Name: Celebration Ale
Origin: Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., Chico, CA
Style: American IPA
I drank this: poured from a bottle
that I liberated from work when I realized we were down to three single bottles and no six-packs, that Old Chicago didn’t have any, and that if I didn’t grab the said bottles I’d be Celebration-less this Winter, panicked, and bought the beers
Winter wouldn’t be Winter without Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale. It’s been a yearly tradition ever since the semester-ending paper grading session wherein a friend of mine and I got a six-pack and drank our way through part of it (warning: *always* check the ABV on a beer you’ve never had before). We noticed something was wrong when we realized that one of us was contemplating making a Saved By the Bell* reference in explaining to a student why student was wrong on some trivial point or other of pop culture. Perhaps needless to say, we stopped drinking and grading
or at least we stopped grading and then we definitely rechecked the papers the next day.
This particular friend was also the first of two people to tell me that Celebration Ale tastes like poinsettias. Admittedly, I can kind of see where they’re coming from (even if they’re wrong, because they can’t know what poinsettias taste like, because poinsettias are poisonous) – this stuff, as the internet would say, has a flavor. But poinsettias adorn the label. That’s probably where the association is coming from.
Mostly, this beer is hoppy. Like, HOPS. Fresh hops, actually.
The Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale is a lovely cloudy amber color with a ring of white head clinging to the glass and a bright grapefruit scent. It’s a beer about resin in a lot of ways – the initial flavor is a very resinous grapefruit-hop flavor, and the aftertaste is all warm piney grapefruity resins. This is one of those beers where I’m perfectly aware – in a logical sense – that there are malts here, but I don’t really notice them and I don’t care. The hops are the point; the malts exist purely to provide a backbone for the magical happy hoppiness. To sum up: if you’re a certified hop head, you’ll love this stuff. If you’re not (or if you’re not a fan of Cascades), you’ll probably end up agreeing with the “this tastes like poinsettias” crowd.
If you think this tastes like poinsettias, awesome. More for me.
*Actually, when I think about it, I’m not sure if Saved By the Bell was the show that came up or not – if it wasn’t, it was certainly something of that ilk. Also, there may have been singing of Counting Crows songs.** And also possibly another discussion of 101 Reykjavik – a film about Icelandic lesbians that we’d watched at some point earlier in the semester – but that may have been a different night.***
**With memories like this, it should be clear why I was so panicked about making sure I had some of this beer this year.
***Grad school is just kind of like this.
What I’m saying is don’t go.