Friday Brew Review – Celebration Ale

Celebration Ale

It’s a celebration, bitches!

The fact of the matter is that we are officially one week away from Christmas, which means it’s okay to celebrate. Unlike other holidays, Christmas cannot be a month-long extravaganza. Fuck Black Friday. Fuck making popcorn balls the second week of December. Fuck “Twelve Days of Christmas,” seven are perfect. The best way to rock Christmas is to save up all of the joy/cheer/goodwill/tolerance for our mediocre culture you have and then spend it throughout the course of seven glorious days; any fewer and you run out of time to do it all, any more and you run the risk of fatigue.

Knowing that today marks the first opportunity to celebrate Jesus’ birth friendship and good vibes, I wanted to sample a likeminded brew. The trip to the liquor store was brief and determined, walking from the cooler to the counter in one swift loop — after all, it isn’t that difficult to find a product marketed as liquid-festivity. Actually, it’s not difficult at all.

In the course of my single lap around the packie, I managed to snag a sixer of Sierra Nevada’s Celebration Ale. Sierra Nevada manages to get the most out every marketing dollar, circumventing any potential complaints by creating a product of cross-holiday merriment; the snowed-in cabin on the  label tells the drinker that this is for consumption of any December-pretense. So fuck it, tonight we’ll say Sierra Nevada are proud sponsors of Festivus.

It’s been a long week for me, so I wanted to pour myself a Celebration Ale right when I got home. The brewery website honestly didn’t help me at all, only telling me that Stan Sessor of the San Francisco Chronicle once called the ale the “…best beer ever made in America.” Doubtful. But, there’s only one way to find out…

Visually, Celebration Ale is magnificent. In my standard glass, the beer shone as a translucent tan(ish) red, with a sturdy shield of foam on top. Putting the glass to the light, I couldn’t prevent myself from thinking that this is how beer looks in my mind’s eye, how it is presented in those daydreams I have about sitting poolside in the summer. Kudos to Sierra Nevada for making such a beautiful brew.

Moving into the arena of taste, I have to confess that I don’t think this is the beer for me. With the first sip, I detected a strong note of pine. Wait, pine? Is that right, or am I just imagining this? Hell, let’s just go with perception is reality and say it doesn’t matter. Celebration Ale has a pine taste to it, which would be fine with me if it were Christmas-themed. But as we’ve established, the drink is reserved for Festivus and should therefore taste like aluminum.

I don’t know, I also want to say that Celebration Ale has a dry taste to it. But again, I’m not a connoisseur and I might just be saying the beer is dry because that’s how my mouth feels now. Dang, I really feel as though I’ve been snacking on a bag of pretzels and could use something to alleviate my parched throat.

Hrm. This one is tricky because Celebration Ale is by no means bad. However, I don’t necessarily see myself recommending this one to friends as a “must-try” beer. I’m going approach this grade from the perspective that maybe it’s just not for me. Damn, maybe I just don’t like IPAs. I’ll have to pay attention to that.

Sierra Nevada, your Celebration Ale is awarded a B-.