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Summer Solstice - Anderson Valley Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Summer SolsticeSummer Solstice

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,287 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,287
Reviews: 452
rAvg: 3.68
pDev: 15.76%
Wants: 43
Gots: 104 | 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:
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 added by: xlperro on 05-09-2005)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Summer Solstice Alström Bros
Ratings: 1,287 | Reviews: 452 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Guden
4.1/5  rDev +11.4%
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.

Guden, Jun 28, 2011
Photo of samie85
3.55/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A-Pours a deep copper color with two fingers of quickly dissipating head.

S-Smells of sweet caramel and vanilla with some mild herbal notes.

T-Rich and deep caramel notes with a slight, drying bitterness.

M-Thin with low carbonation and a pretty slick feel.

D-The mouthfeel feels a little thin with the flavor profile, but is to style. I wouldn't really a heavier feel in a summer beer anyways.

samie85, Jun 26, 2011
Photo of jbertsch
3.88/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a can.

Dark, semi-cloudy gold in color. Off-white head That hung around for a while.

Aromas of lemon, cracker, toasted grains are all there.

The taste offers a little lemon, honey malt, smooth grass and wheat notes, and a little something that I think is vanilla or white grape. Flavor is fairly short.

Mouthfeel is very creamy. Average carbonation that is masked by the creamy mouthfeel. Finishes on the dry side.

This is a decent summer brew that offers something a little more than the usual lackluster, uninteresting summer ales.

jbertsch, Jun 26, 2011
Photo of nukem5
3.78/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a darker reddish hue with a nice tan cap.

S: Aroma is that of sweet malts and caramel. Some notes of vanilla as well.

T: First is the sweet caramel and malts then changes to a sorbet type of flavor, slightly bitter but still sweet, at the back end you get a slightly grassy taste.

M: Medium bodied with a nice carbonation level, as well as a crispness to it.

O: Very drinkable and summer like in its taste and feel. Definitely drink some more of this.

nukem5, Jun 26, 2011
Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.35/5  rDev -9%
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.

UCLABrewN84, Jun 25, 2011
Photo of climax
3.08/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This one pours a cloudy caramel color, the head is pretty impressive but fades quickly.

The aroma is pretty lagerish with a slight bit of cream soda character. Rice pilaf, some metallic twang, and caramel make up the otherwise lack luster aroma.

The flavor is initially malted milk balls for sure. It's sweet yet not overly so, the cream flavor doesn't dominate. Pie crust and biscuits fade in before the dryish finish.

The body is fairly light, but the feel is creamy enough with ample bite to keep it away from watery. Not too much to say here, it's easy to drink and the flavor is OK.

climax, Jun 24, 2011
Photo of Brittmb29
3.38/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 12oz can, cold:

A- beautiful fluffy off white head but dissipates to thin loose tiny bubble head, no lacing. transparent red/amber hue.

S- not strong, almost have to search. hoppy aroma start but then sweetness, smells almost like white grape juice.

T- hoppy crispness with malts adding a sweetness, grape-like taste comes out in after taste. alcohol taste somewhat but no bitter hop ending.

M- creammmyy this is the nicest part of this can, the carbonation adds to the body (the lighter side of medium). alcohol helps dry the tongue in aftertaste.

O- flavor is not what i expected but the fruitiness and mouthfeel is unique and the beer is very drinkable. i'm glad they sell 6 pack cans, perfect for camping or the beach!

Brittmb29, Jun 21, 2011
Photo of beerdown77
4.08/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This pours cloudy dark copper and has a very small amount of head with no retention or lacing. This is a very sweet beverage that barely tastes like a beer. It’s big boy’s cream soda. Although I don’t reach for one of these every time I’m craving a beer, I thoroughly enjoy this as something different and refreshing. The quality is top notch…medium smooth body and very drinkable. Again, not my first choice, but for the style this has to be an “A-”.

beerdown77, Jun 20, 2011
Photo of GallowsThief
3.88/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured out of a 12 oz can into a standard pint glass.

A – Poured out a dark reddish brown with a two inch off white/tan fluffy head. Good retention.

S – Solid malty smell. Subtle sweet smell. Caramel.

T – First thing that hit me was that it tastes like a light cream soda. Malt is there as well like in the nose. Caramel and vanilla. It has some sweetness but it is not overpowering at all. Pleasant would be a good description

M – Velvety and creamy smooth. Light to medium bodied.

O – This is a crazy easy drinker and would make a solid session beer. I drank it on a 96 degree day and it was damn refreshing. Very nice.

GallowsThief, Jun 18, 2011
Photo of danronian
3.63/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark amber, already unlike most summer brews I've had. The head is minimal and fades quickly but bubbles continue rising from the bottom of the pint glass.

Smells sweet and slightly of honey.

Malty taste with spice and an overwhelming vanilla extract flavor. Creamy in the mouth with a slightly hoppy finish.

Easy to drink them fast since the mouthfeel is so creamy and the vanilla taste comes at the end, making you want to take another sip to taste it again. A very unique brew and unlike any other summer beer I've ever tried.

The heavy body makes it a beer I wouldn't categorize as a "summer beer" but that also differentiates it from the rest in its category. Not a light beer by any means but quite tasty.

danronian, Jun 16, 2011
Photo of Vdubb86
4/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served in a clear plastic cup whilst camping in Wisconsin

This was my choice of beer when it came to camping. High quality, light and refreshing and comes in a can. How can you lose? This beer pours an amber color with a frothy ecru foam, surprisingly dark for a cream ale. The aromas aren't much of anything with this beer, but the mild caramel and vanilla are a rather welcome presence in the nostrils. The flavor is quite similar to that of a mix between an amber ale and a cream soda. There is a decent amount of sugary cream flavor as well as a decent amount of vanilla on the palate with a background of a touch of butterscotch and caramel. The mouthfeel is, well, creamy, it's hard to call it really anything else. Overall this is a great summer beer, one which I will surely buy as often as the chance arises.

Vdubb86, Jun 13, 2011
Photo of aval89
3.53/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: darker amber color.. off white head.. clear body.

S: slightly toasted malts.. semi metallic .. faint grassy hops..

T: malts upfront.. lightly toasted malts.. then you get a faint vanilla taste.. almost like a sherbet.. finish is slightly grassy with a bit of a metallic twang..

Mf: light-medium body with an almost crisp carbonation

O: a different brew that's for sure..pretty enjoyable.

aval89, Jun 13, 2011
Photo of tone77
3.73/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to the legendary woodychandler for providing this beer. Poured from a 12 oz. can. Has a light brown color with amber hues and a 1/2 inch head. Smell is somewhat sweet, malty. Taste is good, malts, sweet, just a touch of hops. Feels medium bodied in the mouth and overall is an enjoyable beer.

tone77, Jun 11, 2011
Photo of mastodonj
4.43/5  rDev +20.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

it's taken me a while to figure out this beer, not sure I have yet.
it's a lot like the Winter Solstice which I haven't had in months
but still, I believe this is a warmer weather, more drinkable version of that beer.

deep tea color, not red but a dark amber
smallish head but lacing sticks around
smell is complex: malty, hoppy and caramel(?)

taste has a great hoppy but malty combination. the hops are
low key enough that the bitterness is very subtle.

feel has the "creamy" that lives up to the name

overall, this is a great beer. it is complex enough but mellow enough to keep you coming back for more.

mastodonj, Jun 11, 2011
Photo of TheSarge
3.78/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Ah my first example of the style.

Pours nicely for a two finger thick tan head, and has a copper colored well filtered body.

The aroma is really sweet. Lots of caramel and a hint of floral hops.

The tast is of fig, some herbal notes, and metallic hops.

Moderately carbonated and wetting to the palate. Overall not bad and I look forward to trying more examples of this style.

TheSarge, Jun 11, 2011
Photo of spinrsx
3.73/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz Bottle

Appearance – Clear brownish amber colour with an above average size fizzy off-white coloured head. There is a low amount of carbonation showing and there is some good lacing. The head lasted for 4 minutes or so before it was gone.

Smell – Malts, breads/grains, hay/straw, honey

Taste & Mouth - There is an above average amount of carbonation and I can taste lots of malts and an almond sweetness. I can also taste grains and a bit of straw/hay and some light clove. It finishes with a malty and nutty sweet aftertaste.

Overall – At first I thought it was just an average beer, but after it warmed up a little bit I really enjoyed the sweet aspect of it. It’s got a nice taste that is fairly different from most of the other summer beers out there. I’d buy it again and would say it’s worth seeking out.

spinrsx, Jun 10, 2011
Photo of Brenden
3.9/5  rDev +6%
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.

Brenden, Jun 07, 2011
Photo of Star80
4/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer does not say Crema Cerveza on it and it came from a can. Pours out a dark copper color with a cream colored head. Smells quite malty for a summer beer. Tastes is malty too, nice toasty malts with a clean hop aftertaste. Also has a bit of diacetyl almost buttery biscuit flavor to it, which I don't count as a flaw. Or is that vanilla notes? Beer says natural flavor added?! This is an odd beer for summer, might be more of a autumn beer if I had to place it in a season. However, it is hot out and I am enjoying it, at least it isn't too heavy or anything like that. Very smooth, almost creamy tasting with not too much carbonation could make this a hit at a BBQ with some burgers or brats, possibly some smokey pork too.

Star80, Jun 05, 2011
Photo of ReelBigwigFish
3.58/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Got a sample from work today, poured into a Pike Kilt Lifter pint glass.

A: Right on copper color with minimal creamy head that dissipated rather quickly and there is very minimal lacing.

S: Smells sweet and buttery.

T: Tastes very creamy, the diacetyl has quite a presence here. Hints of toasted malt, bread, and vanilla. However, the flavor is all quite mild.

M: Very, very....very smooth. Although a bit heavy for drinking large amounts at a backyard bbq per se, it is very drinkable. I just think a summer beer is usually more geared at light crispness instead of smooth creaminess.

O: Not a bad beer at all, definitely better than Genesee cream haha. Liked it better than their Imperial IPA too.

ReelBigwigFish, Jun 05, 2011
Photo of Rayek
3.48/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Summer Solstice hits my Perfect Pint glass with a pale amber color and a light bead. A foamy eggshell head falls to a thin film, while leaving no lace behind.

The beer is mostly sweet. I'm trying to nail down what the sweet aroma and flavor is all about, but can't quite pin it. It reminds me a bit of malted milk mixed with nougat. There's a bit of creamed corn at work too. The bitterness is light and doesn't seem to add much flavor to the mix. The sweetness lingers into the finish. The body is relatively light, but slightly creamy.

This beer is interesting, but doesn't really blow me away. It seems like a decent summer offering.

Rayek, Jun 05, 2011
Photo of kbutler1
1.83/5  rDev -50.3%
look: 4 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1.5

Bottle. Pours a clear copper color with a mostly white with light tan head. The aroma is....cheese, yes cheese, slightly like swiss. Oh good lord, I am not looking forward to tasting this. It taste like watered down cream soda. Medium mouthfeel. The flavor is not that great to say the least. I’m not sure what they were shooting for on this one. Slightly sweet start. Ends with a linger cream soda flavor. No lace, but some head retention.

kbutler1, Jun 04, 2011
Photo of mothman
1.75/5  rDev -52.4%
look: 3 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

Pours a light layer of white head. Fades to a ring. Color is golden orange.

Aroma: Funky cheese. Some spice flavors, maybe nutmeg. Not much else.

Taste: Tastes like Barq's cream soda. Not much else though. Really, there isn't a lot going on here. Is this pop or beer?

Mouthfeel: Crisp. Light bodied with a high amount of carbonation. Ends dry.

Overall, I have no idea what to think about this beer. It smells bad and doesn't taste like beer at all. What were these guys trying to brew.

mothman, Jun 04, 2011
Photo of grittybrews
3.28/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured a dark ruby-caramel into a tulip with a finger of loose eggshell head. Weak, slightly malty aroma without much hop presence.

Slightly low carbonation and a light, thin mouthfeel. Mild bread and a bit of toffee up front with a slight grassiness on the finish and maybe a hint of lemon.

Light and lacking in flavor. Easy-drinking, but there are plenty of other summer beers I'd choose over this.

grittybrews, May 31, 2011
Photo of AleWatcher
3.65/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz can into tulip pint.

Deep copper color with one finger of off-white head. Small chinks of lacing are left behind from the thin collar and wisps of bubbles that became of the head.

Smells sweet. Not really malt sweetness, just a generic sweetness that I can't really describe. Very little hops on the nose. This seems to be a gateway beer for BMC drinkers.
The flavor has malts and sweetness, and that's about it. Virtually no bitterness, and virtually no hops flavor. This probably IS designed as a BMC cross-over beer, and in that regard it isn't bad.
I personally don't dig the style, but this seems to follow the guidelines fairly well. Toffee and coffee flavors seem to arise as this warms.
I look forward to trying a hoppy all malt version!

The body is syrupy and coats my teeth. Low carbonation level makes this feel like a brown ale.

Overall, this was surprisingly enjoyable and very easy to drink. I could certainly have a few of these at a sitting.

AleWatcher, May 30, 2011
Photo of VelvetExtract
4.15/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A-Pours a pretty copper tone. Bubbles seem to rise in a mist to the top of the glass. The beer is quite clear, yet the carbonation makes it look murky. A yellowish tan head forms from the pour. The head is about a finger high. The head retains well. Patchy lace clings randomly to the glass.

S-Smells creamy, which is good. Sugary sweetness. Definitely picking up some caramel and toffee as well. Vanilla flavor is present as well. Light metallic aroma.

T-A pleasant taste! All the aspects in the nose are heightened in the flavor. Nice grains come into play as well. Like a cool cream soda on a hot summer day. The sweet caramel and vanilla are set to a perfect intensity. Some nice fruity flavor sets in as well.

M-Incredibly smooth and creamy. They nailed the mouthfeel here. Lighter bodied with an excellent feel of carbonation.

O/D-This is clearly a different take on what a summer ale should be. This beer is pretty awesome. Incredibly easy to drink. No alcohol burn. Tastes like cream soda. Its pretty damn good. I thought Narragansett Summer and Hop Sun by Southern Tier were the two summer brews battling it out for my 'Summer Go-to'. This brew just added its name into the race. Just completely different than most summer brews. Good time.

VelvetExtract, May 27, 2011
Summer Solstice from Anderson Valley Brewing Company
82 out of 100 based on 1,287 ratings.