Review: Summer Solstice, Anderson Valley

Summer Solstice
Anderson Valley Brewing Co. — Boonville, CA

  • Style:  Cream Ale
  • Bitterness:  4 IBU
  • ABV:  5.0%
  • Malts:   Not specified
  • Hops:  Not specified
  • Sampled:  12 oz. can

Description:  "Summer Solstice Seasonal Ale is not just your average summer seasonal. This unique copper colored ale is smooth, malty, and lightly sweet, with a delicate hint of spice for that oh-so-drinkable, extra velvety flavor.  As with all of our products, Summer Solstice Seasonal Ale is never sterile filtered nor heat pasteurized." — Anderson Valley Brewing Co.

Random thoughts:  This is the sixth beer I’m tasting as part of my series on summer seasonal brews, and only the second cream ale I've profiled.

The tasting:  Copper in color, clear, with a tan head that dissipated quickly. I love the color—this beer is beautiful in the glass.  Aroma of caramel malt and light grassy hops.  In flavor, the caramel malt is dominant, but there's a bit of sweet molasses lurking beneath.  There's no hop bitterness. Summer Solstice is medium bodied with light effervescence.  After the beer warmed up, I noticed a touch of vanilla in the finish.

Rating:  4 star.  Really Good!  I want this again!  I haven't tasted many cream ales, but I was definitely not expecting this.  Summer Solstice is a malt forward, medium bodied, minimally hopped brew that reminds me more of of a cool fall evening, than of a hot summer day.  Regardless, it was a pleasant surprise and a nice change a pace from the lighter beers I've tasted recently.

Have you tried Summer Solstice?  Do you have a favorite cream ale? 

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