In a time where craft and micro breweries are popping up all over the map -- even in Airway Heights -- it's easy to forget about some of the old masters. Like Sierra Nevada, for example. Their Celebration might possibly be the best seasonal ale you will sample this winter.
This is an IPA that will punch you and laugh in your face after the fact. In fact, the first whiff of it is a slap itself. The hops (almost) literally grabs you by the nose to pull you in. Sure, there are hints of citrus and spices too, but it's obvious you're in for a Hops VS You situation here.
When it hits the mouth the true battle begins. Hops are jumping all over the place. Yet, surprisingly enough, just when you think the sucker-punch will hit you, the flavors mellow out. The hopiness pushes you to the limit, but does not exceed it. And as the hop flavor mellows, you feel the gentle flavors of spices and orange carefully massage your mouth back into shape, preparing you for the next sip.
The balance sets in as a surprise, and a happy one at that.
At 6.8% the Celebration can probably get a bit too rowdy if you kick back too many, but really, this is a sipping beer, and one that goes perfectly with the cold weather at that.
Sierra Nevada deserves your respect, and Celebration should have a spot in your beer cellar.