Winter is upon us, as much as I have enjoyed the mild weather the last few days I am not naive enough to think we can get this lucky for much longer. The Winter Solstice for 2011 is not until December 22nd, but I decided to get a jump on it by enjoying a bottle of Anderson Valley Brewing's Winter Solstice Seasonal Ale for this weeks review. Believe me, I don't like looking Winter squarely in the eyes, but I'm trying to mentally prepare myself as much as humanly possible; what better way than popping open a bottle of this Winter Warmer?
Anderson Valley's Winter Solstice pours a lovely burnt amber color with minimal head and has an inviting spicy, dark fruity aroma. You've heard me speak about beers that can transport you to a place mentally by the taste or aroma; this one took me to a Thanksgiving dinner (as I enjoyed my pizza). I could envision enjoying it with some turkey, ham, cranberry sauce, and stuffing, and am confident that all would play well together. It has a malty, slightly spicy, flavor that is interlaced with dark fruits, chocolate, and caramel. There is not much hop character with the Winter Solstice weighing in at only 6 IBU's, but the overall taste of this beer will keep you from missing it, and at 6.9% ABV it will help with the chill in the air. Users of Beeradvocate.com score the Winter Solstice a B+ while their counterparts at Ratebeer.com bestow it with an overall score of 92.
This is definitely a brew that I'd recommend; I think that it very much fills the bill for a cold winter night. I feel that I could pick up a six-pack and enjoy the sixth one as much as the first without having to switch around to different beers or styles. So, throw on your Christmas sweaters, stare down Old Man Winter with a steely glare, pop open a bottle of Anderson Valley Winter Solstice Ale, and prepare yourself for all the holiday hoopla to come.
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