Summer Solstice | Anderson Valley Brewing Company

489 Reviews
Summer SolsticeSummer Solstice

Brewed by:
Anderson Valley Brewing Company
California, United States

Style: Cream Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.00%

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.

Added by xlperro on 05-09-2005

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 489 | Ratings: 1,545
Photo of BastionShaw
5/5  rDev +36.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is my own personal "Nectar of the Gods"...this beer is so delicious.

Appearance: Beautiful Dark LIQUID GOLD
Smell: Sweet Freshness
Mouthfeel: Creamy Smoothness
Taste: Sweet Liquid Caramel & Delicious Honey-Baked Bread!
Drinkability: All Day, Every Day

The ONLY things wrong with this beer is that it's a "Summer Seasonal" only...which it makes it very hard to find in Florida when it's coming all the way from California & only being distributed for maybe 3 months...& it's a little pricey at $11-12 a 6-pk for an everyday drinker (which it most certainly is).

After buying all that was left at the end of the season in my area i only had 3 bottles left to hold me over until next summer...I went out of town on business & came back and my wife had drank them all! *Thank god I found (3) 6-pks that weekend in Orlando @Whole Foods & ON SALE! Bought them all of course!

Cream Ales are my favorite style because of THIS beer alone! Why is it so hard for other brewers to make a decent Cream Ale???

 1,018 characters

Photo of HannahMayJune
5/5  rDev +36.2%

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.

 163 characters

Photo of astralspirit1
5/5  rDev +36.2%
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?!

 673 characters

Photo of Lilbeck23
4.97/5  rDev +35.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

It has a nice toasty brown Amber to it. The smell is superb and with hints of vanilla and caramel. The feel and taste resemble creamy caramel with vanilla present and carbonation. It definitely is overall a MUST HAVE!!

 218 characters

Photo of DKHNOVA
4.91/5  rDev +33.8%
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.

 622 characters

Photo of VicSlick
4.89/5  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.

 656 characters

Photo of isualum12
4.88/5  rDev +33%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from tap into a pint down at Bittercreek in Boise Idaho.

App: Reddish brwon on the pour. It was very inviting just from the first look. Decen amount of carbonation. There is a nice thick brown head.

Smell: Sweet and malt rolled in.

Taste: It tastes very sweet with lots of caramel and is also very creamy swirl running around on your toung. After the first taste I was in love. The taste is refreshing. The cream flavor is what hooks you. I would be interested in trying to pair this with various foods. I am convinced that it would change in flavors with foods.

Mouth: Carboniated medium beer that holds its own.

One of the best beers of the year I have tried. I am in love. I plan on buy several more to store and drink....

 739 characters

Photo of ZenAgnostic
4.85/5  rDev +32.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

12oz bottle poured into a Duvel snifter.

Appearance - Very cloudy brown body. One finger white sea foam head.

Smell - Sweet nutty malt.

Taste - Delicious. Light and well balanced.

Mouthfeel - Light, crisp, and very refreshing.

Overall Drinkability - Possibly the most refreshing beer I've ever had. Very thirst quenching without being watery or boring. This may be my first cream ale, so perhaps I should really dive into that style because I'll love it if this foray is any indication.

 491 characters

Photo of AdamB84
4.85/5  rDev +32.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This beer was amazing. One of my favorites. For a summer beer and how AVB makes there seasonals usually a little darker and with a lot of spices. This beer when poured into a glass was an darker amber color with little head. Had the taste of vanilla and roasted malts. Keep making this beer.

 291 characters

Photo of RootedFool
4.85/5  rDev +32.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from a twelve ounce bottle into a sturdy beer mug, the head couldn't be more perfect: rises at a mid-level pace, light tan (white, with light brown highlights), fair retention. A thin collar of lace clings to the glass. The body is dark, translucent amber. Smell: Subtle drop of vanilla extract, slight grassy hop presence and caramel maltiness on the finish. Taste: Ah, nice kick of creamy vanilla upfront, encompassing my entire palate, the middle brings out the vanilla even more by being balanced out against a black peppery hop profile, and some soft malt sweetness. The finish is a powder sugar sweetness, as the vanilla is all played out, and very thin hop bitterness. Slick mouthfeel, plenty carbonated. Great summer beer, better than the usual summer (read: boring) offerings from otherwise awesome breweries.

 825 characters

Photo of BMac17
4.84/5  rDev +31.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

It’s golden copper in color, with a rich foamy head that lingers on and on.
Mouth feel is creamy, malty and silky smooth with a touch of cardamom spice on the back. It’s not your average seasonal almost dangerously delicious.

Great for a hot summer day when you don't have anything to do as you will get happily hammered quickly.

 335 characters

Photo of WAbeerfiend
4.75/5  rDev +29.4%

Poured from a can into a tumbler on 05.14.14.

A: See through red/orange. 2 finger head with an aggressive pour.

S: Strong toffee. Also has peanut brittle, coconut.

T: Peanut brittle, toffee are dominant. Coconut is subtle.

M: Creamy. Perfect carbonation.

O: This was my first cream ale and I have yet to find one that rivals it. It was complex with great flavors from front to back. It was a great dessert.

Rating: A

 424 characters

Photo of donchata
4.7/5  rDev +28.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer has a subtle resemblance to it's cousin, winter solstice. The copper coloring and tint give a smell of wheaty caramel and toasted honey. The taste is that of creamy, sweet, spicy velvet. It's bit heavier than the usual summer brew but oh so drinkable. I can't think of anything better on a hot, lazy summer day.

 321 characters

Photo of twiggamortis420
4.69/5  rDev +27.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

12 oz bottle courtesy of CaptainRedBeard in a recent BIF, gracias! Pours a slightly hazed, light amber color with a large cap of creamy off-white foam. Retention is decent and lacing just ok.

Nose is malty and similar to the wonderful Winter Solstice. Some signature yeast bread and mild fruit aromas. Creamy and sweet. This beer, along with its winter offering, just smell damn near perfect to me...I love it!

Damn this beer is tasty, so creamy and rich. Smooth and silky sweet. Malt lovers dream, biscuity and caramel malt with no toastiness. Just a mild touch of bittering hops give it a short, clean finish. If I could get this in Tx, I would buy this by the case...are you listening AV?

 693 characters

Photo of blakesell
4.61/5  rDev +25.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the 12oz bottle into a weizen style glass.

Appearance- Beer pours amber and lightly hazy with a finger of head that quickly dies down to nothing across the top of the glass. Lacing is minimal and not really worth mentioning. A light ring of carbonation clings to the sides.

Smell- Toffee, sweet corn, and British malts come forward first then a light noble hop aroma. Caramel is deliciously thick in this cream ale and gives the smell a creaminess that is nothing like any other I have had.

Taste- Light and fluffy with just the right balance of malts and hops. This has just a light hint of buttered popcorn but it seems right in place and continues to improve on every sip as it warms. There's a light hop bitterness on the finish that rounds out the beer excellently.

Mouthfeel- Creamy, not astringent, smooth, lightly carbonated and medium light in body.

Drinkability- I could drink this one all summer, and if I had one summer beer that I could pick, this would be the one. Excellent job from Anderson Valley and I am eager to search out the winter solstice as well.

 1,089 characters

Photo of JuicesFlowing
4.53/5  rDev +23.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a shaker pint glass.

Look: Dark caramel color. A cream colored head recedes to a film, with light webby lacing.

Aroma: Sweet caramel and toffee. All malts.

Taste: Just like the aroma, the beer opens with a great sweet caramel, and quickly moves into toffee. It's deliciously much like a candy bar. Maybe only the slightest tang of a hop presence in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Refreshingly light and smooth.

Overall: One of the tastiest beers I've ever had. Reminds me of a Score candy bar.

 502 characters

Photo of brettski66
4.53/5  rDev +23.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Delicious. Favorite Summer beer this season. If you like cream soda and toasty, malty goodness without it being heavy and bogged down - this beer's for you.

 158 characters

Photo of sergio1va
4.52/5  rDev +23.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours to a copper brown color with a 3 inch foam head. A pronounced creamy aroma and flavor is definitely present in this beer.
Front profile is of sweet maltiness and even hints of taffy and chocolate. Very drinkable and very thirst quenching.
Great lacing for this beer.
The finshing profile is of sweet malt and caramel.

 323 characters

Photo of alk3kenny
4.5/5  rDev +22.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Wow not what I would expect from a summer beer poured this expecting light hazy citrus instead I got a beer poured copper amber a nice white head and a slightly sweet nose with a banana walnut quality. Upon tasting it wow different then anything I've had before definite caramel notes and backing great sweet fun different I love it.

 333 characters

Photo of pjwilson
4.5/5  rDev +22.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is a damn good beer, and very unique too. I really tastes creamy and figured it would be listed under cream beers. But it is very amber looking. got a sixer on a trip to the brewery.

smell: perhaps a weak point in the beer. faint sweet malts and vanilla. not much

Taste: ah yes. no other beer is quite like this. Tastes, well very creamy. vanilla seems to dominate the flavors here. there is little to no hop bitternense. this is not a overtly sweet beer though, nothing aproaching anything beligum. The people at the brewery told be that this is just their winter ale with less malt...but it tastes very different from that beer.

mouthfeel: creamy. like drinking milk.

drinkablitly: great for warm weather. very good ice cold but good lighly chilled as well. uh...two thumbs up...

 799 characters

Photo of DeGrog
4.48/5  rDev +22.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This beer pours like a 20 year old scotch! It's color seems to give it more gravity then is possible. The appearance is like a cousin's BBQ, clear with a hint of fog on the way. The smell of this brew is ... well let me just say that it reminds me of the honeymoon that I have yet to have. The taste, mouth feel and drinkability kind of speak for themselves, leaving my taste buds screaming for more. Buy this beer, Drink this beer as often as you can. It is worth it !!!.

 472 characters

Photo of Zorro
4.45/5  rDev +21.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a red copper colored ale with a light tan head.

Smell is full fragrant and grainy. Sweet malt and a bit of biscuit and floral and citric scents from the hops. Faint yeasty scent.

Taste is sweet and VERY malty. Lots of English toffee and vanilla in here along with a biscuit malt backbone. Hop flavor stays in the background as a bittering finish with just a touch of grapefruit flavor.

Mouthfeel is very good.

Drinkability is off the scale. This is one damn tasty beer! Assertive in all respects without being tiring, Best beer I has tasted all year. This one cost me $10 for the six pack and it is worth every penny!

 635 characters

Photo of Ruger_44-Redhawk
4.45/5  rDev +21.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Drinking this at the St. Paul Rodeo in Oregon on this nation's birthday. I like the all natural spice and this isn't like other flavored beers that are so syrupy that you can't have more than one. I really enjoy this beer. I've always considered this to be the cream soda of beers. I get Madagascar vanilla, caramel, cream, a little roasted malt, spice and a little almond. Even though I'm an Imperial anything guy, this is one of the best summer beers out there. And their Winter Ale is just as good.

 507 characters

Photo of mastodonj
4.42/5  rDev +20.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

it's taken me a while to figure out this beer, not sure I have yet.
it's a lot like the Winter Solstice which I haven't had in months
but still, I believe this is a warmer weather, more drinkable version of that beer.

deep tea color, not red but a dark amber
smallish head but lacing sticks around
smell is complex: malty, hoppy and caramel(?)

taste has a great hoppy but malty combination. the hops are
low key enough that the bitterness is very subtle.

feel has the "creamy" that lives up to the name

overall, this is a great beer. it is complex enough but mellow enough to keep you coming back for more.

 610 characters

Photo of Zraly
4.41/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Lagunitas mason jar glass. Rich, creamy foam sits atop of a clear amber elixir. Wonderful notes of vanilla, bread, and spice -- knocks the "smell" department out of the park.

Reminiscent of its big sibling Winter Solstice, this a fantastic seasonal for the malt heads among us. Creamy, slightly chewy, and a touch of spice...but oh-so easy to drink. Vanilla note is the dominant one. Bread and caramel round out the malt profile. Very little hop presence to speak of here. A bit more body than your standard summer seasonal. If you are familiar with cream soda and are a fan, then you've met your match in the beer world.

This is one summer seasonal I seek out every year. Drinking this like there is no tomorrow. An awesome summer session ale and a really unique seasonal. Aside from its limited release time, this is one of my favorites.

 857 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Summer Solstice from Anderson Valley Brewing Company
3.67 out of 5 based on 1,545 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    No fake news here. Get real beer content delivered to your doorstep every month.