I’ve had my ups and downs with winter seasonals this year, but I may have just hit an all-time high with Anderson Valley’s Winter Solstice. Hooray! Finally we get a winter warmer that’s neither a glorified IPA nor a “mild” tasting bore! In business since 1986, AVBC is one of America’s longest tenured (and best!) craft breweries. I’ve had some of their other beers before, but Winter Solstice is by far my favorite. Although far from assertively hopped, it’s got a ton of flavor. A sprinkling of holiday spice (nutmeg, vanilla) is nice, but the sweet malt backbone suggests something more like caramel apple brown bread. Overall the taste is a delicious combination of toasty, roasty and sweet - with bitter hops cutting through on the back end for balance. I like the creamy, smooth mouthfeel, and of course every sip sends a nice “warming” sensation straight down to the belly. I could drink this all day. If you, like me, have been a little disillusioned with winter warmers, give AVBC a shot.