I poured a 12oz can into a snifter. There was no apparent freshness date. It cost $2.99 ($0.25 per ounce).
Appearance: Beautiful mahogany hue; dark but clear with some carbonation
visible. Pours to a fairly large, off-white, foamy head which retains
and laces rather well.
Smell: Akin to a Christmas cookie with a mélange of light spices and even some shortbread aroma.
Taste: The thing about winter warmers is they tend to be cliché. Take a
fairly strong dark beer base, throw in a bunch of spices and you’ve got a
beer suited for the Christmas season and colder months of the year. Of
course, cliché doesn’t necessarily mean bad, in fact, in the case of
Anderson Valley Winter Solstice Seasonal Ale the result is a pretty darn
I’ll bet the base recipe for this beer is a Scotch Ale as it has a lot
of same malty characteristics. Strong notes of toffee, shortbread and a
hint of smoky astringency on the backend. Though the added spices and
flavors are the stars of the show. It’s difficult to identify any
individually, but there are notes of ginger, nutmeg, cardamom and other
lightly dry spices. There’s a subtle alcohol component to the palette as
well, imparting some sweet vanilla or even rum-like flavor. Little
bitterness per se (it is only 6 IBUs after all), but that’s because the
seasonings outshine the hops. Definitely an interesting and tasty
combination of flavors and exactly what you’d expect out of a beer of
Drinkability: Maybe it’s because I poured it into a snifter, but
Anderson Valley Winter Solstice Seasonal Ale seems like a bigger,
heavier beer than it actually is. Though 6.9% ABV is not exactly light,
it has the full body and robustness of an even stronger beer, actually.
The taste saturates the palate, making it difficult to drink in more
than a sip at a time. Ironically, the mouthfeel itself is on the calmer
side, with a fairly smooth texture. There is some minor alcohol warmth
on the finish, but it doesn’t seem out of place here.