What better way to kick off the year of beer than with a little Celebration? I have a special place in my heart reserved for winter seasonal beers and Sierra Nevada's Celebration has always topped the list with it's hoppy profile and winter-inspired art (at the end of the day it's all about flavor, but let's be honest... style doesn't hurt).
IPA with a little extra malt for color. This year, Sierra Nevada states it proudly on the label, calling it 2010 Celebration Fresh Hop Ale... and hopped it is!
I had the fortune of having a six-pack of this beer (among with several others to be reviewed in the upcoming weeks) brought straight from the Sierra Nevada brewery as a Christmas treat. After a nice Greek pizza for dinner, I cracked open a bottle, poured it into a snifter and sat by the fire.
Poured into the glass, Celebration had a honey-amber hue with some orange/red tints and presented a head that was light in density but long lasting and clung to the sides of the glass. Throughout the ten minutes of consumption, the ale maintained it's initial light effervescence, and never lost a thin layer of head. The aroma was equal measures grapefruit and pine without being cloying or overly-aggressive.
The taste, as in years past, was classic BIG Pacific Northwest IPA. The hops certainly took centerstage when they first hit my tongue, delivering on the olfactory promise of big citrus and Christmas trees. This was followed by a pleasing, if extremely subtle, caramel-malt taste and faded into a lingering bitterness of grapefruit rind. Celebration was a medium-bodied beer with a slightly sticky mouth-feel that was offset by the effervescence, but had staying power and lingered long after my last sip.
All in all, Sierra Nevada Celebration continues to deliver for beer lovers who embrace hops and are looking to keep warm during the winter months.
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