Sunday, August 11, 2013

Anderson Valley Summer Solstice

3.9
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 15/20
Chad9976 (939) - Albany, New York, USA - AUG 11, 2013

I poured a 12oz can into a mug. There was no freshness date. It cost $2.99 ($0.25 per ounce).

Appearance: Dark copper color, translucent with carbonation visible. Forms an average size, off-white, soapy head which mostly dissipates but leaves minor lacing.

Smell: Discernible notes of caramel and toffee and a general sweet maltiness, but nothing extreme.

Taste: I actually avoided Summer Solstice because most Anderson Valley bottles and cans tend to be out of code at my beer store and also I assumed it was yet another generic summer ale. My friend Alex insisted I give it a try, so I did, and now I’m kicking myself for not having tried it sooner. While there’s nothing particularly "summer-y" about this beer, it does have a pleasing flavor and high drinkability. I could drink this year round.

The palette reminds me a bit of an Oktoberfest and there’s distinct caramel, toffee and nutty flavors. According to the brewery’s website, it’s a pretty simple recipe using only three malts and a single hop (Bravo), but the can also says there’s "natural flavor" added. That might account for the vanilla and cinnamon flavors that appear on the back end. So yes, this is a sweet beer, but not overly so. There’s no cloying aftertaste, which makes it quite refreshing while in the mouth. A drinker-friendly beer that could be enjoyed by pretty much anyone.

Drinkability: While Anderson Valley Summer Solstice may not taste like the typical summer brew, it certainly drinks like one. The mouthfeel is on the thinner side, but there’s noticeable effervescence throughout. It’s hard to drink this in sips - I found myself gulping it down. At only 5% ABV there’s a lot of flavor here, and you could easily make the argument this beer is sessionable. 
Grade: 8/10