Throwback Thursday: Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. Celebration Fresh Hop Ale


Here we have a beer from one of the earliest craft beer breweries in the US, Sierra Nevada, in Chico California, and soon to have a brewery here in the mountains of North Carolina. This is the winter/Christmas seasonal Celebration, 6.8%ABV. This is fresh hop ale, so that is using fresh hop not dries pellets of hops like in some IPA’s. This is also known as a wet hop. This ale was created in the winter of 1981 and always has the year on the neck label. Sierra Nevada uses whole-cone American hops in this fresh IPA. This is my first time having this, but my second Sierra Nevada beer. Celebration pours a nice rich amber color with a light tan head five-finger head that just sticks around forever and makes such massive lacing around the glass. I did find some light coming through the glass with a small amount of carbonation there. The aroma of Celebration is big pine needles with a big citrus fruit like grapefruit, orange, and some pineapple. There are orange and grapefruit juice. This just has that classic west coast fresh IPA aroma to it. This is just a very nice smelling IPA. The taste on Celebration is amazing, with a big grapefruit hit at first with a nice orangey/orange juice flavor right behind that. There is a little pine needle taste there too, but it’s a bit faint. Yes, there is hop bitterness thereto, but it’s more of a citrusy and slightly less hop plant-like. The finish on this is clean a bit fruity and slightly hoppy but does finish nicely. The aftertaste doesn’t linger too much just enough to be enjoyable with a piney pineapple, big grapefruit, and a little orange. Celebration has a great balance between piney and citrus hop aromas and flavors, and it wowed me. So this is getting an A from me. This is a good example of a classic fresh hop ale/IPA. Sure it isn’t what you expect from a winter beer, but hey it’s something different for the winter season and it is great. Yeah, it could have been a little more on the fruit or hop flavors to make it an A+, but not a whole lot could be done. This is a near perfect beer. I love this and highly recommend this! So go out and get it before it is gone. Cheers! Please enjoy responsibly!

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