Summer Solstice - Anderson Valley Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Summer SolsticeSummer Solstice

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1,310 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,310
Reviews: 454
rAvg: 3.68
pDev: 15.76%
Wants: 42
Gots: 112 | 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: 1,310 | Reviews: 454 | Display Reviews Only:
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3.5/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.25

Thanks, Jon. Poured out of a 12oz bottle into a tulip pint glass. Bottle says "natural flavor" was added, but I for the life of me would not be able to know what it is... And neither does their website for that matter.

Pours a dark brownish amber body complete with 2 fingers worth of head that dwindles down to pretty much nothing. Carbonation is not too present. No lacing to speak of. Average body retention and character, but definitely good to see a summer beer taking on a different appearance.

The aroma is very heavy and toasty, almost like whiffing straight into a box of biscuits coated with citrus and vanilla. This took me by surprise, especially as this barely is a combination of flavors that I get in a summer beer. In fact, I'd go as far to say that it smells like S'mores, believe it or not! Cinnamon, wheat, candied cream, and a bit of caramel and milk chocolate are all present here, but it's not a dessert beer by any means. It contains a spiciness that overlaps these flavors, only to bludgeoned by all the caramel and toffee. There's a syrupy sweetness that I've gotten with every AV beer to date, except for their oatmeal stout, which makes it cloying. There's also a candied fruity flavor (I'm going to go with oranges) that persists, and while not pleasant, it's not necessarily horrible. I'm enjoying the variety of flavors, but not the sweetened caramelized backdrop so much.

Right from the start, I can see where this is a cream ale with added spices and citrus notes. The cream is instantly there, and melds itself with the caramel and candied orange notes, only to finish with a bittered, toasted barley flavor combined with brown sugar. Again, this never gets to the point of excessive sweetness (although the syrupiness is ridiculous), but it isn't something that I could down quickly either. As this warms up, there are notes of butterscotch (which makes me wonder if Irish yeast was used), as well as sweetened elements that make this resemble caramelized orange sorbet of sorts. Definitely similar to orange sodas as well, which the brewery seems ready to agree on. The cracked barley finish is a little distracting, and the hop profile is pretty low, but I believe would not have contributed so much to the beer's flavor. Luckily it's pretty thick, as I would hope all beers of this style to be.

Considering the fact that summers in NorCal in the far north (where AV is located) are usually pretty chilly, rainy, and misty, I could see this as a perfectly enjoyable beer to have during the days where the weather becomes mild during the season in the region. While I enjoyed a lot of the sweetened, creamy flavors this has to offer, the bittered, flaky finish, as well as the enormous syrupy, sludgy body, makes this one something that I patiently sipped on. I'd pair it with food in a heartbeat (think fruit-glazed butter fried lamb with sweet potatoes), but on its own, not so much. More of an ambivalent dessert than a quaffable summer beer.

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4.36/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12oz can into Red Hare Brewery Pint Glass.

App- It's a very simple, true to form beer. Fairly clear through with a great dark gold, copper, and amber color. Slight bit of chill on the glass, but very welcoming. Poured about 1.5 finger creamy off white soap-y head.

Smell- Very soft smell, some hop, malt, and confectionery sweetness. Not too much going on, but nothing to really turn off the drinker.

Taste- Sweetness. This is definitely a great beer, it is a bit on the sweeter end of the scale. Lots of vanilla, honey, sugars, almost reminds me of malty Nougat in drink form. Cannot get enough of this, especially as someone who is a huge fan of sweet, dark, and heavier beers. A great summer beer I would recommend to people who are looking for less hop and more "flavor" out of their lighter and easier Ales.

Mouth- Very crisp, but coating mouthfeel. Feels much the way you would expect based around the taste.

Overall- I have heard people say this is like Cream Soda for adults and I get that. It definitely has a Cream Soda like quality and it comes out strongest in the mouth & taste. The nose is definitely a more "beer-like" aroma, it's not unappealing though if you were to introduce this to someone. All in all, an easy quality drink. If you are looking for something sweeter, something that's a bit more than your typical summer-y Ales, this would be a great starting point.

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Summer Solstice from Anderson Valley Brewing Company
83 out of 100 based on 1,310 ratings.