Each winter I look forward to many things, like eating a ton of holiday food, going to the mountains for snow, and searching out my favorite seasonal beers. Sierra Nevada is a staple among the craft brewing world; yet to sell out (amidst a rash of recent buyouts) and still producing new magic like the Estate grown organic IPA, they haven't lost their touch. However, it's the return of their cornerstone seasonal ale that has me stoked.
Of course I'm speaking about Celebration, the must-have bottled conditioned fresh hop IPA they've been brewing since 1981. Most ales only attempt to mesh the sweetness of malt to the piney and citrus notes of hops, Sierra Nevada has mastered it. Chinook, Cascade and Centennial hops swirl among the Two-row Pale and Caramel malts to create both a smooth and complex taste. When poured, a medium to heavy head forms over the sun-laced amber and melted caramel-like hue of the nectar below. The first whiff is nuanced with a dank candied nose. Subtle sweetness hits the tongue first, followed by a bitterness that registers the rest of the way down. I know our household has already consumed more than a half-rack. Tis the season. Look for Celebration on tap and in the bottle during this festive time of year. 6.8% | 65 IBUs