12/17/2000 Last Updated 11/28/2021 By John Staradumsky
This beer is an American classic. I donít know how long
Celebration has been around, but I have been drinking it for almost ten
years. One of the very nice things about the holiday beers is their
incredible diversity: spiced ales, ESBs, Imperial Stouts, winter warmer/old ales, barleywines, Scottish
ales, and of course India pales. The latter is the style in which
Celebration is brewed, and thatís a good thing. IPAs of this caliber can be
hard to come by in some areas of the country, and this one is widely
As David Tekyaerts pointed out in his review of this beer, Celebration was
called ďBest beer ever made in AmericaĒ by Stan Sesser of the San Francisco
Chronicle. I think Stan needs to try a few more beers. Celebration is a
classic American ale, but itís not the best beer made in America (I donít
think any beer is, there are far too many great ones out there to choose
from). Itís not even the best IPA ever made in America. It is however often
one of the best beers available in areas where beer selection is limited,
and will keep for a good time if refrigerated. I usually buy a case or two
every winter and drink it throughout the year
Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale pours to a burnt orange color with a subtle
head formation and a distinctly hoppy nose. This is IPA people, it screams
hops at you right from the first sniff right on into your first sip. Again,
the beer screams hops, wonderfully aromatic Cascades and grapefruity
Centennials, fantastically bitter Chinook finishing hops.
The latter ones seize your tongue and donít want to let go, as that
bitterness lingers and leaves a pleasant hop buzz for a time after drinking.
The potent 6.8% alcohol by volume content has been known to leave a buzz of
itís own too. A firm malt body serves nicely as the background against which
the hops are displayed.
I made broiled swordfish steak with pepper and lemon butter, carrots and
broccoli in pepper and lemon butter, and a baked potato for dinner this
evening. Sierra Nevada Celebration accompanied it nicely, but I could see it
going equally well with spicy Buffalo wings or Mexican cuisine.
December, 2004: The old adage "absence makes the heart grow fonder" is
demonstrably true. Had I taken this wonderful brew for granted in the past,
I certainly don't now. I wasn't able to enjoy this the past few winters due
to Georgia's arcane beer laws. The law changed this year, and I was
delighted to see Celebration on my local retailers shelves.
Rich with chewy caramel malt, Celebration is still a hop lovers delight. The
bitter, resiny hops assault you from the get go and intensify in the finish
into a truly lingering presence. Still, they never do seem to totally
overpower the malt. There's just so much hops and malt going on here that
its truly incredible.
Maybe not the best beer in America, but certainly one of them.Update November 15th, 2012:
would the winter holidays be without a Celebration? I mean that both
figuratively and literally here, of course. This beer has been a
staple for 20 years now chez Bruguru, and I'm happily sipping a bottle from
a freshly purchased six-pack this evening. It's almost like a beery time machine of sorts,
chewy caramel malt up front and then the brilliant hop attack, resiny, crazy
bitter, floral aromatic and then bitter again. Celebration is a, well,
celebration of this festive season. It's also a celebration of hops, and was
one when same was not as common as it is today.
love this beer, a classic since 1981. Like old Christmas carols from my
childhood and long lost toys from same, it's an annual pleasure. It wouldn't
be Christmas in my home without it. Don't miss this amazing brew. A
bargain this year at $8.49 a six pack.
Update 12/23/2015: Sierra Nevada Celebration 2015 is a resiny,
citrusy treat in a growler from Stout's. $15 for 64 ounces. I'm sold.
Update 8/1/2019: Every year, I save beers
from the winter season to enjoy in the depths of July heat. Yes, Christmas
in July is an annual tradition for me, but this year there was a special
treat in store, albeit a day late. Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale on tap for
just $3 a pint. I win! I always win! Maybe not on the slots, but with a
wonderful beer like this at a bargain price, how can you lose? I had a few
of these, and the Celebration was on.
Update 11/28/2021: Here's something new:
Sierra Nevada Celebration-in cans! While I cannot say this is the first time
the beer has been canned, it is the first time I have ever enjoyed it that
way. The beer is as wonderful as ever, and at a better price than i have
ever seen, too. I paid $9.99 for my six-pack, but if I had more room in the
beer fridge I could have scored a 12-pack for just $14.99, truly an
outstanding bargain for this wonderful, wonderful beer.
Glad I tried it?
Would I rebuy it??
*Pricing data accurate at time of review or latest update. For
reference only, based on actual price paid by reviewer.