Celebration Ale (2007)

Sierra Nevada Celebration AleWhen it comes to classic American Christmas beers, it’s hard to beat Sierra Nevada’s Celebration. It’s one of the Old Guard, brewed since 1981. I’d even go so far as to say if there was a Top 10 list of American seasonals, this would be on it.

At 6.8% alcohol by volume, it’s not too strong—but then, it doesn’t have to be. To the notes:

Appearance: Clear orange with gold angles. Two fingers of creamy light tan head, slowly falling, leaving nice lacing behind.

Smell: A wash of piney hops floods out of this beer—lots of resin and powdery bitterness in the nose. Very nice.

Taste: Intensely hoppy—full of Cascade citrus and floral and lots of resin and pine. Malt is crisp and slightly caramelly and just perfect for this style of IPA. This is an American IPA done right.

Mouthfeel: A bit thin—shy of medium-bodied—but the hop bitterness leaves a huge coating/aftertaste that’s almost minty. Very nice.

Overall: Take note… this is a beer that schools other American IPAs on how it’s done.

On BeerAdvocate, it scores a letter grade of A- ("excellent"). On RateBeer, it scores 3.79 out of 5 and is in their 96th percentile.