This is just sad…this is one of the most-anticipated regular releases of the Christmas season (at least for us hopheads!) and it’s already almost gone for the year. And I bought a bunch! There seems to be a pretty substantial shortage in stock of popular seasonals this year. We saw it first with Oktoberfest biers from Germany (I bought in huge and y’all cleaned us out!) and Schlafly’s fantastic Pumpkin Ale (and all the other pumpkin ales, for that matter) sold out long before Thanksgiving…that never happens. Now we’re getting slim on all our Christmas beers (more on this later). But now…Celebration.
This fresh-hopped (i.e. hops are rushed strain from the fields to the brewery, rather than being dried, compressed into plugs or pellets, etc) IPA is classic Sierra Nevada. It’s brewed with two row pale and caramel malts and is hopped with Cascade, Centennial, and Chinook and comes in at 6.8% abv. It pours a just slightly hazed deep burnt orange-amber hue with lots of micro-sediment in suspension and a creamy pale beige head. The nose is classic West Coast, classic Sierra Nevada, and…well…classic Celebration Ale. There’s plenty of citrus, spice, pine, and a bit of brandied-fruitcake…it’s really nice stuff.
The palate is nicely balanced between sweet, toasty caramel malt and bitter, resiny, piney hops with a bit of citrus pith overlay and floral notes. It doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but it’s one of the few seasonals I buy every…single…year. We had one customer buy three cases, and I’m told by the vendor that they’re almost out for the season already, so yesterday I bought six more, and that may be about all we get for the season. Get ’em while they’re here! I’ll be honest: I’m not a huge fan of some of the trendier, newer things that Sierra Nevada has done in the last few years (the “Little Things” series, for example) but beers like this (and Bigfoot, and Narwhal, etc) are fantastic reminders are how good they are, despite their size.
This is well worth the $9.99/6pk price of admission!!