of caramel and a light, indistinguishable spiciness. Simple, but thirst quenching.

4.0 M: Light body. Surprisingly creamy for how light it is. Good moderate carbonation.

3.5 D: Definitely boring, but the mouthfeel is nice enough to make this a good lawnmower beer.

Photo of isualum12
4.88/5  rDev +33%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from tap into a pint down at Bittercreek in Boise Idaho.

App: Reddish brwon on the pour. It was very inviting just from the first look. Decen amount of carbonation. There is a nice thick brown head.

Smell: Sweet and malt rolled in.

Taste: It tastes very sweet with lots of caramel and is also very creamy swirl running around on your toung. After the first taste I was in love. The taste is refreshing. The cream flavor is what hooks you. I would be interested in trying to pair this with various foods. I am convinced that it would change in flavors with foods.

Mouth: Carboniated medium beer that holds its own.

One of the best beers of the year I have tried. I am in love. I plan on buy several more to store and drink....

Photo of BilbosNuts
4.03/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass.

A: Pours a medium brown color with some reddish tints. It looks very lively with a high amount of carbonation. There is a nice, big, thick light brown head that retains a small puck throughout drinking.

S: It has a very malty smell along with a considerable amount of sweetness.

T: It tastes very sweet, like caramel and is also very creamy. It is very delicious.

M: There is a medium body that is quite carbonated. It drinks very smoothly.

D: This is a very good summer drink. I'd imagine it would be great to pour over some ice cream and make a float. Oh yeah!

Photo of Huhzubendah
3.91/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer is copper hued with a thick, lasting head that leaves ample lacing on the glass. Steady effervescence from the bottom of the pint. The aroma is sweet smelling, with malt and vanilla. The flavor is akin to cream soda. I happen to savor a cream soda on occasion, so I'm rather enjoying this brew. The beer is thin to medium in body, and smooth on the palate. One pint is sufficient. I wouldn't want more than a serving, though I definitely enjoyed this. I would have it again.

Photo of jayhawk73
4.02/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- Pours a copper color w/ a nice one finger cocoa head. The head of the beer quickly disappears into a sliver. Average carbonation and lacing. Very easy to see through.

S- Caramel malt, some fruit, spices. Really fantastic. Best smelling beer in this style I've had.

T- Nice. Taste profile is right in line w/ the nose. Super easy to drink- very smooth. Like a cream soda, except it's a beer.

M- Super smooth and silky feel to this beer. In fact, those words fit this beer more than any other I've tried. Somewhat thin, but it's right in line w/ the style.

O- Not my favorite style, but this is the best of the style I've had. It's really nice, and definitely recommended if you're interested in this style of beer.

Photo of rel
3.46/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I tried this out of a can and bottle. I must say, I prefer the can over the bottle, although you must pour it out of the can to really taste it, while just popping a bottle open is sufficient (think summer, beer on the beach, ease of access).

Very "frosty" appearance.Take a nice copper amber, and make ice cubes out of it to replicate. Pours with a thick head that quickly dissipates.

The smell was very weak, with hints of bread and vanilla.

The taste, very different story. I know I mentioned the beach, but most would not consider this a summer beer by any means.
I would enjoy this anytime, anywhere. It has just the perfect amount of sweetness. A great malty canvas accentuated with vanilla, maybe some clove, really kick this beer into creamland.

Mouthfeel. Creamy.

I drank an entire can (responsibly) while writing this review. That's drinkability.

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

Paid $2.49 for a 12oz bottle at Total Wine.

Served up at 44 degrees into a Guinness pint glass. It produced a 1 inch light beige head which quickly receded to leave some bubbly islands. The color was nearly identical to the empty brown bottle.

The smell was of malt, toffee, bread, and hints of hops.

The flavor was a caramel sweetness that hit first followed by the carbonation zip an hop. Very much reminiscent of a cream soda.

It was not particularly complex but the straightforward caramel sweet malt is excellent. It finishes clean to make it good for summer. While sweeter and fuller-bodied than a traditional summer beer, this was not heavy, finished clean, and was refreshing. It may not be an after I just mowed the yard brew but absolutely a sitting on the patio having some BBQ brew.

Photo of Scotchboy
3.85/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz can into a Snake River pint glass.

A: Pours a clear caramel color (darker than I thought it would be) with an off white head that doesn't stick around too long.

S: Malt-forward as expected; very pleasant sweet bread aroma. I don't know if this was finished with an adjunct or lager yeast but I might be picking up on some of that.

T: Impressive; smooth, sweet caramel malt, moist sweet bread, spices, distant orange possibly? There are hints of nuttiness, vanilla and even oak as well, with really no lingering bitterness.

MF: Smooth, creamy even. A touch of hop dryness on the back end.

O: Real nice for this style. A beer I could have again. I would prefer a touch lighter for a 'summer' brew but this is a good, clean, flavorful malty offering.

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

Glass - Nonic

A - Clear copper colored beer with moderate C02 and a 2-finger egg shell white head. Head retention wasn't so great, and I didn't get any lacing either.

S - Mild bready notes with a touch of toast, biscuit, and toffee. I get subdued hop characteristics like lemon rind and pine. Mild aroma's over all.

T - Upfront I get a quick zip of rind and herbal hop flavors that quickly wash away with mild bread, biscuit, toffee and toast. It actually does have a sorta creamy quality to it as well, around the finish I get a vanilla like flavor that pops out above the mellow malt profile. Bitterness is low and balances well.

M - Moderate-high carbonation with a lite-moderate body.

O - I thought this brew was alright. I'm not crazy about it, but I wouldn't mind drinking it again. I liked the mild and balancing flavors of the beer, especially the hint of vanilla that I picked up. For me I wouldn't mind tossing back a few with friends but I wouldn't go out of my way to buy it again. Worth a try for sure though. Cheers!

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

Glass: Nonic

a: White 2-finger foamy head sitting atop a clear copper body with bubbles racing to the surface.

s: Plumb, grape, cranberry, brown sugar, toast bread and sour overtones make up the aroma.

t: A noticeable creaminess can be detected along with a somewhat empty flavor mid-pallete. Light breadiness and dark fruit sum things up.

m: Light and thin with a mid to high carbonation level. Comes off as watery.

o: A mediocre cream ale with a watery body and cream flavor that reminds me of artificial flavoring (although not). I won't buy this again.

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

Straight out of the bottle. A sin, I know, but I'm moving and most of the glassware is packed, and it's mercilessly hot outside.

It yields a solid .75 fingers of head just in the bottle, and laces a bit. Definitely creamy.

Faint, faint cream soda smell, but it's my own darn fault for not pouring it.

Taste is pretty much a heftier cream soda, less sweet. Some malt, but it's crisp and refreshing. Refreshing, but not thin nor bitter.

Mouthfeel is super creamy, but also has some carby edge to it. Smooth, also refreshing.

I can't ask for more drinkability. Easily sessionable; not complicated enough to be distracting. Price is the only thing keeping me from having several.

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

Served in a Sam Adams tulip pint.

Beautiful copper with light golden reflections. 1 finger creamy off-white head. Almost no lacing.

I'm serving this at maybe 40-45 degrees. fahrenheit, and as such the projection of the aromas may be stunted a little bit. Spices, breads, and even good amounts of off-sweet chocolate are there to spare though, with a complexity for sure.

In the mouth, malts, breads, and spice with a little bit of that chocolate. Fairly dry in the mouthfeel, malts linger with some faint spices. I can't decide if I would like more of a lingering finish out of the drydown, or if I enjoy more the drinkability that it has right now. It labels itself as a sort of craft summer beer, and as such I think I definitely want more effervescence out of the mouthfeel.

The balance is surprisingly high though for the $1.50(12oz) that I paid for it. Would definitely buy again, and am curious even as to how it would go with barbecue, or even hamburgers.

Photo of bagpiper2005
3.53/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pour: Medium to dark red-orange color. Two and a half fingers of tan head with pretty good retention and minimal lacing.

Smell: Smells like nectar, quite frankly. Sugary sweet malts with a slightly bready undertone.

Taste: Rather cream-soda like on the palate. Starts off with sweet, creamy malts up front with a tart fruity middle. Light citrus hops in the back; finishes clean.

Mothfeel: Light to medium with active carbonation. Creamy front end, smooth back end.

Drinkability/Overall: Pretty good stuff. Light and refreshing for summer but without an overly attenuated flavor. Nice balance from front to back. Not filling and you could easily have a few.

Final Notes: Excellent session beer, easy on the budget, and it's in a can so you can go anywhere with it. What more could you want out of a good summer seasonal?

Summer Solstice from Anderson Valley Brewing Company
83 out of 100 based on 1,324 ratings.