Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale 2012

Reviewed by on December 3, 2013 in Holiday Guide

The Details

  • Brewery: Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

  • Origin: Chico, CA, USA

  • Rated On: December 16, 2012

  • Best Before: bottled October 2012

  • ABV: 6.8%

  • Ideal Temperature: between cold and cellar temperature

  • Style: American IPA

  • Rating: GREAT !!

The Review

Sierra Nevada has been making this an annual winter offering since 1981, using the first fresh hops of the attendant growing season, in order to convey the big pine and citrus notes that west coast American IPAs have become renowned for, and, I suppose, to reflect two of the strongest Yuletide essences, at least to me.

This 12oz bottle pours a slightly hazy, medium bronzed amber hue, with three fingers of rocky, chunky off-white head, which leaves some decent fuzzy cogwheel lace around the glass as it slowly sinks away.

It smells of somewhat musty citrus rind and pine tips, lightly toasted bready caramel malt, a touch of toffee, and softly sassy grassy hops. The taste is more orange and grapefruit pithy fruitiness, a wee bit of lemongrass, some leafy spruce resin, and a somewhat overmatched bready, almost crackery malt, the caramel morphing into a echo of lingering expectation.

The carbonation is mainly competent, being all that I want it to be, the body a sturdy medium weight, and smooth with that tacit acknowledgement of hoppy interlopers. It finishes off-dry, sure, but in a general, brown sugar sense, as the various hoppy notes play on and on and on.

I may have just given off an air of hop fatigue, but that’s just not the case. What is true, however, is my weariness of late of brewers who claim an all-satisfying balance in their special offerings, in the hope of a greater acceptance, I suppose, when nothing of the sort is actually the case. So, to summarize, this is indeed a pretty stellar IPA, and the classically wintery notes lie in the pine and citrus notes, as opposed to the more commonly accepted warming spices and pudding malt. Me, I’m going to go and peel a Japanese mandarin orange, while I sit next to my real Christmas tree.

Brady White

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