Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale

Basic Info:
Celebration Ale
Origin: Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., Chico, CA
Style: American IPA
ABV: 6.8%
IBU: 65
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.


About Kim

Kim spends a lot of time writing, thinking about writing, reading, writing more and dealing with writer's block. When she's not writing, she might be found having a beer. She often combines the writing experience with the beer experience. The combination tends to lead to more creativity but significantly impaired spelling.
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5 Responses to Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale

  1. Sarah says:

    While I believe that your comment about people not knowing how poinsettias taste because they have never eatten a poinsettia is likely true, the whole thing about poinsettias being poisonous is a false belief based on one kid in 1918 who was found sick next to a wild poinsettia plant, and later died. Info from both the American Association of Poision Control Centers and the National Capitol Poison Center back this up. See the links below for more info. The best thing to come from this is that you can now offer a poinsettia leaf or petal to people who make this claim, so that they really can decide if the beer tastes like poinsettias.

    AAPCC about holday plants –

    NCPC post about poinsettias –

  2. Kim says:

    Killjoy 😛

    I kid. I did think they were poisonous, so good to know that they’re not. On the other hand, I’m probably not going to be the taste-tester on this one.

  3. elizabeth says:

    It was Laguna Beach. Saved By the Bell would at least have been clever and pop culturally literate. The show that The Hills spun off of is just sort of sad, and I know it.

    And we did sing that night. In fact, I think we worked through all of August and Everything After.

    And we (or, at least I) stopped drinking when I checked the ABV after I spilled beer all over the Laguna Beach paper.

    Icelandic film night was at some other point. Unless we watched it at the beginning of the night.

    Oh, I and I got the poinsettias thing not from taste, but from what I imagine they taste like based on what they smell like when you shove your face directly into the plant.

    • Kim says:

      I remembered the beer spillage, but I wasn’t sure that was anything that I should say. So I’m glad you did, because it still makes me laugh.

      It’s terrifying to me that it was Laguna Beach, because that means we were doing this in pre-The Hills times, which in turn makes me feel old.

      I think my sheer lack of clarity about the precise events of that night should say something about the effects of drinking three of these.

  4. Pingback: If they gave Ph.D.s in beer, they’d be calling us “Doctor” by now « Pop Smatterings

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