Summer Solstice - Anderson Valley Brewing Company

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Summer SolsticeSummer Solstice

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472 Reviews
very good

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Reviews: 472
Hads: 1,465
Avg: 3.68
pDev: 27.17%
Wants: 67
Gots: 191 | 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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 472 | Hads: 1,465
Photo of HannahMayJune
5/5  rDev +35.9%

Deliciously smooth and creamy.. "Cream soda" flavor. Feels full but not heavy, thus a nice warm or cold weather beer for my taste. I wish I could have this more.

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.25/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

As America's beer making roots steered away from German authenticity and into an indigenous world all its own, the taste of warm fermented lager gives distinguished taste with all its quirks, rusticity and charm. Anderson Valley brewers are here to help us to not forget those wobbly stepping stones.

Their summer-made cream ale bridge the season with a surprisingly dark, almost copper hue. Laced with a cloudy haze, its appearance even seems creamy. Well headed, the aromas of sweet caramel and cream corn are expected. But is toasted sweet taste and yogurt-like texture make for exciting allure.

Its stern structure remains highly creamy and sweet with a tea-like presence that act in balance. As its caramel and toast outweigh the commonality of sweet cream corn, the hybrid beer isn't as vegetal as expected. With such tepid bitterness to counter its sweetness, the taste is focused and dedicated, however somewhat one-dimensional.

In finish, the caramel loosens and its sweetness begins to evaporate. All this leaves a honeycomb structure of malted milk behind, with a creamy and semi-dry closure. Slight mint and tea leaf peak through and help to keep the beer highly drinkable and remarkably refreshed.

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Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.22/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This is probably the best cream ale I've ever had.

Pours a clear amber, with a 1.5 inch head, and a good amount of lacing.

Smells like vanilla, caramel, and toffee. Awesome!

The taste is similar, very creamy vanilla taste, coupled with a crisp, almost lager-ish feel, even though I know this is a cream ale. Very little hop character, just great spicing that turns the typical lemony wheat summer style on its head. Vanilla, caramel, brown sugar, and toffee galore, but not so overpowering- keeping it light and summer. It's truly alcoholic cream soda.

Light bodied, mouthfeel starts creamy but ends fairly crisp. There is a high level of carbonation.

This was awesome, one of the more inventive cream ales I've ever had.

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Photo of DKHNOVA
4.91/5  rDev +33.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I love this beer. Very well-balanced taste. What beer should taste like, to my way of thinking. Not too bitter, not too malty, nothing exotic or gimmicky, but certainly not bland and not watery. Nice body. Just right. Some people say it's a bit sweet or vanilla-y, but I'd emphasize that these are subtle qualities. Too many beers go to extremes these days. Like it's a contest to see which brewer can be the most novel, the most interesting. This beer shows how good it can be to be in the mainstream, IF it is done right. And this beer does everything right. I look forward to another of these and more from this brewer.

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Photo of fannypakit
3.38/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Popped the top and got a surprise burst of carbonation. As a result, I had an enormous head and a poorly poured beer, but despite that, the beer had a rich brown hue that resembles a light liquid caramel color, almost amber but not quite.

Smell is of malts, caramel, and some vanilla. Distinct sweetness to it like straight honey. Pleasant, but I wouldn't be sniffing this all night long. Taste is really like a cream soda. Lots of caramel and toffee and a hint of vanilla. It's a great summertime beer--easy to drink and different than what I expected, a good different. I'd like a little more hops in it, but that's just my personal opinion.

Wouldn't call this a staple beer, but it's worth a try.

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Photo of gr0g
3.72/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark amber in color, slightly hazy. A nice two or so fingers of foam makes up the head. Fairly good retention and lacing qualities. Living up to its billing, there's definitely a bit of cream soda character in the aroma. Some vanilla upfront, and paired with a rich maltiness, it's a bit like cream soda, or even a root beer float. Beyond that, it's toffee malt at the forefront with some floral hops in the background.

Rich caramel malt defines the flavor, with a vanilla note for good measure. I've read that vanilla extract is used, and it certainly seems to be case according to my palate. It's pretty subtle though, and that's fine. Solid, balancing bitterness from the hops. Mouthfeel compliments the flavor nicely. The carbonation is soft, nicely tamed.

Despite having a richer, darker malt backbone that the vast majority of summer seasonals, the flavor profile is not "heavy." Actually, it's a nice change of pace from the glut of pilsners and watered down pale ales that litter the shelves during the summer.

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Photo of Mojo
3.05/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 ounce can -> New Belgium globe glass

A - deep amber in color with a small head, minimal retention and minimal lacing.

S- maybe some raisin, fresh grass, and a sweet essence.

T - This beer is dominated by sweet caramel malts. The finish is very understated and clean. The sweetness just sort of overpowers everything.

M - medium carbonation and thickness, no aftertaste

O - would make a good summer at the beach beer. Session suitable, nothing about this makes it a treat though.

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Photo of Treyliff
3.55/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint

A- pours a clear bright copper color with a small creamy white head that has good retention long after the pour

S- bready toasted malt & grains with a hint of sweet creamy vanilla & caramel

T- cream soda mixes with toasted barley up front, slightly sweet finish with lingers of cream and clean malt

M- medium body with medium spritzy carbonation leads to a foamy and cream mouthfeel,with a smooth finish, very drinkable

O- easy drinking, slightly sweet summer beer, nothing more, nothing less

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Photo of Badger6
3.65/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12 oz can into a pint.

Body is a medium amber color, with a nice creamy head that recedes into a thin layer with a decent ring at the edge. Some watery lacing. Smells very malty with a nice cream ale character in the aroma, but nothing complex or unique. Tastes malty sweet, sort of cloying at the finish. Medium body, with decent carbonation. Slightly oily feel, not dry at all. Overall, a nice example of a cream ale, but nothing that is cementing this to my brain as a must have if I see it on a tap. Seems very sessionable, and it comes in cans...perfect for summer.

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Photo of dbrauneis
3.72/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A: Pours a clear copper in color with light amounts of active visible carbonation streaming from the bottom of the glass and some amber + peach highlights. The beer has a finger tall creamy light beige head that reduces to a large patch of medium thick film and a thin ring at the edges of the glass. Moderate amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate aromas of caramel malts with a hint of sweetness along with some very light notes of vanilla and spices.

T: Upfront there is a moderate flavor of toasted and caramel malts with a light amount of initial sweetness. That is followed by light notes of vanilla and some light spicy hops which contribute a light amount of bitterness that does not linger at all.

M: On the lighter side of medium bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Creamy and smooth.

O: Easy to drink and sessionable with the rather modest ABV. Refreshing and a great beer for a warm spring or summer evening.

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Photo of BrettMRogers
3.37/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Not a bad little beer, drank it on a nice evening on a roof top bar. Didn't feel like the beer had much character or distinctive flavor. Never had a cream ale before to my knowledge. Good sensation in the mouth but the overall taste and smell isn't anything special.

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Photo of Foyle
3.47/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance—pours with a large creamy 2-3” head that settled slowly leaving light lacing. Copper in color. Very pretty in the glass!

Aroma –toasted grains and sweet malts,caramel/toffee, maybe a hint of hop spice

Mouthfeel – watery, sweet and sticky, no detectable hop bite. Very easy drinking.

Flavor—sweet! Reminds me of a caramel candy, but with just a enough heavier malt character that it doesn’t become overly sweet.

Overall— For a summer thirst quencher/session beer it is very good. In cold weather it would probably not be nearly as good. My biggest concern with Summer Solstice is that it is too sweet-- I only had one can to sample, but the sweetness so dominates the flavor that I am afraid more than 1 or 2 of these might overwhelm the palate.

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Photo of Tony49er
3.44/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Serving Type- From a bottle poured into a pint glass

Appearance- Light reddish golden color, thick white head with aggressive pour, no alcohol legs

Smell- Caramel, sugar, bread malts, cream soda nose

Taste- Caramel, cream soda like, toffee, sweat malts, very refreshing its one of my favorite summer seasonal beers EVER love this beer

Mouthfeel- Light and refreshing , sweet and great mouthfeel

Overall- An A+ summer beer I have not had one bad beer from Anderson Valley and this beer as well as their Winter Solstice I look forward to ever summer and winter...But if you have not had this beer you should grab a six pack of it for sure...CHEERS

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Photo of secondtooth
3.43/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from can into Oskar Blues pint glass a semi-cloudy amber, with huge off-white head. No discernible lace.

Nose is nicely toasted grains and malty. Kinda sweet, too. Maybe a slightly aged can?

Taste is smooth and malty-sweet, with plenty of toasty grain flavors. This is an easy-to-drink beer, light and flavorful. A solid and worthy warm weather brew.

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Photo of seand
3.49/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a medium amber color with a small amount of off-white head. A ring around the edge of the glass retains, along with some surface film, leaving a few spots of lacing.

S: Smooth and malty; a nice cream ale aroma that fits right in the style.

T: Medium malt sweetness up front, leading into a a higher sweet note, edging on cloying, towards the finish.

M: Medium body, medium carbonation.

Overall, not bad, but not exceptional. It general fits pretty easily inside the "cream ale" definition, even if it's an above average version of the style.

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Photo of BergBeer
4.05/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

6 pack bought at Bevmo! poured in a pint glass

A: Beautiful burnt orange/amber with an aggressive white peach head

S: Peach, oats, sweet malt, slight sour tang, slight biscuit, and orange rind! Smell great!

T: Sweet malty goodness, raspberries, orange peel, yogurt, and tons of oats! Taste like your are taking a bite out of a raspberry parfait! Really well done!

M: Light to medium body. Great carbonation that dissipates to a wet palate. Super refreshing!

O: Outstanding summer brew! So much flavor packed into this one but stills stays super refreshing and unique! I picked it up randomly and am super impressed! Bolder and has more complexity then most summer beers and really pushes to the limits of this category! Great beer!

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Photo of Craiger1967
4/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into Guiness PINT glassware.

Beautiful Soft Head, nice sweetish and hop scent greet me, nice hop and slight corn taste. Creamy mouthfeel, goes down smoothly with a nice little wop of hops near the end of the tongue.

This is my new favorite summer beer....Thanks AVB. :)

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Photo of constantine_272
4.11/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Dark copper with a slight orange tint with a slight haze. Well carbonated. Off white foam with low retention.

S: Slight sweetness with a dry hay smell. Toasted grain and a little molasses. Caramel, malt with a little yeast.

T: Starts of slightly sweet with honey molasses and biscuit notes, but fades very quickly. Brew turns crisp quickly and actually even a little sour in there with green apple and orange. Finishes with some warm cinnamon and allspice.

M: Thin and easy drinking. Finish sharp and clean with just about no aftertaste.

O: Really nice. Very mellow and smooth. Lots of depth of flavor, but not such a big heavy filling beer. Wish I found this summer beer before summer ended..

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Photo of ONUMello
3.55/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz can poured into a pint glass
A: Average brown color with a two-finger head that quickly settles
S: Sweet wheat, a hint of fruit
T: Light, malty, a touch sweet and a hint of fruit
M: Smooth, light, creamy
O: Refreshing enough on a warm summer's day but lacks the crispness and complexity I enjoy in many other summer seasonals

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Photo of mooseisloose
3.39/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

This was on a wicked Labor Day pricing of 3.99 at TW. For that price you can't go wrong so let's give it a whirl. Popping the aluminum vessel I get a huge waft of sweet malt and a very fine bubble creamy head forms. Pouring into my trusty SAPP this brew is a cloudy bright reddish orange with a very creamy orange tan head. On the taste the brew is very light and smooth. No evident bitterness just enough background to tone down the sweet maltiness. Slightly metallic bready and very refreshing. Not anything I would have paid the previous 9.99 a sixer asking price for but for 3.99 a sixer this hits the spot in the SoFla heat.

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Photo of Zach136
4.19/5  rDev +13.9%

Appearance: Super clear, deep ruby red, with an off white head and good lacing (4.00)

Aroma/Flavor: Very big notes of caramel and vanilla on the nose, a bit more subdued on the palate. Little to no hops. "Common-esque" yeast esters are light on the finish as well. (4.25/4.00)

Mouthfeel: Light bodied, juicy, refreshing by any standards, especially considering how dark and sweet it is. (4.5)

Overall: A very cool take on a summer style. Like you really need another wheat beer? (4.19)

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Photo of hrbuchanan
3.3/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

12 oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

Appearance: Bottle has an orange label and is oh-so-summery. The beer is a pretty amber with decent head retention, though it looks a bit cloudy for a beer that's not intended to be "unfiltered".

Smell: Vague smell of honey and malt, but not much there. No noticeable hop aroma, but nothing bad or "off" either.

Taste: Honey is the most prominent flavor. Nice, decently refreshing, though it tastes a bit thick and not super balanced. Not as easy drinking as I would hope from a blonde, but tasty. The flavor might appeal even to non-beer-drinkers.

Feel: Nice and full-bodied. Again, I would expect it to be lighter as a Summer seasonal, but I can't complain. I like it big.

Overall: The first few sips throw me off, but after that I get used to it. Not excited enough to buy it again, but it was nice. Can't complain too much!

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Photo of KYGunner
3.94/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Light coppery color smooth and silky, with a tremendously thick and well built head.

There's a sweet barley scent with touches of grain and nut. The aromas are slightly cardboardish but the sour mash, wet grainy, sweet bran scents accent the overall aroma.

The taste is all wrong but seems to be a good wrong. I get vanilla yogurt, slight strawberry, granola bar and sweet candied malts. A bit of caramel and toffee malts finish the taste and I find that this is a truly interesting an flavorful beer.

The feel is slightly summer but seems to be full and creamy and could even translate to a fall edition. I love most Anderson Valley beers but this is truly special.

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Photo of freneticamnesic
4.14/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A - Poured a reddish orange with a thick head that dissipated quickly

S - Bready malts, toasted sugars

T - caramely malts, lightly roasted sugary bread notes, hints of orange apples; finishes with light floral hops

M - smooth and crisp, just enough carbonation

O - My favourite summer beer so far! This is really well balanced and not overboard on the fruit/citrus notes, while still having an obvious summery, refreshing character.

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Photo of vkv822
3.64/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12oz : tulip

Lightly hazy, amber-orange-brown with a foamy, very light tan head.

Sweet, caramel, grainy malts with a floral hop backing. Unique without being overdone.

Medium+ body, mild foamy carbonation.

A very well done beer for the style. Pleasant sweet malts, with just enough hops to balance it.

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Summer Solstice from Anderson Valley Brewing Company
83 out of 100 based on 472 ratings.