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Summer Solstice | Anderson Valley Brewing Company

482 Reviews
Summer SolsticeSummer Solstice

Brewed by:
Anderson Valley Brewing Company
California, United States | website

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
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Reviews: 482 | Ratings: 1,515
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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Photo of Badger6
3.65/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12 oz can into a pint.

Body is a medium amber color, with a nice creamy head that recedes into a thin layer with a decent ring at the edge. Some watery lacing. Smells very malty with a nice cream ale character in the aroma, but nothing complex or unique. Tastes malty sweet, sort of cloying at the finish. Medium body, with decent carbonation. Slightly oily feel, not dry at all. Overall, a nice example of a cream ale, but nothing that is cementing this to my brain as a must have if I see it on a tap. Seems very sessionable, and it comes in cans...perfect for summer.

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

A: Pours a clear copper in color with light amounts of active visible carbonation streaming from the bottom of the glass and some amber + peach highlights. The beer has a finger tall creamy light beige head that reduces to a large patch of medium thick film and a thin ring at the edges of the glass. Moderate amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate aromas of caramel malts with a hint of sweetness along with some very light notes of vanilla and spices.

T: Upfront there is a moderate flavor of toasted and caramel malts with a light amount of initial sweetness. That is followed by light notes of vanilla and some light spicy hops which contribute a light amount of bitterness that does not linger at all.

M: On the lighter side of medium bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Creamy and smooth.

O: Easy to drink and sessionable with the rather modest ABV. Refreshing and a great beer for a warm spring or summer evening.

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Photo of BrettMRogers
3.37/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Not a bad little beer, drank it on a nice evening on a roof top bar. Didn't feel like the beer had much character or distinctive flavor. Never had a cream ale before to my knowledge. Good sensation in the mouth but the overall taste and smell isn't anything special.

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Photo of Karibourgeois
3.5/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Clear amber pour with an off-white one finger head. Body has a light toasted flavor with the caramel coming through strongest. Can also taste bread, malt and candy sugar. Finishes sweet...maybe just a touch too much.

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Photo of Foyle
3.47/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance—pours with a large creamy 2-3” head that settled slowly leaving light lacing. Copper in color. Very pretty in the glass!

Aroma –toasted grains and sweet malts,caramel/toffee, maybe a hint of hop spice

Mouthfeel – watery, sweet and sticky, no detectable hop bite. Very easy drinking.

Flavor—sweet! Reminds me of a caramel candy, but with just a enough heavier malt character that it doesn’t become overly sweet.

Overall— For a summer thirst quencher/session beer it is very good. In cold weather it would probably not be nearly as good. My biggest concern with Summer Solstice is that it is too sweet-- I only had one can to sample, but the sweetness so dominates the flavor that I am afraid more than 1 or 2 of these might overwhelm the palate.

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Photo of Tony49er
3.44/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Serving Type- From a bottle poured into a pint glass

Appearance- Light reddish golden color, thick white head with aggressive pour, no alcohol legs

Smell- Caramel, sugar, bread malts, cream soda nose

Taste- Caramel, cream soda like, toffee, sweat malts, very refreshing its one of my favorite summer seasonal beers EVER love this beer

Mouthfeel- Light and refreshing , sweet and great mouthfeel

Overall- An A+ summer beer I have not had one bad beer from Anderson Valley and this beer as well as their Winter Solstice I look forward to ever summer and winter...But if you have not had this beer you should grab a six pack of it for sure...CHEERS

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Photo of secondtooth
3.43/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from can into Oskar Blues pint glass a semi-cloudy amber, with huge off-white head. No discernible lace.

Nose is nicely toasted grains and malty. Kinda sweet, too. Maybe a slightly aged can?

Taste is smooth and malty-sweet, with plenty of toasty grain flavors. This is an easy-to-drink beer, light and flavorful. A solid and worthy warm weather brew.

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Photo of seand
3.49/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a medium amber color with a small amount of off-white head. A ring around the edge of the glass retains, along with some surface film, leaving a few spots of lacing.

S: Smooth and malty; a nice cream ale aroma that fits right in the style.

T: Medium malt sweetness up front, leading into a a higher sweet note, edging on cloying, towards the finish.

M: Medium body, medium carbonation.

Overall, not bad, but not exceptional. It general fits pretty easily inside the "cream ale" definition, even if it's an above average version of the style.

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Summer Solstice from Anderson Valley Brewing Company
83 out of 100 based on 482 ratings.
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