Beer of Summer #1 – Anderson Valley Brewing Summer Solstice


The first canned brew in our search for the the perfect summer brew is Anderson Valley Brewing‘s Summer Solstice.  And let’s say our search will continue after this one.

AVBC’s Summer Solstice meets all of our summer brew requirements in terms of price, packaging, and proof but this wasn’t as refreshing as I would have liked it to be and the taste was …. well …. unique.

Before I give you my take here is what AVBC had to say:

“This copper colored ale is smooth, malty, and lightly sweet, with a delicate hint of spice for that oh-so-drinkable, extra velvety flavor. The character is lighter in body than its cousin, our wildly popular Winter Solstice Seasonal Ale. This is a silky, creamy dream, perfect as a warm weather beer. But why call it Cerveza Crema? Two reasons: One, this beer has become a favorite among many of our Hispanic friends, so it’s named in their honor. Two, it sounds cool, and cool is what you want when its hot. Serve at 40 to 45 degrees Fahrenheit for the most optimal flavor and enjoyment. ¡Salud!”

And the specs:

  • Appearance:  Poured deep clear copper with an energetic 1″ head
  • Aroma:  Very light aroma with just hints of caramel and floral notes
  • Taste:  Sweet and creamy with an unusual mix of flavors and a weird finish/aftertaste
  • ABV:  5.6%

It’s rare that I can say a beer surprised me with something I have never tasted in a brew.  Usually I get hit with a prominent flavor but still it’s a flavor I’ve tasted before.  This beer surprised me.  It’s flavor is like they made a light amber ale and then stuck a Creamsicle in it.  I guess the “with natural flavors added” tag on the can should have been a tip off that the flavor would be something different.  While I usually embrace the “different” sometimes different is not good … this is one of those times and I don’t think this beer will make it to the finals in our summer brew search.  G-lo and LimpD tasted this one with me and I am sure they will add their comments below.

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If you have had this beer let us know what you thought and keep watching “It’s Just the Booze Dancing” for more canned summer beer reviews.  Coming up we have:

From Sly Fox:  Phoenix Pale Ale & Pikeland Pils

From Butternuts Beer and Ale: Hennieweisse Weissebier

From 21st Amendment:  Hell or High Watermelon

From Avery: White Rascal

From Boulder: Hazed and Infused

Plus maybe some others listed in our Great Summer 2011 Beer Search post and suggested by readers (as we try to source the canned versions from our local brew merchants).

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30 thoughts on “Beer of Summer #1 – Anderson Valley Brewing Summer Solstice

  1. This one started off ok, but then the finish and eventual aftertaste was just gross. I believe I said it tasted like a wet piece of Strohmann’s Whole Wheat bread. Not very good at all.

  2. Spice in summer beer? Interesting. Sorry it was kind of a bomb. Better luck next time. I don’t think I’d be diggin creamsicle either.

      • I found this and the Barney Flats Oatmeal Stout in bottles. Do you think the Summer Solstice could be better in a bottle? Should we give the Barney Flats Oatmeal Stout a try?

      • I don’t think the packaging would change the taste of the Summer Solstice but I’ll give the Oatmeal Stout a try.

      • Research? LimpD and I drink to forget the pain of our failing bodies. If we are doing this for research we should apply for a research grant or something. Do they give a Nobel prize for beer or Whisk(e)y research??

      • Right. Like I said… research. If the NIH will give out money to study hangover cures (http://bit.ly/ejp9bi), then why not give out money for an “alcohol as an anesthetic” study? Yes, excessive alcohol consumption will eventually destroy your liver, but so will a countless number of FDA approved prescription drugs, and they’ll do it in a much shorter time, and they aren’t nearly as much fun and delicious as a glass of whisk(e)y or a bottle/can of beer.

        • And, where is the fun in blogging about the benefits of Tylenol or Nuprin (“Ah, Nuprin: little, yellow; different”). I find a nice session of beer or whisky has just as much “medicinal” power and is a lot more fun.

  3. Sad. I love Anderson Valley. The Summer Solstice is usually my gauge to let me know summer is here. I love this beer, but it doesn’t generally fit into the summer-style. It’s a bit thicker and creamier, which makes it seem more like a winter beer (their Winter Solstice is phenomenal). You’ll definitely find better summer-style beers (something crisper, slightly citrusy), this one doesn’t really fit that bill.
    Definitely try the Barney Flats. I still consider it one of the best oatmeal stouts I’ve had.

    • I am definitely not giving up on AVBC just yet. The Summer Solstice doesn’t fit the bill as a refreshing summer brew but I am up for more of what AVBC has to offer. The Summer Solstice was just weird for a summer brew … thick and creamy is not what I am looking for on the beach or after cutting the grass.

    • After reading some of the comments regarding the Summer Solstice, I’m beginning to think there may have been some freshness issues with the six pack we had. I think we will give it another try along with the Barney Flats.

      • If you want to that’s fine. My second try at this one was better but still not great. When you compare this one to the others we are considering I find that a fresher version of this brew would be hard pressed to beat a beer like the Dale’s Pale Ale. It’s just too creamy and “flavored”.

  4. G-Lo and I had an abbreviated session and tried the Summer Solstice out of a bottle. It was decidedly different than it was out of the can and did not have that odd aftertaste that G-Lo had commented on earlier. So, after a second try, I would say that while it was better than it was out of the can, I don’t know if I would say it was better than just okay.

    • Even though it was after 12AM by the time the session started, I still had some taste buds left and would agree with your reassessment of this beer. Better in the bottle, but still not great.

  5. Bunch of haters….AVBC Summer Solstice is the shit! Hands down my Favorite hot weather beer. On a hot day it goes down easy. So creamy and silky….Delicious!! Personally I think it tastes better out of the can. Dont listen to these haters, go buy some and try it yourself

    • Not a bunch of haters just diligent researchers that found the AVBC to be a little lacking. We really do want to like everything we find, unfortunately some beers are better than others. This was one of the others.

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