Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale

January 21 2011 - 2:39 PM

Christmas is over but there are still many holiday-themed beers out there on the market for you to grab and quaff either on tap or from bottles.  While visiting Guthrie's Pub in Lakeview recently, I spotted Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale on tap, a seasonal offering from the Chico, CA brewery that's most famous for its ubiquitous Pale Ale. 

If you are not a fan of the pale ale, don't let that discourage you from trying this.  The pale ale is simply a commercialized gateway to the world of bitter beers.  Celebration, on the other hand, is a far more complex and layered offering that is more suited to beer appreciators, but accessible enough for casual drinkers.  Let me digress quickly by stating that I cannot stress enough how high in quality Sierra Nevada's small production craft brews are.  If you see their barleywines or some of their seasonals, they are well worth buying. 

Turning back to Celebration, it has a light body and likely had a relatively low original gravity.  It pours a straw color with a minimal head.  It's not overly carbonated and has a light mouth feel.  Pine and maybe a bit of citrus from the hops tantalize the nose ever-so-slightly.  The first few sips showcase the beer's moderate bitterness, but this will not remind serious hop fans of a West Coast IPA.  A hint of sweet malt emerges upon further drinking and tames the beer's modest bitterness with a bit of a caramel-like flavor.

Overall, this beer is impressive and a great session beer.  Lager drinkers will appreciate its lightness, and IPA folks will nod its relaxing change of pace from other bruising hop adventures.  It is perfect for parties and you can find it in bottles at major liquor retailers.  Keep some around for the Super Bowl; it will be out of stock soon until next year.