Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Anderson Valley Summer Solstice

While biking through Williamsburg on an exercise oriented ride I came across a fairly new bottle/growler shop on Union at N. 8th Street call Beer Boutique. Naturally, I had to stop and check it out. The tiny shop has a great variety of craft beers in bottles and cans, mainly of American origin. They also have 10 taps for growler fills. They're not licensed for on premises consumption, so it's all to go.
I didn't see too many unfamiliar items, though I did spot one beer that I'd never tried before, the  Summer Solstice by Anderson Valley from Boonville, CA, north of S.F., by the coast. There wasn't much info on the can which would give an indication about what style it was. The can has a kind of cream-orange color, with their logo -- an illustration a bear with antlers. And there was the mysterious notation "ale with natural flavor added." Typically, any flavor added to the beer outside of the normal brewing ingredients is a red flag, but when the particular added flavor isn't specified... that can be dicey!
Beer Boutique in Williamsburg
The Summer Solstice has a orange/mahogany tinted deep copper color, like a dark Märzen (it looks to be about 15-17 SRM). The can must have still been agitated from the bumpy bike ride, because it gushed a little when opened, pouring out a huge, thick off-white head. The aroma was somewhat unusual -- sweet, malty, but also nougat-like! My guess is that they use honey in the beer, but who knows -- using nougat wouldn't be completely unheard of!
This 5% ABV ale is all about the sweetness and smoothness (only 6 IBUs) with an almost cream soda-like flavor. It has a fairly full body, as well. I'm not sure that it's the first thing I'd reach for on a hot day, but it is unique and tasty.

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