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Summer Solstice - Anderson Valley Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Summer SolsticeSummer Solstice

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,302 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,302
Reviews: 452
rAvg: 3.68
pDev: 15.76%
Wants: 43
Gots: 109 | 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: 1,302 | Reviews: 452 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of zaphodchak
3.78/5  rDev +2.7%
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.

zaphodchak, Jul 22, 2011
Photo of Crossmd
3.83/5  rDev +4.1%
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.

Crossmd, Jul 21, 2011
Photo of bagpiper2005
3.53/5  rDev -4.1%
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?

bagpiper2005, Jul 21, 2011
Photo of DaveHS
3.23/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A-Pours clear amber with a thin, fizzy off white head. Minimal soapy lacing.

S-Pale malts, circus peanut candy, some sweet adjunct that's hard to place.

T/M-Light, sweet pale malt delivered with low carbonation. Opens up mid-palate, revealing simple cereal malt flavors that turn creamy and sweet as they reach the finish.

O-A little more interesting than the average summer fare. Doesn't do it for me, but I wouldn't turn one down.

DaveHS, Jul 20, 2011
Photo of shand
4.1/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz can into a Sam Adams perfect pint.

It pours out a nice deep amber color crested with two fingers of off-white head. Retention is alright, as is lacing. The aroma is sweet and creamy, with some nice caramel malts. There's also what smells a bit like peaches or apricots. The taste is quite good, it's quite unique for a summer beer since it isn't light-bodied, but still very refreshing. The creaminess of the beer really does wonders for the drinkability. Caramel malts and the creamy sweetness are the front-runners, it does have quite a bit of a cream soda taste to it. The fruitiness also sticks around, along with a bit of spicing. The mouthfeel is medium-bodied and very creamy, and the drinkability is quite good. Overall, a unique and tasty summer brew, it makes for something unique to enjoy during the dog days.

shand, Jul 20, 2011
Photo of Docer
3.88/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Grabbed a 6-pack of cans to try. Their website states the beer is 5%, and the title doesn't state 'Cerveza Crema' on the can anywhere, nor does is state that it is a cream ale.
Appearance: (3.5)
- Pours a lovely dark copper like a freshly minted penny. Fuzzy and creamy off-white fingers of head that slowly settles to a very tiny gray ring, and some scattered traces of bubbles.

Smell: (3.5)
- Smooth creamy malts. Caramel, biscuit, and bready with a touch of sweet cream. Not a very hoppy beer by any means. Perhaps a bit of ginger and molasses. Light spice.

Taste: (4.0)
- Very smooth and full flavored brew. Lightly sweet bready malts and light caramel. Touch of ginger and spice, molasses, yeasty biscuit. Great smooth malt forward beer. Very good full flavored brew for how light it is.

Mouth Feel: (4.0)
- Creamy, full to medium bodied, slightly cloying. Dries the mouth just a touch. Very robust feel for how light the beer is.

Overall: (4.0)
- I really dig this beer. I really dig that it is in cans too. For the lack of use of hops, I would like to see a smaller price point so I could grab about 48 of these bad boys for camping. A very good full bodied and full flavored session ale.

Docer, Jul 16, 2011
Photo of trappistlover
3.68/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

(12oz can). Pours a clear amber color with decent offwhite head. Some lacing an somewhat active carbonation. Aroma of caramel, bread, and some fruits. Taste is sweet with some light bitterness. A bit of spice and fruit as well. Medium bodied with a slick texture. Finish is smooth. This is a pretty flavorful beer with some substance. I’m not sure its a thirst quencher though as I feel like I’d get filled up easily.

trappistlover, Jul 12, 2011
Photo of russpowell
3.53/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours amber with 3+ fingers of tan head. Above average head retention

S: Faint grainy notes

T: Cereal grain, a touch of apricot & grassy hops up front. along with slight leafy hop notes. Slight figgy notes mix with grainy notes as this warms. Finishes with slight mineral hop profile, plus apricot & figs, plus dryness; got better as it warmed

MF: Semi-creamy, light in body

Drinks easy & with a bit more flavor than you average cream ale. Had better, but this will work on a HOT July afternoon

russpowell, Jul 09, 2011
Photo of Keene
4.03/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This beer produced a somewhat generous white head when poured into a glass, which might have seemed brighter against the tawny or copper-colored body. Its hoppy and fruity nose holds an enticing and enigmatic suggestion of spice.

True to its name, this medium-bodied ale is velvety and creamy—almost surprisingly so. Delicately spiced, Summer Solstice also possesses a refreshing tanginess with subtle citrus notes (tangerine maybe) in the background. A short, quenching and gently hoppy finish completes the experience, leaving the imbiber with a soft sweetness that lingers on the tongue. Very drinkable and well-suited to warmer weather.

Keene, Jul 09, 2011
Photo of StaveHooks
4.3/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Copper with red hues, creamy 2.5 finger head that melts into a solid collar.

S - Smells like Capt n Crunch mostly. Toasted wheat crackers, some caramel, sweet puffed rice, sugary grain.

T - Slightly toasted sugary grain, vanilla bean,

M - Medium body, lush and creamy feel.

My first cream ale so I don't have anything to compare it to. I always thought this would be a style I wouldn't like but this was very good.
Great aroma, totally different than anything I've ever smelled out of beer. This is a very homey feeling beer. Highly recommended.

StaveHooks, Jul 09, 2011
Photo of wampahoofus
4.35/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: An attractive light-amber with some head and lacing.

S: Oh wow. This is unique. The aroma has a lot of vanilla and caramel. There is a sugary maltyness there. Lots of aroma!

T: Taste lives up to the aroma. Lots of vanilla, brown sugar, caramel and subtile wheaty malts. It is unique and flavorful.

M: The flavor lingers nicely on the pallate. Very enjoyable.

I really enjoyed this brew. Having it on tap may be a plus. The flavors are fresh and lively. The beer is very drinkable. I may have another...

wampahoofus, Jul 09, 2011
Photo of biegaman
3.25/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This russet-copper colour is not at all what I was expecting from a beer named 'summer solstice', nor from a cream ale for that matter. A golden beer, even one lightly brushed with amber, sure, but this looks as heavy the brewery's Winter Solstice brand and is infinitely darker than anything I've seen with 'cream' in the name! Still, it ain't a bad looking specimen.

The delicateness - actually, that's putting it fat too lightly, - the frailty of the beer's aroma would suggest that it talks the talk but does not walk the walk, so to speak. (Looks the look but doesn't smell the smell?) There are faintly toasty, nutty malt notes and a wavering ("special") spiciness, but both are far better suited to a winter warmer than summer quencher.

Funny that for all the colour this beer has, absolutely none of it results in any additional flavour. Despite its gorgeous coppery tone, this tastes like any old cream ale. Corn grits and bready malts combine for a take-it-or-leave-it flavour that I bet would leave even mainstream lager drinkers saying 'meh'. There's only a microscopic amount of nutty-sweet toast.

Nurse, this beer needs 300 volts of malt defibrillation, STAT! It's flatlined. No bubbles, no bitterness, no lingering sweetness - it's enough to declare the beer fundamentally expired. Given the bottle's freshness, however, I suspect it was born with these deficiencies. I think the best solution here is for the brewer to head back to the drawing board and start afresh.

Again we are reminded of what our mothers taught us: never judge a book by its cover. Just because a beer looks flavourful and malt-rich doesn't mean it is; likewise, just because it says "Summer" on the label doesn't automatically make it a gratifyingly refreshing hot weather quencher. Pretty much everything this beer leads you to believe ends in disappointment.

biegaman, Jul 08, 2011
Photo of Bierguy5
3.88/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz can. Slightly hazy, deep amber color. Tan fizzy head disappears after a minute or two.

Caramel, cereal grains. A hint of vanilla cream. Some slight dried fruit.

Caramel malt up front, with a touch of vanilla-like sweetness. Fruity notes fill the back end of this. A bit drier at the finish.

Lighter body, but has a slight creamy feel. It is hard to believe that this is refreshing, but I think it is. Certainly different than most summer beers. I like it.

Bierguy5, Jul 03, 2011
Photo of KajII
3.8/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

[Best served in a Lager glass]

Poured a light brown with a nice yellow hue with a very large off white creamy head that had very nice retention and produced some excellent lacing. The aroma was very malty of a cookie like malt and had a nice dose of a sweet doughy yeast with notes of caramel and dried fruit. It tasted extremely malty, a bit sweet and nice and refreshing with a hint of dried fruit from start to finish with a nice caramel note at the end that left the flavor lingering on the taste buds for a good while. Mouthfeel was light to medium in body and very creamy in texture with a nice lively carbonation. Overall I have to say the name is perfect, it is most likely the smoothest, most refreshing summer beer I have ever had.

KajII, Jun 30, 2011
Photo of VicSlick
4.9/5  rDev +33.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I love this BEER! Is is exceptionally tasty. Let me tell you why.

Served into my Lagunitas mason jar glass. Poured a very smooth amber color with not much head(intentionally poured smooth because I like a bubbly mouthfeel).

First sip is great. Let me tell you why. Its the SMELL. The smell is fucking awesome. Its an aroma of sweet cream, maybe vanilla ice cream? Wow. SO good.

It is a rather full bodied beer but nothing compared to an instense double IPA or barleywine. For what it is, it is just right. Not much alcohol taste at all, but I like that in a beer. Try one before its too late.

COSTCO NEAR ME SELLS A 24 pack for $23. THAT, is a steal.

VicSlick, Jun 30, 2011
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
Summer Solstice from Anderson Valley Brewing Company
84 out of 100 based on 1,302 ratings.