Anderson Valley Winter Solstice Seasonal Ale

Reviewed by on January 20, 2014 in Winter Guide

The Details

  • Brewery: Anderson Valley Brewing Company

  • Origin: Boonville, CA, USA

  • Rated On: November 27, 2012

  • Best Before: N/A

  • ABV: 6.9%

  • Ideal Temperature: between cold and cellar temperature

  • Style: Winter Warmer

  • Rating: GOOD !

The Review

An unusual serving for this sort of affair, a 12oz can, but one may forgive such a thing when it comes from this venerable Northern California brewery, set in the picturesque Anderson valley north of the Bay Area, whose employment of the native Bootling dialect is clearly evident on the label.

First off, the can pours a clear, medium red brick amber hue, with two fingers of puffy, somewhat chunky beige head, which leaves some streaky hanging lace around the glass as it evenly subsides. The aroma is redolent of heavy caramel malt, baker’s chocolate, sweet vanilla, indistinct sugary nuts, and a bit of fruity hoppiness. The taste is sweet caramel/toffee malt, brown sugar, more saccharine vanilla, weakened cocoa, a muddled array of savoury holiday spices, though nothing distinct enough to note, and lightly bitter citrusy, earthy hops.

The carbonation is really quite tame, the body a hefty medium weight, flirting with fullness, and dead smooth. It finishes still on the sweet side, the caramel, vanilla, chocolate, and masked spice doing well enough to keep things sane, drinkable, and desirable, as the extra ABV tries to peek in.

An enjoyable, and at the same time confounding winter ale – it tastes good, but it’s quite difficult to tell you exactly why, so sweetness, cake, and low-key spice it is. ‘Tis seasonal, this much I know, as one could easily put back a few more of these in the coming weeks.

Brady White

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