What follows is the December 4th edition of my weekly column written for DIG Magazine.
By the time the calendar flips to December, shelves are typically already full of Christmas-themed items. The beer section at your local bottle shop or liquor store is no exception. Christmas beers are out in full force now, and there is no shortage of different styles.
While many Christmas ales are spiced winter warmers, Sierra Nevada’s Celebration Ale is a different take. This Chico, Calif. brewery celebrates the new hop harvest by creating an IPA using fresh hops, picked from the fields in September and October. For 32 years, Sierra Nevada has been brewing this ode to the fresh hop, and it has become one of their most popular offerings.
Celebration Ale pours a deep copper color, with a festive head. The fresh Cascade and Centennial hops shine through with an intense citrus and pine aroma, and also with a touch of caramel. The toasted malt backbone stands up to the bold hop flavor, making this a very well balanced beer. The hop bitterness is apparent, but not overpowering, in this medium-bodied ale. Celebration drinks much easier than the 6.8-percent ABV would indicate.
Celebration Ale is a limited-release seasonal, so don’t delay grabbing a six-pack or two. You can find it at most local grocers and on tap at Red Zeppelin Pizza.