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Summer Solstice - Anderson Valley Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Summer SolsticeSummer Solstice

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,309 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,309
Reviews: 453
rAvg: 3.68
pDev: 15.76%
Wants: 42
Gots: 111 | 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: 1,309 | Reviews: 453 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of jayhawk73
4/5  rDev +8.7%
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
3.53/5  rDev -4.1%
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
4.25/5  rDev +15.5%
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
3.88/5  rDev +5.4%
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 -4.9%
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
3.25/5  rDev -11.7%
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
3.75/5  rDev +1.9%
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
3.78/5  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.

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.

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?

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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...

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Summer Solstice from Anderson Valley Brewing Company
84 out of 100 based on 1,309 ratings.