Sunday, November 27, 2011

Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale

6.8% ABV

In my undying internet “research” the name Celebration Ale has came up a lot recently.  I even saw on one forum that posed the question “What is your favorite Sam Adams beer?” where someone answered Celebration Ale.  When someone called them out that this was clearly not a Sam Adams brew they admitted their mistake and claimed they were so excited it was a Freudian slip so to speak.  With that sort of excitement I’m sold on trying this one.  This offering should be easy to find and it’s even available at Tipsy’s build your own six pack.

What is Celebration Ale?  I envision an almost barley wine-esque brew with some holiday spice mixed in.  The package tells me differently describing the brew as being a fresh hop ale with the label mentioning this being an IPA.  This is not what I think of as being a Christmas/Winter seasonal but the hop harvest season dictates when the freshest hops are available.  Hops are generally harvested in the Fall, so now is the time to get the freshest hops available.  Unless of course you grow them at home and are a better gardener than the FatCat.

The Celebration Ale pours with a big fluffy pillow of off-white head.  The nose has lots of fruit, citrus, and sweet grapefruit.  The brew begins with some very brief malt sweetness.  There is not much in the way of malt complexity, just some brief sweetness at the beginning.  Scratch the barley wine idea.  What comes next?  Big astringent hop character punches you in the mouth and seems to last forever.  The hop character is dominated mostly by grapefruit and finishes with hints of grass.  This brew has a very drying character which makes it seem much bigger than a regular IPA.  Celebration Ale is definitely not a barleywine and seems more bitter than a regular IPA.  The astringency of the bitterness is very prominent and overwhelms the palate. 

This brew was clearly not what I expected and I can’t say that I share other people’s enthusiasm for it.  On the other hand if you like hop bombs this may be your cup of tea.


1 comment:

  1. Celebration is a classic. Back in the day, before stuff like Hopslam, this was considered one of the hoppiest beers around.