Summer Solstice | Anderson Valley Brewing Company

490 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

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Reviews: 490 | Ratings: 1,547
Photo of StretchZep
2.8/5  rDev -23.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.75

First sip was this is different. Half way through I started really not liking it. It is smooth, it is malty, but it has this annoying hint of bitterness that a first seems lemony but soon becomes vinegary! Almost no carbonation it is like a flat hard cider gone bad and I hate hard cider.

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Photo of sjones5045
3.8/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Home 6/12/15

Pours brown and little haze with a head burst but dissolves quick.

The smell is pleasant. Pick up some sweet like toffee and some nuttiness.

The taste is enjoyable. A little like a soda. Definitely a nutty caramel flavor. It's kind of like soda beer.

The one thing that really ruins this beer is the feel. It's pretty flat. Kind of low carbonation which I find to be kind of annoying.

Overall good beer but not one I'll probably see out after the six runs out.

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Photo of barczar
3.59/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Pretty dark as caramelly for a cream ale. Aroma is caramelly, sweet, and nutty.

Flavor reveals specialty malt fruitiness and underlying caramel tones that translate as toffee late. The fruity notes are fairly offputting.

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Photo of MUTINY
3.96/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into a Guinness pint.

A: Beautiful deep copper with a 1 1/2" white sea foamy head that dissipates on the double. Retention is meh, lacing is actually not bad.

S: Not massively aromatic, the most predominant note that I can detect is sort of a Christmas-cookie thing. There's a smattering of fruitiness along the lines of mango & the like as well.

T: Christmas-cookie, graham cracker, some tropical fruit & a bit of a yogurt note. There's some detectable spice here but I'm having a hard time pinning it down. It's just a hair yeasty as well. It's an interesting collection of flavors as per usual from AV - here it works out nicely & really shows some balance.

M: Fitting for the style, rich without immense heaviness. Carb is as it should be.

O: One of the better brews from AV in my opinion. I love how they committed to creating an intriguing, flavorful approach to the style with getting over-ambitious.

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Photo of Jojosaute
3.76/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A- a dark copper color, small head less then a finger, no lacing
S- definite malty tones. Nice and roasty
T- definitely adult cream soda taste. Little citrus. I really think this is super different. Not sure what reviewer mentioned when they said it tasted like domestic summer beer. I think it's could turn off some people with sweetness. But not me this is a great tasting beer. I think It could be a bit more carbinated.
M- a creamy mouth feel. Really smooth. Almost to smooth.
O- I really thought this beer was different. It's not going to be for everyone but it's definitely for me.

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Photo of utopiajane
3.72/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Hazy light orange upon amber. A great head of orange tinted almost tan foam that fell rocky and mousse like. Clung and left lace too. Nose is mild malt with a light citrus so faintly on the background. Like a lemon sugar cookie malt only the faintest. Malty but tart. Fruity with the earth of fruit peel and spicy from pepper and hops. Finishes clean and crisp, a touch thinner than medium mouthfeel and plenty of smooth lightly sweet malt. I feel whatever spices they added make it earthier.

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Photo of tlema1
3.75/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

L: yellow/gold with a thin head
S: malts, not much nose
T:Easy drinking, true to style, very drinkable on a hot day...has a cream soda feel to it
F: Light body, smooth
O: one of my favorites from AV

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Photo of MtnSoup
3.6/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Great example of a cream ale - my only gripe here (and it normally works very well for AV) is the use of spices seems a bit overkill. Don't get me wrong, I could crush many of these consecutively on a hot day.

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Photo of chinchill
3.77/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12oz can served in a lager glass.

Surprising dark body for style with a very good head and decent lacing.

As claimed, the flavor is "malty, and lightly sweet, with a delicate hint of spice". Plenty of caramel malts and very faint spicing that becomes a bit more obvious in the aftertaste.

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Photo of SmashPants
3.44/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Format: a dark brown 355mL bottle with a decent craft label.

Appearance: a clear amber-gold with fine carbonation across the profile. A reasonably thin white head lasts for quite a time.

Aroma: some heavy bread malts with an unusual fug. Okay.

Taste: better here - some bread and a touch of caramel, with some peach and a cream flavour. Pretty nice.

Aftertaste: the flavours linger well, particularly the fruit and caramel.

Mouth feel: This beer is medium in body with a medium carbonation. Quite smooth and creamy.

Overall: this is the first American Cream Ale I have had, and it is pretty darn tasty. A good mix of flavours with a great feel. I'm not sure it would do well specifically as a summer beer here as it is just far too hot, but I'll definitely take one every now and then any time of year.

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Photo of RyanK252
3.6/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Can poured into a BarrelHouse Brewing Co pint glass

A: Pours deep deep amber with a creamy light tan head that fades and laces nicely.

S: Toffee malt sweetness, a bit grainy, maybe a hint of vanilla.

T: Sweet roasted malt, a little caramel/toffee, a hint of vanilla, nice hop bitterness to counter, maybe some faint citrus and floral notes.

M: Medium body, moderate carbonation, creamy smooth.

O: Nothing super special, but not a bad brew,

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Photo of bmeehan
4.25/5  rDev +15.8%

Very good summer ale. I see now that it's categorized as a cream ale, and that's probably what made it so good--that creamy hint that makes it stand out.

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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

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Photo of Robloc303
4/5  rDev +9%

Poured out of a can. Nice frothy head, Deep amber color, with a mild aroma of ice tea and some spice. Tastes of vanilla ice cream, or maybe even a root beer float. Very creamy and delicious! A fabulous summer beer! This would pair well with just about any desert.

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Photo of hophugger
3.25/5  rDev -11.4%

Interesting beer. pours nice and a decent head. Aroma and taste are both light to me, but certain flavors dominate. The malt sweetnes come across strong and there is maybe a touch of light citrus. The mouthfeel is nice, smooth and creamy and would be a great fall beer......

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Photo of elNopalero
3.25/5  rDev -11.4%

This pours a copper color in the glass.
There’s a malt-forward aroma, to the disappointment of someone expecting a “lighter” beer for the summer seasonal. Same with the flavor—it comes across with a taste of light caramel, obscuring a hop kick which would lighten the beer for my enjoyment. Is this an amber ale? Nevermind, I read it’s labeled a cream ale. Still too heavy in my opinion. It felt more like a fall drinker, even in foggy San Francisco.

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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.

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Photo of ordybill
3/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a12 OZ bottle into a pint glass. Aroma- Strong malt scent with little else backing it up. Appearance- A nice copper color with a small white head. Taste- Strong malt flavor, totally expected a different taste, not bad just didn’t expect it. Palate- Medium bodied creamy feel, OK to me Overall- nice color, ok aroma and taste. I have had better from Anderson Valley

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.25/5  rDev -11.4%
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 +15%
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 +33.8%
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.

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Photo of fannypakit
3.38/5  rDev -7.9%
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 +1.4%
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 -16.9%
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 -3.3%
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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Summer Solstice from Anderson Valley Brewing Company
3.67 out of 5 based on 1,547 ratings.
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