Anderson Valley 'Winter Solstice' Seasonal Ale

Anderson Valley Winter Solstice Ale 1
Anderson Valley Brewing 'Winter Solstice' Seasonal Ale. 6.9% abv. 6 IBU. Ruby-amber color, hazy. Finger of creamy tan head. Good retention and moderate lacing. Head falls to a reliable collar. Nose of tall malt. Rich caramel emerges as the temp rises. Front taste of sweet malt, caramel, back end of bright spice, nutmeg, mild cloves. Aftertaste of brown sugar, slightly roasty malt, bittersweet herbal, spice on the sustain. Medium body. Mouthfeel is warm, thick, sticky, sweet finish.

This is an outstanding winter beer, one that's heavy on malt yet moderate on the usual winter spices. It comes across like a dessert beer with its stick mouthfeel and warm brown sugar ribbons throughout, its base flavor spawning a summer spinoff, the excellent Summer Solstice. Both beers are unique in their respective categories, defying and complying with expectations.

I first had Winter Solstice back in 2004, around the time it first hit store shelves. It made a splash as one of the first winter warmers of the new craft beer movement. It was my first and certainly not last beer from Anderson Valley. Strongly recommended, particularly if you enjoy heavy malt taste with a pinch of spice.

From the brewery:

"Winter Solstice is our take on the classic style of 'winter warmer.' Boasting a deep amber hue and rich mouthfeel, its creamy finish will lift your spirits. Hints of toffee, spice, and caramel tease the senses making this the perfect ale to share with friends and family during the cold days and long nights of winter."

Anderson Valley Winter Solstice Ale 2

Anderson Valley Winter Solstice Ale 3

Anderson Valley Winter Solstice Ale 4