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 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 GeorgiaBeerMoose
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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Photo of BergBeer
4.05/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

6 pack bought at Bevmo! poured in a pint glass

A: Beautiful burnt orange/amber with an aggressive white peach head

S: Peach, oats, sweet malt, slight sour tang, slight biscuit, and orange rind! Smell great!

T: Sweet malty goodness, raspberries, orange peel, yogurt, and tons of oats! Taste like your are taking a bite out of a raspberry parfait! Really well done!

M: Light to medium body. Great carbonation that dissipates to a wet palate. Super refreshing!

O: Outstanding summer brew! So much flavor packed into this one but stills stays super refreshing and unique! I picked it up randomly and am super impressed! Bolder and has more complexity then most summer beers and really pushes to the limits of this category! Great beer!

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Photo of Craiger1967
4/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into Guiness PINT glassware.

Beautiful Soft Head, nice sweetish and hop scent greet me, nice hop and slight corn taste. Creamy mouthfeel, goes down smoothly with a nice little wop of hops near the end of the tongue.

This is my new favorite summer beer....Thanks AVB. :)

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Photo of constantine_272
4.11/5  rDev +12%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Dark copper with a slight orange tint with a slight haze. Well carbonated. Off white foam with low retention.

S: Slight sweetness with a dry hay smell. Toasted grain and a little molasses. Caramel, malt with a little yeast.

T: Starts of slightly sweet with honey molasses and biscuit notes, but fades very quickly. Brew turns crisp quickly and actually even a little sour in there with green apple and orange. Finishes with some warm cinnamon and allspice.

M: Thin and easy drinking. Finish sharp and clean with just about no aftertaste.

O: Really nice. Very mellow and smooth. Lots of depth of flavor, but not such a big heavy filling beer. Wish I found this summer beer before summer ended..

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

12oz can poured into a pint glass
A: Average brown color with a two-finger head that quickly settles
S: Sweet wheat, a hint of fruit
T: Light, malty, a touch sweet and a hint of fruit
M: Smooth, light, creamy
O: Refreshing enough on a warm summer's day but lacks the crispness and complexity I enjoy in many other summer seasonals

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Photo of mooseisloose
3.39/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

This was on a wicked Labor Day pricing of 3.99 at TW. For that price you can't go wrong so let's give it a whirl. Popping the aluminum vessel I get a huge waft of sweet malt and a very fine bubble creamy head forms. Pouring into my trusty SAPP this brew is a cloudy bright reddish orange with a very creamy orange tan head. On the taste the brew is very light and smooth. No evident bitterness just enough background to tone down the sweet maltiness. Slightly metallic bready and very refreshing. Not anything I would have paid the previous 9.99 a sixer asking price for but for 3.99 a sixer this hits the spot in the SoFla heat.

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Photo of Zach136
4.19/5  rDev +14.2%

Appearance: Super clear, deep ruby red, with an off white head and good lacing (4.00)

Aroma/Flavor: Very big notes of caramel and vanilla on the nose, a bit more subdued on the palate. Little to no hops. "Common-esque" yeast esters are light on the finish as well. (4.25/4.00)

Mouthfeel: Light bodied, juicy, refreshing by any standards, especially considering how dark and sweet it is. (4.5)

Overall: A very cool take on a summer style. Like you really need another wheat beer? (4.19)

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Photo of hrbuchanan
3.3/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

12 oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

Appearance: Bottle has an orange label and is oh-so-summery. The beer is a pretty amber with decent head retention, though it looks a bit cloudy for a beer that's not intended to be "unfiltered".

Smell: Vague smell of honey and malt, but not much there. No noticeable hop aroma, but nothing bad or "off" either.

Taste: Honey is the most prominent flavor. Nice, decently refreshing, though it tastes a bit thick and not super balanced. Not as easy drinking as I would hope from a blonde, but tasty. The flavor might appeal even to non-beer-drinkers.

Feel: Nice and full-bodied. Again, I would expect it to be lighter as a Summer seasonal, but I can't complain. I like it big.

Overall: The first few sips throw me off, but after that I get used to it. Not excited enough to buy it again, but it was nice. Can't complain too much!

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Photo of KYGunner
3.94/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Light coppery color smooth and silky, with a tremendously thick and well built head.

There's a sweet barley scent with touches of grain and nut. The aromas are slightly cardboardish but the sour mash, wet grainy, sweet bran scents accent the overall aroma.

The taste is all wrong but seems to be a good wrong. I get vanilla yogurt, slight strawberry, granola bar and sweet candied malts. A bit of caramel and toffee malts finish the taste and I find that this is a truly interesting an flavorful beer.

The feel is slightly summer but seems to be full and creamy and could even translate to a fall edition. I love most Anderson Valley beers but this is truly special.

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Photo of freneticamnesic
4.14/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A - Poured a reddish orange with a thick head that dissipated quickly

S - Bready malts, toasted sugars

T - caramely malts, lightly roasted sugary bread notes, hints of orange apples; finishes with light floral hops

M - smooth and crisp, just enough carbonation

O - My favourite summer beer so far! This is really well balanced and not overboard on the fruit/citrus notes, while still having an obvious summery, refreshing character.

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Photo of vkv822
3.64/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12oz : tulip

Lightly hazy, amber-orange-brown with a foamy, very light tan head.

Sweet, caramel, grainy malts with a floral hop backing. Unique without being overdone.

Medium+ body, mild foamy carbonation.

A very well done beer for the style. Pleasant sweet malts, with just enough hops to balance it.

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Photo of minterro
3.62/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Was unaware of this styles existed so I'll do my best from the style description.

A&S: Over-done 3 1/2 finger head (even when poured with ease) and dies to a thin layer fast. Leaves some lacing. Beautifully color to this beer: ruby red and bright orange mixed perfectly. Aroma is extremely sweet & malty. With hints of citrus (oranges), almond milk, and yeast.

T&M: Similar upfront to the smell: very sweet malts (borderline milk stout like outside of the roasty and chocolate flavors). Finishes with lots of breadyness (which I find similar to grain based ambers). Not as clean of a finish as I expected. Lighter then I imagined from the smell. Carbonation has a good presences without being overwhelming and stinging the tongue. Amazingly creamy in texture, medium to full bodied beer.

Overall: I'm very perplexed by this beer. It is both intriguing and ordinary. I would assume this beer wouldn't hit the spot on a warm summer day, but at this same time it has a faint resemblance to a summery beer or at least has that feel to it. In a way it reminds me of Bell's Christmas ale. It's a scottish ale, when normally breweries go with something like a spiced ale for their Christmas brew. I enjoy the change up/ thinking out of the box, but at the same time, if it ain't broke don't fix it. I have been impressed Anderson Valley's beer, and will continue to try their products, even though this wasn't what I expected.

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Photo of BradMacMullin
3.1/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.5

I wish Beer Advocate had a way for me to remind myself how much I dislike this beer without me skewing the overall grade. Problem is I am a dummy and I keep ordering this beer not realizing it is a Cream Ale, and I hate cream ales. For what it's worth, this beer seems to deliver everything this type of beer should. It's like a melted down carbonated Popsicle, although without the glamor. This review is to remind me to stop ordering this beer!!

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Photo of tdm168
3.71/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

A - light amber with a big, thick, foamy off white head that has great retention

S - cereal grains and caramel

T - apples, corn flakes, toasted caramel,

M - light to medium bodied, smooth, very well carbonated

This is a pretty solid cream ale. It has a bit more body than others I have tried but it is still easily drinkable. The flavor has a bit more depth than I'm used to in this style. I'm used to the simple cereal grains but the caramel malts and fruitiness (from the yeast I suppose) is very welcomed here. This is definitely a beer worth trying. It's also a nice change of pace from the lighter wheat beer offerings that flood the shelves in the summer.

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Photo of Ricklikesmibeer
4.11/5  rDev +12%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A= pours dark copper with thin light off white head. Clear with a nice amount of bubbles.

S= A complex mix of dark fruit, burnt sugar, and vanilla

T= a sweet blend of caramel, tobacco, warm vanilla while still keeping light and some what crisp with an obvious balance of dryness. Surprisingly refreshing for a sweeter beer.

M= creamy effervescence. Light and refreshing yet not dry.

O= A summer favorite, unlike any other beer cream ale or not. This beer has a profile of its own. While I can understand where some people will dis-like this beer I love its complex flavor profile and superior drinkability.

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Photo of patre_tim
3.91/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A: Dark Amber, cloudy with lots of fine bubbled carbonation, no head just a little whitish foam with a beige tinge.

S: Crème Brulee, caramel, burnt caramel, apples, phenol qualities, apple candy, light acidic fruity quality.

T: Very light, not hoppy but malty, somewhat water with acidic notes, apples, apple cider, quite dry with little sweetness. Reminds me somewhat of a Kellerbier.

M: Medium somewhat bready body, lots of fine champagne like carbonation.

O: Refreshing beer, a cream ale which is one I’ve had few of. Light and refreshing, great for a hot summer evening. Would pair well with lots of foods as it has very general flavour. I imagine it would go well with apple pie, or light summer sandwiches and salads.

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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.

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Photo of Jeffreysan
3.78/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12 oz can poured into a pint glass

Appearance: Pours a beautiful dark amber/caramel color with a half finger of white head that quickly dissipated into a thin lacing of foam that covered the top of the beer.

Aroma: Burnt sugar, caramel, malt, some faint floral notes, like clover of heather.

Taste: Wow! There’s lots of caramel up front. Then there’s the malt and some very subtle hops characteristics. There’s also some spice at the back end, maybe black pepper and ginger. This beer is sweet without being overpowering, crisp without being drying or bitter. This is a very nicely balanced beer.

Mouthfeel: Creamy, with some chewiness that’s not usually present in summer beers, or at least in the summer beers that I’ve had (especially this summer). There’s some nice carbonation present to cleanse the palate, which is good, as the sweetness could, but isn’t, be a bit cloying.

Overall: Damn, this is a really good beer! I love the caramel and spices that this beer possesses, and the creaminess. I’m going to have to have a few more of these this summer! Maybe more than a few!

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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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