Summer Solstice | Anderson Valley Brewing Company

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Summer SolsticeSummer Solstice
1,601 Ratings
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:
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

Bros Score:
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Ratings: 1,601 |  Reviews: 495
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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Photo of Jason
3.79/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap at the Sunset Grill & Tap.

Dark brownish copper with a thin but steady head, clarity is fine.

Aromas of toasted grain and mild hop mirror the flavor, crisp wheat and bready ... very smooth. Suggestions of pears and vanilla come to mind. Quite malty but to big of a body for a summer brew. Very mild hopping though the palate does dry out in the end.

A tasty switch from the usual pale summer brews.

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Photo of IceAce
4.05/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Medium copper-colored body with outstanding clarity capped with a dense tan collar of foam...very dark for a summer-themed beer. Nose is light with swet malt and vanilla amid hints of toffee and nuts.

Entry is creamy smooth with barely discernable carbonation. Midtaste pulls a quick fake immediately luring the taster into thinking that this is a one-dimensional brew.


The complex finish is pure summer fireworks worthy of the best that the 4th of July has to offer. It begins with a very short hop intro, quickly followed by a deeply roasted malt thrust followed by a smooth vanila bean fade leaving just a wee bit of slickness on the tongue.

Possibly my new favorite Anderson Valley brew as it boasts all of the good things of an ESB without and of the shortcomings...

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Photo of donnebaby
2.96/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Couldn't understand this brew at all. Nice-looking but not overly creamy appearance -- for a "cream ale". Dark brown body. Nose is pungent vanilla, sweet and not much else. Buttery vanilla in the mouth -- like vanilla flavored lotion. Heavy. Yuk! Even, on the upper end of carbonated beverages, but solid feel.

Way over the top on the cream soda vanilla taste -- and way against expectations. A summer seasonal beer shouldn't be this dark -- reading the title I think a light cream ale, like a creamy mexican-stlye lager. And definitely not something this overpowering in taste and this heavy. Could barely get this down.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
3.65/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a pretty bright amber color that is at most lightly hazy. It is topped by a frothy tan head that quickly dissipates after a few minutes. Wow, the aroma is quite interesting, it reminds me of some sort of candy. Perhaps a mix of butterscotch and strawberry candies. The butterscotch definitely becomes the dominant note in the nose. Interestingly enough, I am not sure that this is entirely driven by diacetyl, I am usually quite sensitive to it, and this somehow seems different. Looking at the bottle I see that this beer has some "special" spices, so this must be where that note is coming from.

The taste is lightly sweet up front, and my first overall impression is that this is like drinking the beer version of cream soda. The beer is fairly light on the palate, with a finish that has a carbonic bite to it. I really do like the soda analogy for this beer, I am reminded of both a light rootbeer, and a cream soda, caramel popcorn would also be an apt flavor analogy. I am really curious as to what the spices were in this beer. Overall this is definitely and interesting beer to try, though I am not sure that I would want more of it.

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

I love cream soda...and this is cream soda in beer form...Appearance is nice...dark copper, but with little head. Smell is malty and vanilla..inviting! Taste is malt nad vanilla...very smooth with slight hops in the finish. Mouthfeel is smooth with a hint of dryness in the finish. Smooth on the palate...good drinkability.

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Photo of Gusler
3.92/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The beer evacuates the 12-ounce brown bottle a crystal clear mahogany color with a modest semi-creamy light tan head that evaporates rather quickly leaving a fine covering of lace upon the glass. Nose has a sweet malt aroma, hints of caramel, with a touch of vanilla; start is sweet with a fair to middling grain presence and the top light to medium in feel. Finish as a pleasant acidity with the hops pleasing in their spiciness, aftertaste dry and a nice beer on this hot 2nd day of June 2005.

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Photo of noob
4.05/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had on draft at Bukowski - Cambridge. Kind of a strange beer... but really good! Served in a shaker pint glass, nice deep copper color with a thick, everlasting, tan head.

First thing I noticed was a creamy, vanilla aroma. I am thinking this might be a spiced beer... Very drinkable, and similar to the aroma, there are cream and vanilla notes all over this beer.

Please keep sending fresh Anderson Valley beer to Boston!!!

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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...

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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.

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Photo of SacoDeToro
3.85/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Ahh, Anderson Valley, a brewery among breweries. I was actually at the brewery in Boonville in December of 2004 and I would highly recommend visiting the taproom and getting some of the freshest beer this side of the Universe. AV is an exceptional brewery made epic if you sample the beers on tap there.

But on to the real deal: the review of AVBC's Summer Solstice "Cerveza Crema."

The aroma of the beer is slighly malty with low hoppines and slight vanilla. The malt profile is slightly fruity with a hint of graininess. The mouthfeel is light for an amber colored as such as this, but finishes with a nice creaminess.

The hops are mild and combine with the yeast to form a "pseudo-Corona" flavor, which helps round out the refreshing quality of this beer.

This beer isn't terribly complex, but that's not what it's designed to be. It's still full of flavor and very drinkable on a hot summer day.

I never used to be much of a seasonal summer beer fan, but it seems more breweries these days have been able to strike the balance between flavor, drinkability, and refreshment than ever before. The Boonville addition is certainly one of them.

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Summer Solstice from Anderson Valley Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.67 out of 5 with 1,601 ratings