Summer Solstice | Anderson Valley Brewing Company

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Summer SolsticeSummer Solstice
1,611 Ratings
Summer SolsticeSummer Solstice

Brewed by:
Anderson Valley Brewing Company
California, United States

Style: American Cream Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.00%

Availability: Summer

Notes / Commercial Description:
Also known as Summer Solstice Cerveza Crema

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

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Ratings: 1,611 |  Reviews: 499
Photo of BeerBeing
3.55/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: 12oz brown glass longneck generic bottle, multicolored label

Appearance: clear mahogany color, small tan head, small lacing

Smell: very sweet malt, vanilla and some hops

Taste: medium body, very creamy and smooth mouth feel, vanilla, sweet toasted malt, spices, mild hops in background

Notes: unusual brew, very sweet and velvetty smooth

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Photo of Zoh
4.3/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A very solid and tasty beer. I got one bottle as part of a sampler pack and have not been able to find this wonderful beer since. It pours a nice reddish-orange color with a thick head. Smell is sweet, a little caramel or sugar and vanilla. My first impression of the taste was marshmallows. The sweetness is not overpowering though and balanced well with malty undertones. Mouthfeel is medium. Overall a great cream ale, one I wish was available on the East coast.

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Photo of BrewMaster
4.1/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Hazy apricot and red color with a light tan head. The head thins in a few mintues to thin islands. Swirling revives the head nicely. Slippery lacing dots the sides of the glass.

Smell: Sweet maltiness, honey, some citrus, orange peel, and a faint dry hoppiness. A bit of toast and wheat bread crust.

Taste: Bready and sweet malt to start with a touch of sweet alcohol flavor. Floral and earthy hops break up the chewy maltiness with minimal bitterness. The malt profile is deep and complex and the highlight of this beer. The middle holds lots of citrus, particularly lemon, and a very mild puckering feel on the sides of the palate. The ending is biscuity and starchy with a slight toffee character.

Mouthfeel: Smooth and refreshing with a clean, light to medium body. Citrus flavor leaves a nice velvety feel on the palate.

Drinkability: Over the past few months this beer has become a staple in our household. I figured by now I should write a review on one of my favorite daily drinkers. This beer pairs well with grilled foods, fish, and pasta. All around this is a highly drinkable and well balanced beer. It is refreshing and crisp but also full bodied enough to pair with stronger flavors. Well done.

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Photo of bultrey
3.13/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

2nd review (11-9-2005): I'm going to have to knock a few points off of this one. I don't know if the recipe has changed or my palate has changed, but this thing is way more sweet and vanilla-y than I remember it being. There's alot of vanilla, so much so that I wouldn't even consider using the bottles that I don't want to drink for cooking. I still think it's fairly refreshing in the warm weather, and would be good for people just getting into craft brew, but overall, this just donesn't cut the mustard.

Original review (10-20-2005): Ever drink a macro and think "You know, the taste of this isn't awful? I just wish there was more of it..."?

Well, this beer is an example of that. It is such an easy-drinking, smooth, non-aggressive beer, that you could down a six pack (especially in the hot summer months for which it is intended) in no time. It is a slightly hazy golden coppery color, with a little caramel sweetness in the nose. The taste is more of the same -- a light honeyed or caramel sweetness that indicates the light roastiness of the malts, and enough hoppiness (not much) to keep the beer balanced and the finish dry enough to want another sip. This is your dad's beer, only better. I, for one, like it. NOTE: This would be a GREAT brew to start converting a macro swill drinker.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.3/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Mellow rustic orange with a coppery sheen. The head is impressive and is reason enough to justify the 'Crema' of the name. A rather fetching shade of orange-tinted ecru, it's as densely creamy as any you're likely to find on a summer seasonal. It develops a pie crust-like crimped edge as it sits and the beginning stages of lace formation promise more, and better, things to come.

The nose is both interesting and good. It's caramel malty with overtones of light brown sugar, or perhaps butterscotch, and crushed vanilla beans. I get tired of the summer seasonals that follow the same old summer seasonal blueprint (lemon mostly).

Summer Solstice is the best cream ale that I've ever had. Period. Thankfully, the flavor follows the nose pretty closely. This is predominantly a malty beer, but is still svelte enough to be easily categorized as an easy-drinking summer ale. There's very little hoppiness evident, as the style dictates.

Where this beer really shines is the amount of sweetness and the flavoring. Cream ales, as far as I'm concerned, need to be sweet, but not too sweet. They need, in other words, to be that 'juuust right' that Goldilocks found in the third bowl of porridge. Well, the sweetness of SSCC is juuust right. I'd love to know what spices, herbs or other flavorings were utilized. Whatever they are, they're different and wonderfully delicious. Vanilla is the only one I can identify for certain.

The sweetness, or at least the impression of it, is kept in check by a body that is supple and semi-firm, but isn't big enough to allow a sticky, lingering finish. Personally, I love big-bodied beer, but then that wasn't the goal here. Still though, this offering is as full-bodied as you're likely to find within the style.

Kudos to Anderson Valley for the vision and the skill to pull off a true original. A summertime cream ale that is, at once, flavorful, interesting and sessionable. If I was lucky enough to be in AV's distribution area, Summer Solstice Cerveza Crema would have a permanent place in my refrigerator. Very well done.

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Photo of woemad
3.97/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle picked up at Huckleberry's in Spokane for $1.29. Rather ironic that I'm drinking a "summer" beer on the first night of fall.

Poured a clear, dark copper color, with a moderate sized off-white head. Head dropped after a couple of minutes, leaving extremely spotty lace. This is the darkest beer I've ever seen that is marketed as a summer beer.

Smell is not what I expected at all. Reminds me of a vanilla cream soda, but with a mildly spicy scent lingering in the background. Way more interesting smelling than a summer seasonal beer usually is.

The vanilla cream soda carries over to the taste. Most of the taste is the mildly sweet vanilla cream soda flavor. The mildly spicy hoppiness is hovering in the background to provide a little contrast. A very mild dryness makes itself apparent at the swallow. While not the tastiest beer I've ever had, this is a pleasantly nice tasting beer, and is better than I expected.

This falls somewhere between light and medium bodied, and is somewhat creamy to boot (befitting it's name).

This is a pretty tasty summer seasonal. Next summer I hope to grab a few more of these. This is a pretty decent session beer, and is a good choice as a beer that is interesting tasting yet still a safe bet for those Bud swillin' friends that are scared of those "dark" beers.

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Photo of weeare138
3.67/5  rDev 0%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appears a deep red amber with a 1 finger ivory head that stays for a minute before fizzing out. Virtually no lacing is left behind.
Smell is of sweet caramel malt with a creamy vanilla scent coming from the glass.
Taste is of caramel malt, cream, and vanilla.
Mouthfeel is slightly chewy, medium bodied, smooth, along with low levels of carbonation. It's also slightly thin.
Drinkability is ok. a little too much though for a Summer brew. Seems like this is the Winter Solstice that's been watered down considerably.

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Photo of Wasatch
4.2/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark copper color with nice carbonation and a small head. Leaves a nice bit of lacing. Nice malty, spicy scents. There's a nice sweet taste, malty, with some orange notes. Medium Body. This is an awesome session beer, very easy to drink. When I first took a sip I knew this is a totally different kind of beer, I highly recommend this beer to everyone, to at least try it once, but I'm sure you will try it again and again.

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Photo of robertp1024
4.12/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Summer solstice is a nice name for this smooth clear copper colored ale. Poured a slight head, which had decent retention and lacing. The scent was sweet and spicy. Light fruits, such as apples and pears. Drink it cold. The slight hops flavor is spicy. Overall this is a nice beer to enjoy. Very unique blend of sweet malts and spice.

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Photo of sabrills70
3.82/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a nice dark copper color with a 1 finger head and pretty good lace. Wonderful aroma - tart apple with some toffee and sweet caramel malt. Taste is again tart apple with some toffee and even a bit of orange. Little hop presence. Its mouth feel is creamy and dry - very malty but not in an icky way. I don't consider this a refreshing beer but it is a very good brew. Pick some up.

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Photo of BeerManDan
3.8/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

When poured, it was a medium golden brown, with a little white foam and some lace.

The smell of spicy apple on the verge of pineapple filled the nose with a pleasant aroma.

The taste was a sour/tart apple flavor, with spices and hops, only when really cold did I get this taste. When warming, in the glass, the flavor turned to an uninteresting spicey sour taste with not much flavor. You have to drink this beer COLD!

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Photo of alexgash
4/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Rusty amber, dark--especially for a "summer" beer! I say good. Persistent, creamy, light sandy head. Smells of rich, sweetish cookie dough with yeasty, bready underpinnings. Light hop spice backing. Malty flavors up front: doughy sweetness and some spice (?). A little vanilla-y flavor. Turns pleasantly and moderately bitter with baking spice and yeast. Interesting and good. Medium bodied with a creamy feel. Not as full-bodied as the winter solstice, but nice, and not as vanilla-y.

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Photo of silver0rlead
4.1/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep amber with thick tan head, a darker cream ale than most. Aroma is sweet cream, orange and caramel. Taste is somewhat similar to their amber ale, but more malty with sweet cream and orange flavors with a lighter citrus hops attack. Mouthfeel was creamy and smooth with moderate carbonation, very drinkable and refreshing...excellent summer beer.

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Photo of TheLongBeachBum
4.1/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: Broken single which picked up yesterday during a beer trip in Fullerton. Simple 12 fluid ounce brown glass bottle has a metallic orange edged neck & main label just as the BA avatar. Labeled as ‘Summer Solstice Cerveza Crema”. The reverse label has some information about this Summer Solstice that makes for interesting reading. No listed strength or Best Before date anywhere, but I know that this is 5.6% ABV from the Website.

Appearance: Deep polished coppery brown with some dark orange thrown in for good measure. Dirty white head builds quickly, rich and soapy it seems to lather extremely well.

Nose: Lots of delicate Devon toffee, spices and sweet malts fill the aromas. Vanilla beans and melting butter mix with a light hop spice in the ending with a somewhat fruity twang in the lingering nasal finish.

Taste: Lovely spicy entrance, toasted malts melt into a bittersweet middle. The sweetness is linked in with the spices and it all balances nicely. This one is very smooth indeed, not a single flavor is out of place and the gradient of the profile of this brew is shallow, no surprises at all here. Very nice indeed.

Mouthfeel: The super soft velvety carbonation mixes in nicely with an incredibly creamy palate. The feel is cream-soda meets your favorite old fluffy blanket. I could fall asleep in this one. It’s a cuddly brew for sure.

Drinkability: Soft yet cooling and incredibly quaffable. The talcum soft creamy nature makes this tasty Summer Solstice one seriously attractive libation.

Overall: Lovely. I may venture to go the whole hog and pick up a Sixer of this one, quite the tasty brew, superb Mouthfeel and a lovely spicy finish. Worth seeking out whilst it lasts!

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Photo of sacfly
3.83/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark copper/amber color. Small off white head with small to medium bubbles. Smell has a hint of sweetness, very light. The taste is malty, kind of like a light bock type of flavor. Slight chocolate. Chocolate/vanilla flavor grows as the beer warms. Lemon aftertaste? Dark with no head… Not at all what I was expecting from a summer brew. A bit too thick and creamy… malty… to be a summer session beer. I could really see enjoying this more on a cool fall afternoon. Or in the spring after drinking imperial stouts and barleywines all winter. This is not as boring as most summer beers, just doesn’t fit with me in the heat.

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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.

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Photo of mntlover
3.55/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Picked this up on recommendation of beer store employee not something I would usually buy nor a brewer I Love but...

Pours a ligh brown/red mixture with a small tan head that falls to a small ring, very little lace.

Aroma is bready doughy malt light fruit with some grassy variety hops and hints of spice underneath. Some cream aromas underneath it all not sure what I mean by cream but its lightly sweat, and is all that is noticable after the beer sits a while.

Taste is creamy sweet, with bready malt underneath light orange peaks thru on the way to a spicey finish that has touches of grassy hops.
Not sure what a cream ale is suppose to taste like this is ok not something I would crave though.

Mouthfeel is a solid medium little to much carbonation but does not distract.

Drinkability is ok not bad. Hell never having a cream ale before it might be the best for the style, but it is a style I don't see myself trying to find again.

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Photo of RedwoodGeorge
3.37/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

[Purchased at the Anderson Valley Brewery last week so I'm assuming it's pretty fresh...]

Without a doubt a Summer seasonal - this one was made for a front porch swing on a hot summer night.

Pour is mixed - an attractive light caramel brown body with a surprisingly thin head even with an aggressive pour. Count to ten and there's no head at all and no lacing.

The nose is, uh, 'interesting' and at least a fair warning of what's to come. One whiff and there's no doubt this will be a surpringly sweet drink. All I could think of is vanilla cream soda - especially since most good cream sodas are brown.

The taste is as the smell promised: sweet. Much too sweet, in my opinion. I couldn't decide if ths was a cream soda flavored beer or a beer flavored cream soda. Besides the vanilla there are small hints of nutmeg, a light roasted malt note and just a teeny tiny bit of hop finish to keep this from being completely cloying. Some fruitiness similar to their Boont Amber - notes of apricot and plum compliment the overall theme.

Mouthfeel is certainly the highlight of this drink. I'll have to reconsider what I describe as a 'light bodied' beer because this one is much lighter than anything else I've tried. Not that being so light is a bad thing, in fact it's almost magical that they can make something that's mostly water but with only half the weight as it floats down your throat. Still pretty sweet and it leaves a bit of syrupy coating on the tongue. Surprisngly little carbonation (as the lack of head suggested) and yet still light on the palate.

Drinkable? I suppose... I can really see this being a good picnic beer, something to take to the beach with the hot dogs and chips. I had two non-beer drinkers in the room who normally find my IPAs or Strong Ales much too aggressive and both pronounced this a 'very drinkable brew' so it may be a good crossover beer for people unfamiliar with craft brews.

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Photo of jakester
4/5  rDev +9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I got this as a single at Union Jack's on the Manatawny. No friggin' date, (this is going to be my personal quest), but this was fresh.

Pours a beautiful clear deep copper with a beige, one finger head that drops fairly quickly. Carbonation evident. No lacing.

Aromas of caramel/toffee, herbal hops, spices. Very pleasant and inviting. Smells very clean.

Creamy caramel malt is the main flavor, but spices and just enough hop bittering balance this very well. Slight breadiness, herbal/grassy hops, and, I don't know, cinnamon/nutmeg? Definite spices in this baby.

Mouthfeel is like velvet. Incredibly smooth, slightly sweet, yet sort of crisp. Very pleasant tingle across the tongue from carbonation.

As a summer type thirst quencher, this would be a good one. You wouldn't think so after pouring it, but it's so damn smooth and silky.

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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!

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Photo of oberon
3.9/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep copper with a one finger fizzy-like head that is gone pretty quickly leaving no lace behind,lighter aromas on the malty side a touch of roastiness and some nuts in there as well.Malt dominated flavors lightly sweet even more so in the finish pretty grainy and lighter in the mouthfeel department.There is a spice in this brew that I cant put my finger on,Iam thinking vanilla the more I drink but not quite sure.A pretty good offering and highly drinkable good for the summer months for sure.

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Photo of WesWes
4.25/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The beer pours a ruby red color with a thick frothy offwhite head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a light, yet malty scent that boasts of crystal and roasted malts. It is sweet with a light hop aroma. The taste is great. It has a smooth, malty flavor that goes down easy and finishes sweet and creamy. It boasts of pale, crystal, and roasted malts along with some light hops. The mouthfeel is great also. It is a low/medium bodied beer with good carbonation. This is an excellent beer. What's not to like? It goes well with hot or cold climates; a good drinker.

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Photo of Reidrover
3.61/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

The ale is a nice dark copper, clear and with a nice sized bubbly off white head, that goes fast, leaving a good lacing.
I couldnt make out much in the way of aroma, pretty neutral..though there is a peppery hint if spice
Nice tsteing summer beer, its pretty malty, but not overly sweet, and the sweet is balanced by a nice spiciness..makeing for a balanced mouthful.
Nice on the mouth not as thin as i expected and very well carbonated.
Overall not a great beer, but a good summer quaffer..I took no time at all polishing off the single I bought. Enjoyable.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.4/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This unique, creamy, and lightly sweet copper colored ale has a beautiful, long-lasting head that leaves wide splashes and streaks of lace about the glass. Its charming, enticing, wonderful aroma is reminiscent of strawberry shortcake; and it's perfectly suited for a summer beer. In the mouth it's medium-full bodied, and creamy smooth across the palate with a moderate carbonation the just lightly tingles the tongue. The flavor delivers a sweet bed of vanilla-cookie-like malt that has just a hint of caramel to it, and a delicate yeasty fruitiness that's reminiscent of strawberries. It's low-level bitterness barely appears, and it's just sweet enough to satisfy without becoming candyish It finishes drying, with some residual fruitiness and a lingering note of vanilla. Simply put... wonderful!

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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.

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Summer Solstice from Anderson Valley Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.67 out of 5 with 1,611 ratings