Saturday, November 12th 2011
(Anderson Valley Brewing Company)
This is a big review for us here at CraftCans.Com, it's the 200th review on the site if you CAN believe that. As this is a special review we decided to take it just a little bit further than the others by having it be a joint review. Russ and Trent will both be cracking open a can of Winter Solstice and sharing their thoughts together in this post. Cheers!
Anderson Valley's Winter Solstice is the brewery's second seasonal canned release, after their Summer Solstice, and their newest canned release to date - having just hit shelves in late October. The brewery also cans their Boont Amber and Hop 'Ottin IPA. Winter Solstice is one of only two Winter Warmers being canned in the US. The other being 21st Amendment's Fireside Chat.
From the Anderson Valley site:
"The holidays are a special time in Anderson Valley. The days are darker, weather colder, and foods richer. And Anderson Valley’s Winter Solstice Seasonal Ale is perfect for this time of year. Deep amber in color, with an inviting aroma of spice and nutmeg, it was made for the turkeys, cranberries, hams, and yams of the holidays. Winter Solstice Seasonal Ale evokes a crackling fire, drifting snow, and smells of home. A hint of spice and hop bite to balance out the creamy and smooth mouthfeel, and medium sweetness."
Here we go...
(RP) amber-red in color with a murky sort of appearance. Lots of nice bubble action streaming upwards and forming a thin, yet creamy, head. When held to the light this beer really has some vibrant coloring. Looks good to me!
(TR) deep, richly colored amber. Moderately aggressive pour results in a very big head that eventually settled down to a finger and a half high. We’re left with a dense, creamy head the likes of which I most often find with canned beers and rarely from bottles. There might be some science out there to back up my potentially biased, pro-can observation.
(RP) that first whiff really hits you with some sweetness reminiscent of baking bread, brown sugar, caramel and some dark fruits. I pick up some prunes and raisins, cinnamon and nutmeg as well. As this warms the aroma definitely comes on stronger.
(TR) malty nose that is beyond toasted but short of roasted, like some of those thin, light imported crackers you find in specialty cheese shops. A very modest hint of spice comes through now and then. Overall the aromas are very reserved.
(RP) malty and rich with some very interesting flavors hitting the tongue. It's not cloyingly sweet and it some hints of vanilla, orange and just the faintest bit of hops in the finish. Very smooth as far as mouthfeel goes, this is almost creamy in texture. No real spices in this but you almost expect something like cinnamon or cloves to be present. Quite tasty for a style that can vary quite a bit in flavor. Wait a second, this is close to 7%? I didn't expect that based on how easy it was going down! Now comes the warming!
(TR) Amazing! And how could I not smell what I taste here? Flavors of spiced pecans and vanilla swirl around and across the tongue. The pour released most of the carbonation and the few remaining bubbles introduce a nice, smooth finish. Mouthfeel is exactly how I like my cold weather beers – full, round, and warming. If I were asked to describe this beer to my less beer-adventurous friends I’d have them imagine the qualities they like in Lienie’s Fireside Nut Brown, multiply those qualities by a couple hundred and you’d have something close to Winter Solstice.
(RP) A nice addition to the AVBC canned family and definitely a beer that will see some action as the cold weather hits the country. Not overly strong nor too sweet - a solid brew that is certainly worth picking up to share with friends and family this winter. Cheers!
(TR) I really, really like this beer, and it’s a new favorite for me. As soon as I had my first I knew I had to get more. I can - and will - visit this one often this winter. Cheers to AVBC!
Anderson Valley's Winter Solstice is the only canned craft beer that has the word "winter" in it's name. The actual Winter Solstice usually takes place on December 21st or 22nd in the Northern Hemisphere and on June 20th or 21st in the Southern Hemisphere. This year, in the Northern Hemisphere, the Winter Solstice will occur at 5:30am on December 21st. This will mark the point in which the earth's north polar hemisphere is tilted furthest from the sun and in which the shortest day/longest night occurs.
Posted by Russ
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Labels: Winter Warmers