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Summer Solstice - Anderson Valley Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Summer SolsticeSummer Solstice

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,266 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,266
Reviews: 451
rAvg: 3.68
pDev: 15.76%
Wants: 43
Gots: 101 | 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
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Ratings: 1,266 | Reviews: 451 | Display Reviews Only:
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
Photo of JoeyBeerBelly
4/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz can served in a standard pint glass.

L - deep copper color with a off-white head that thinned out leaving a good bit of lacing.

S - malty aroma with a bit of toffee.

T - once again a malt forward beer with a taste similar to the cream in creamsicle.

F - medium bodied with a smooth feel.

O - a good cream ale that I'd have every once in a while.

JoeyBeerBelly, May 26, 2011
Photo of Swedes21
4.25/5  rDev +15.5%
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.

Swedes21, May 25, 2011
Photo of emmasdad
3.85/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

I picked up a can of this one last week as part of a mixed six pack, and I am enjoying it as I type. Poured a nice copper color, with a little off-white head. Aromas of citrus, vanilla beans and light malt. On the palate, this one is light bodied and good, with flavors of vanilla, spice and orange.

emmasdad, May 24, 2011
Photo of hosehead83
3.6/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a standard pint glass. Clear copper/amber in color, with a moderate head of off-white foam.
Aroma-Faint malt and pear
Taste-Faint fruitiness, slightly sweet malt note, very creamy and refreshing. This was a nice surprise from the usual orange/lemon summer offerings that are everywhere this time of year.

hosehead83, May 23, 2011
Photo of metter98
3.65/5  rDev -0.8%
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.

metter98, May 21, 2011
Photo of Rifugium
3.9/5  rDev +6%
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.

Rifugium, May 20, 2011
Photo of rdub
3.35/5  rDev -9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had on tap at Lidia's in the Pittsburgh strip district. Golden color, half inch head and lacing was present. Smell was pretty spicy. Taste was mostly sweet malt with a weird spice presence. Smooth and easy drinking w low carbonation. Kind of interesting and glad I tried it.

rdub, May 16, 2011
Photo of JRed
3.9/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clear amber with white bubbly head that sticks. Aggressive aroma of spices, earth, malt, cinnamon, gingerbread. Tastes of gingerbread, slight spice, toffee, vague cocoa in the aftertaste with some residual vanilla sweetness. Zapping carbonation and a creamy mouthfeel. A peculiar tasty beer that is not that refreshing but not that cloying either. Flavorful and beautifully different.

JRed, May 13, 2011
Photo of Pipmeister
4.03/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had this a few times before but decided to review it tonight since we've been picking it up in cans.

Forgot how good and easy drinking this beer is. It pours a really nice copper color, not alot of head however. The smell is definitely sweet and the cream does come through in the nose alittle bit of roastiness as well. And...the taste is pretty much exactly as it smells. Up front sweetness but not cloying with a taste of slightly toasted marshmallow on the backend. Great mouthfeel with good carbonation, not too thick considering it says it's a cream beer. Having this one in cans is definitely gonna make it a summer time thirst quencher. Solid brew.

Pipmeister, May 12, 2011
Photo of shaunb81
4.18/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A friend told me about this beer and the same day I found it at a local craft beer bar.

Appearance - Pours a nice, hazy amber body with a finger width, off-white head. Pretty nice lacing around the glass too!

Smell - Sweet malts and fruity hops are here all the way. There is also caramel and honey notes.

Taste - This is where this beer really gets me going. I swear that every time I took anothesr sip, I tasted something different. Check out this list: Nuts, honey, vanilla, granola, sweetened cereal, shredded wheat.... I stopped taking nots after a while.

Mouthfeel - Creamy with mild carbonation.

Overall - I love this beer. It's adventurous and pretty delicious too. Go out and find this...now.

shaunb81, May 08, 2011
Photo of PeprSprYoFace
3.98/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Comin from the new cans they have coming out.

Poured into a pint glass it has a nice amber color. Very thin head. Very little lacing.

Nice malty aroma. Not super strong but smells almost like a soda.

Taste is smooth and a bit of malt. Slight caramel. Tasty.

Mouthfeel is smooth and maybe could use a bit more carb.

Overall I'm very impressed with this summer session beer. Very tasty. Gunna be buying a ton of this for the summer especially since it comes in cans now.

PeprSprYoFace, May 06, 2011
Photo of dstc
4.1/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a burnt amber color with a tan head. Head falls to a very small one. Thin lace.

Sweet aroma with hints of vanilla and creamy malts. No real hops in the nose.

Taste is quite sweet ans spicy. Vanilla bean flavors with mild butterscotch atop a malt backbone. Mild hop in the finish.

Medium bodied mouthfeel and rather smooth. Moderate carbonation.

I find this beer, although quite sweet, to be very drinkable. Great summer brew.

dstc, May 06, 2011
Photo of AdamBear
3.93/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I saw this at a store, looked it up and saw it was a cream ale and bought since i've never had a cream ale before. I didn't expect much, but wow I was surprised!

A-beautiful transparent amber with a thick foamy light tan head that becomes thin

S-smells malty, light with caramel, honey, and vanilla. medium strength.

T-comes in with smooth vanilla and transforms in to a great salted caramel taste. this forms a long lasting after-taste. the flavors are strong and have a lot of flavor. this beer is wonderful. there are absolutely no negative aspects.

M-smooth, creamy, medium carbonation with a creamy finish

D-i bought this can out of curiosity. i need to go back and buy more! this is so good and it goes down so easily! this needs to come out year round.

AdamBear, May 03, 2011
Photo of CuttDeez
4.03/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint glass from a bottle. Good sunner warm day to have this beer!
A - It is a deep brown rustic color with hue of reddish orange. The head is somewhat stingy but small.
S - Good caramel malt aromas, with a good amount of dark and light sugars. I pick up some butterscotch in the nose as well which is awesome. The other good strong body in the nose is the distinct vanilla throughout the nose.
T & M - Incredibly smooth and creamy beer. Very light on the hop and no bitterness at all. The malt sweetness comes through but manages to be crisp and refreshing as well. The sweatness is in the creamy cugars and slight fruit characters. The carbination is light to medium and the beer flows.
O - Great summer beer. I can see craving one of these on a summer day and after a long day of work when the sun has been mocking me like it did today. Great cream ale!


CuttDeez, Apr 22, 2011
Photo of Tripphop
3.2/5  rDev -13%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Yum, cans. Pours a golden orange with frothy cream colored foam. Aromas are stale and sweet, not enticing. Flavor is refreshing and has a nice creamy feel. Malt is bready and sweet, graham cracker crust and soft serve ice cream. Great summer seasonal, so glad its in cans now.

Tripphop, Apr 21, 2011
Photo of hustlesworth
3.73/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- clear coppery amber with a big creamy off white head. i'm pretty sure that the only cream ale i've ever had was genessee and that was back in ohh i'd say about '89 and i didn't know a whole heck of alot about beer back then so.. i guess this will be a new experience. nice swirly sticky lace. color is nice but the foam is just fantastic.

S- not much of an aroma, just hints of cereal grains and grasses, maybe corn husk, and a touch of vanilla and something like cassia.

T- creamy vanilla spice. this brew tastes somewhat like french toast. fresh light grains chill behind all that along with some old school beer flavor. hops are slim to none and that's ok because a grainy dryness keeps this one from getting too sweet in the second half. overall mild in flavor and the vanilla or whatever is very mild adding really only a slight english ale type character. finishes like granola. i'm rather impressed. but the spice gets to be too much as the beer warms a bit. makes it taste like christmas.

MF- soft and creamy with nice tight carbonation. body is so plush for such a mild mannered beer.

D/O- light flavor and body with an incredible softness, all things considered. fresh grainy bran flake flavor wins over the taste for me plus the overall lightness and teddy bear snuggliness makes me thank dave from heidelberg for the sample. i'll take it.

hustlesworth, Apr 20, 2011
Photo of PreacherBrewer
3.95/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours a light copper/orangish color with a nice creamy white head.

S - Clean sweet scent.

T - Tastes like cream soda beer...in a good way. Mild hop profile is balanced by a sweet malt backbone. Infused with a little vanilla i think.

M - uhhh...duh! it's creamy! smooth, pleasant, medium bodied.

O - a very good cream ale. great early/late summer quaffer. body is a bit much for massive consumption, but a very pleasant experience.

PreacherBrewer, Apr 18, 2011
Photo of mlazzaro
3.38/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Cream colored head, amber in color, like no other cervaze I've seen. Could be clearer, but no real complaints.

Smell is probably the weakest aspect of this beer. Mild yeast smell, and odd honey sweet aroma. I kind of don't like the smell.

Tastes much better than is smells. Creaminess most likely coming from some adjunct like corn I believe. Pretty sweet flavor. Surprisingly viscus mouthfeel. Interesting beer. I can safely say I have tasted nothing like this. Almost cream soda like. Interesting doesn't mean great. Its just a highly drinkable not so expensive summer beer. I could really see this pairing with some spicy mexican food or for a BBQ.

mlazzaro, Apr 17, 2011
Photo of astralspirit1
5/5  rDev +35.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I cannot say enough about this brew!

This is my favorite beer of all time. This beer has an amazing mouth feel, and is extremely drinkable (beware ;) ). Anderson Valley did an excellent job getting the vanilla flavor and aroma to really come across. Even your non-craft beer friends are going to like this one. I wait for this beer every summer and do my best to find as many cases as possible (which usually isn't much unfortunately). For my other friends who love this beer, if you do buy cases, I have found that the taste was not affected even 10 months after purchase. I don't know why there aren't more cream ales as tasty as this one, then again, is that possible?!

astralspirit1, Apr 08, 2011
Photo of DrDemento456
3.15/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Was able to pick up a half case of this and a half of the Boon Amber for a mere 15 bucks. Looking back I wish I hadn't

A - Really clear amber, almost yellow in tone with a inch of white head that laces pretty well.

S - Smells of faint creme soda. No hop or grain presence.

T - Wow this beer is watery! I didn't expect it to have no real body with no hop or malt presence. Tasted like creme seltzer water. If anything positive it drank like water so ABV is well hidden.

M - Extremely light. I found it kind of off putting.

Overall these cans might have been at least 6 months old to be on discount but that's no excuse for a beer having no flavor. It wasn't skunked since the boon amber drank great but was really disappointed since this summer Solstice is the exact opposite of winter. Watery, light, and no real beer notes this is one I would avoid. Might pawn off a six pack to my brother since he says he drinks anything (Keystone)

DrDemento456, Apr 05, 2011
Photo of chicagoabbot
3.93/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes...can into a pint glass. Is the can more ecologically sound? This brewery says they are solar powered and their marketing is all about eco-friendliness, so perhaps the can is a wise choice as far as the environment, but it didn't help the price of this beer much. It is expensive for what it is and not something I'll buy often. I'm a little suspicious of what was added for the cream flavor, as it does reference an additive on the can.

Amber body supports a generous white head

Sweet in the nose, creamy as the name suggests

Decent taste, kind of like a creamsicle. Hops don't really shine too much either in the nose or on the tongue.

Mouthfeel is ok, nothing to write home about. It's not zesty but it's not objectionable either.

Overall, the other beers I've had from this brewery are superior and I won't buy this one again at the same price.

chicagoabbot, Mar 21, 2011
Summer Solstice from Anderson Valley Brewing Company
83 out of 100 based on 1,266 ratings.