Celebration Fresh Hop IPA
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

Celebration Fresh Hop IPACelebration Fresh Hop IPA
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Style:
American IPA
Ranked #90
ABV:
6.8%
Score:
93
Ranked #1,863
Avg:
4.17 | pDev: 11.27%
Reviews:
3,581
Ratings:
10,621
From:
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
 
California, United States
Avail:
Winter
Wants
  404
Gots
  2,155
SCORE
93
Outstanding
Celebration Fresh Hop IPACelebration Fresh Hop IPA
Notes: Fresh Hop Ale; no spices.

We first brewed Celebration IPA in the winter of 1981. Each year, we use only the first fresh hops of the growing season to create this complex and robust ale. Layered pine and citrus hop aromas balance delicately against rich, malt sweetness to shape this bold wintertime classic.
Reviews: 3,581 | Ratings: 10,621 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of DeaconWhite82
4.23/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

One of my favorite winter beers. Has an amber clear color with nice head and lacing. Flavor is bitter with an easy finish. A superior beer. I partake every winter.

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Photo of The-Adjunct-Hippie
3.95/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle
10/11/19
Samuel Adams Ugly Sweater pint glass
Here we go.

A deep toasted caramel color with an off-white head of 2 fingers, very creamy, receding to a bubbly half-finger.

Aroma is of mouth-watering citrusy hops and medium-dark toast. Slight wet evergreen pops up behind that with notes of persimmon and mango.

A formidable tongue-scraping bitterness starts this off, (I forgot how unflinchingly bitter west coast IPAs can be) with heavy notes of pine, toffee, toasted pumpernickel, sweet brown sugar, lemon peel, grapefruit peel, and banana peel. Fading notes of evergreen, pine cone, and bitter hop dust. It is a palate scrubber for sure.

Feel is creamy and smooth, with enough carbonation and alcohol warmth to keep it exciting. Nearly perfect alcohol warmth, it is an artistic move and a winter warmer for sure.

Overall a very very good west coast style IPA if you don't mind tongue scrubbing bitterness. I gravitate towards milder IPAs myself, but this will satisfy any traditional hop head. Merry Christmas.

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Photo of cardfan212
3.91/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a shaker pint.

Look - A cloudy deep golden amber with a gigantic eggshell colored head.

Smell - Piney and resiny with a fine malty backbone and air of sugar cookie. Fairly lightly scented but still very clear.

Taste - The hops stab you right in the center of the tongue as a strong sweetness envelops the edges of the tongue. A strange experience, but interesting.

Feel - A perfect medium body with a prickly carbonation that matches the piney flavor.

Overall - Well balanced between bitter and sweet. Not overly done like most seasonal beers. It just lets the beer do the talking.

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Photo of Mindcrime1000
4.25/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a bottle into a nonic glass.

Pours a reddish amber with just a touch of haze. An excellent three-fingered foamy light-tan head slowly subsides and gives way to excellent lacing. Very small bubbles constantly rise from the bottom of the glass.

Mild caramel malt, citrus zest, floral and grassy hops, and just a bit of pine resin all hit the nose.

The brew is spectacularly balanced and flavorful. The caramel malts manifest in a honey-graham sweetness up front, but there is a fine earthy, grassy, and floral (lavender?) hop profile in mid-quaff that provides an outstanding counterpoint. Citrus and pine resin arrive at the finish with just a hint of warming alcohol. No one thing stands out, but each separate note is distinguishable from the others, even as they are marrying one another quite well.

The brew is solidly medium. It trends toward a drying, nearly crisp finish, thanks to some excellent but not overwhelming carbonation. It finishes with a bit of herbal warmth from the alcohol.

Very restrained in its bitterness, particularly for the style, Celebration is one tasty well-balanced brew. Not quite as malty as a DIPA, but not trying to win a withering IBU battle either. Smooth and very drinkable.

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Photo of steveh
4.42/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

I guess 9 years is a good milepost to revisit an old favorite -- what with so much discussion about the Celebration being had.

2019 batch, bottled 10/07/19.  Poured into my imperial Nonic.

L -- Clear, deep bronze color with a dense and sticky off-white head that holds up very well.

S -- Light pine, mild citrus, and bright fruit esters of peach or apricot.  Some peppery alcohol and light caramel back.

T -- Pine resin up front with stone fruit juiciness and peppery alcohol.  Biscuit malt and light caramel balance the hops and their bitterness without grabbing the limelight.  Spicy and bitter herbal hop character rounds out the aftertaste and finish with a lingering malt sweetness present.

M -- Mouthfeel is syrupy and almost sticky.  Body is medium robust to robust.

O -- A classic masterpiece that always takes me back in time to those early years of discovering beer beyond macro swill.  Not a beer for the meek with its hop dominance, but well worth any new beer drinker's experience to understand flavorful beer -- let alone understanding that good beer in the U.S. really has been around nearly 40 years.

December 13, 2010 review:
Never reviewed this one in the past -- a perfect, 13° day in N. Illinois to fit the beer!

A -- Hazy amber-orange with a resilient, foamy, off white head.

S -- Piny, citrus, spicy & earthy nose. The vaguest of biscuit malt back.

T -- Spicy, pine resin hops up front that blend into citrusy esters. Biscuit malt flavor in the middle is low and clean with some mild sweetness that helps to balance, but certainly doesn't overpower, the resiny bitterness in the finish and aftertaste.

M -- Body is medium with the bitterness creating a near astringent sensation in the mouthfeel. Otherwise, the mouthfeel behind the resins is rather smooth, not at all unattenuated.

D -- This beer is delicious, which adds to its drinkability, but the resinous mouthfeel and alcohol become a little fatiguing. This would be a nice sipper on a cold afternoon in a quiet, cozy pub.
4 | 4 | 4 | 3.5 | 3.5 = 3.85

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Photo of HardCider
3.81/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

This beer poured a slightly cloudy caramel color with a moderate caramel colored head that dissipated moderayely. The aroma is fresh and hoppy, but rather mild. It has a very bitter taste and I mostly detect a burnt caramel flavor. Overall, this beer did not live up to my expectations, but I consider it a rather good IPA.

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Photo of defunksta
3.52/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a bright orange-ruby red color with a white creamy head. SRM of 15. (4.00)

Aroma: Strong malty aromas of caramel. Some red fruit. Some slight grapefruit and pine underneath. Mild aromas overall. (3.25)

Flavor: Strong flavors of spicy caramel, toffee, and pine. Not much citrus. Strong alcohol behind the caramel gives it a Sharpie phenolic flavor. Huge pine bitterness on the back end. (3.50)

Feel: Medium to heavier bodied. Moderate carbonation, but no match for the huge malt body and bitterness. Definitely resinous. Leaves a sweet, but bitter and spicy finish on the palate. (4.00)

Compared to Torpedo: Very similar and nearly indistinguishable. Pours a darker amber color. More spicy caramel, red fruit, and malt body. Less hop flavors, but more bitterness. Slightly heavier bodied and resinous. Sweeter as well.

If I had to compare it again I might do a revisitation to Torpedo or Surly Furious given the redness in this one.
Overall: This one surprised me. Tons of malt flavors. Burnt and spicy caramel and pine. The hop flavors are subdued. Where it lacks in hop flavor, it makes up in bitterness and spice. Still I would like an IPA to have more of a hop profile rather than just burnt caramel malt, spice, and pine, which is what this beer is. (Final Rating: 3.52)

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Photo of gcasher
4.35/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12 oz bottle 2019 fresh
Drank it out of the bottle, but I've seen pictures of it online and it looks just fine.
Taste is super hoppy and a bit bitter, but the sweet malt balances it out just fine.
The relatively low abv makes it an easy drinker.
Compared to all the DIPAs I am used to drinking, this goes down easy, but still has an amazing floral and bitter hop profile with a solid body.
I am sold on it.

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Photo of jrc1093
4.02/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottled on 10/14/19

Pours a clear burnt orange-copper body topped towering thick head of off-white foam; excellent retention produces a rocky cap while leaving a comprehensive spatter of soapy, webby lacing clinging around the glass.

Aroma is a touch quiet but steadily balanced, highlighting floral notes to welcome in wisps of fresh ruby red grapefruit and orange pulp; malt tones redolent of cinnamon and nutmeg build j to the finish.

Taste features tangerine and grapefruit rind comfortably integrating piney hops; gritty, rich malt imparting tones of cinnamon and nutmeg mashing with earthy resin and returning citrus peel through the finish.

Mouthfeel shows a medium body with moderate-high carbonation; pillowy mid-palate and extensively clean and taut throughout; malt sweetness seeps into a subdued bitter swallow.

Exceptional consistency meets a ripe harmony of (fresh) hops and malt, with the unique maltier aspects imparting a complexity to match the simplicity of the hop profile. Another well-done Sierra Nevada brew emphasizing quiet character and nuance, and one I could enjoy repeatedly.

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Photo of SierraNevallagash
4.28/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a brilliantly clear, deep glowing copper hue, topped with two fingers of remarkably dense tan foam with impressive retention. Plentiful bubbles ascending to feed the cap of foam, which eventually recedes, leaving a thick ring of tenacious lacing.

Nose: Very reminiscent of SNPA, though perhaps lacking some of its punch. A classic base of sweet, toasty caramel malt showcases the remarkably floral hops. The overall bouquet is perhaps a little less piney than its flagship cousin, but the floral notes are delightfully fragrant and delicate. Aromas honeyed biscuits, surrounded by magnolia, gardenia, orange blossom, lemon blossom, grapefruit oil, and a wisp of forest in the spring.

Palate: The differences between SNPA and Celebration become much more apparent here. First sip reveals a caramel malt sweetness that comes across slightly more tame and restrained than Pale Ale, and the hops possess an entirely different profile. The resinous bitterness comes on much sooner, and all of the wonderful floral notes are much more pronounced and seemingly "fresher" - more vibrant, bright, and floral in nature. There's no pithy grapefruit, but rather a resinous green character in its place. All the floral notes from the nose are just as present, but on the palate, it translates more like an ultra fresh botanical elixir, with a wonderfully delicate malty base. The finish is dry and resinous, with a gentle-yet-pronounced hoppy bitterness, with has a very slow and shalloe decay, yet lacks any and all metallic aftertaste.

Mouthfeel/Body: The beer is on the lighter end of medium-bodied, perhaps a bit more crisp than SNPA. The caramel malt doesn't add the least bit of syrupy thickness that is often present in classic IPAs like this. Effervescence is perfectly balaced, precisely where it should be, and puts this ale in that slim category of loaded with flavour, yet insanely drinkable. Not a single flaw in this category.

Overall: This is a very unique beer, though it's appeal doesn't come in the form of complexity, or fancy bells and whistles, but rather its simplicity, and its use of fresher hops. It's a classic IPA by the books. It's also remarkably balanced, which can be difficult to find in modern variations of the style. The hops add this incredible fresh component that cannot really be described, but rather must be experienced firsthand. You can just tell there's something unique about this beer. There's no hint of any sort of stale elements, nor any mustiness of any sort. It's just a wonderfully balanced IPA made with fresh, resinous, dried hops. You just can't beat it. While not an exact clone by any means, I personally find a few similarities between Celebration and Pliny The Elder, and that alone should speak volumes. A wonderful little IPA.

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Photo of dele
4.45/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

First taste of Celebration 2019, and as always, it did not disappoint. It pours a deep amber-red with a moderate head. It's got no haze in it whatsoever - crystal clear through the amber color. A nose of spicy, piney hops and caramel sweetness. Flavors include pine, a little citrus, and a complex mix of spice and sweetness. Just a fabulous beer.

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Photo of Beer_Tipsy
4/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

If you are a traditionalist, we have you covered there too. Pick up a pack of Celebration IPA by Sierra Nevada. A 6.8 ABV 65 IBU Fresh Hop IPA. “The start of Celebration season is a festive event. We can’t start brewing until the first fresh hops have arrived, but once they have the season is officially under way! First brewed in 1981, Celebration Ale is one of the earliest examples of an American-style IPA and one of the few hop-forward holiday beers. Famous for its intense citrus and pine aromas, Celebration is bold and intense, featuring Cascade, Centennial and Chinook hops—honoring everything we have at Sierra Nevada.” – Sierra Nevada

Review: http://beertipsy.com/beer-tasting/christmas-time-calls-for-a-drink

This thing is super tasting and goes down smooth. Pick it up this season and see for your self.

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Photo of DeuilEtoiles
3.72/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Quite possibly the best IPA I have had. I don’t know what the IBU rating is but I did not find this to be very bitter at all. Good hop flavors with some malt balance. Very nice!

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Photo of VoxRationis
4.34/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Decanted from a 12 oz (355 ml) bottle into a custom taster pint; packaged 10/23/18 -- 2018 production year.
A: Pours a hazy, amber to light copper color with orange highlights, a one finger, off-white foamy, white head, spotty cap retention, and decent Belgian lacing.
S: Tangy/tart initially. Caramel, toffee, dark bread rind, and honey.
T: Tart and semisweet to semidry. Flavors of caramel, molasses, toffee, bread, honey, and citrus. The hoppiness is really exceptional with strong bitterness successfully offsets the sugars.
M: Medium bodied with excellent retention of effervescence. Maybe a bit chewy.
O: This was a great beer, but given that this is more than 6 months old, I acknowledge I am a bit late to this party. Wish I had gotten this sooner, but it was still really good.

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Photo of Manta200
4.04/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

I love Hefeweizen!!! But I respect other types of beer, so here it is:
Poured out of the bottle into an Erdinger wheat glass (sorry IPA guys ;-)
Got a very nice head that retains for quite a while, I like it!!!
Smells hoppy like it should for an IPA but does not bite your nose.
The taste is smooth and the hops are not overpowering.
Carbonation is just right, feels good!
In the end, well it's an IPA and not my kind of beer! But I think this one is not bad at all ;-)

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Photo of Calarice
3.81/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Maybe I have gotten something that's been on the shelf for a long time but there are bits of orange dust looking pieces floating around and settling in the bottom of the glass. Enjoyable to drink regardless. Nice Ballance of malt to compliment this hop forward beer.

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Photo of Attlebridge
4.18/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

L: This poors a beautiful amber color, very clear and pleasing to the eye.

S: Slightly hoppy, but not overly done.

T: I'm enthralled by this one. For a seasonal IPA, Sierra Nevada has hit this one out of the park. I purchased a full case at the end of the season because I didn't want it to end.

F: Smooth mouth feel. Well carbonated and pleasing effervescence.

O: Overall I am in love with this beer. This is THE beer to convert me to IPAs.

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Photo of Buckeye55
4.18/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Shared a 6 pack, among other beers, with a buddy on New Year's eve a few years ago. While many events of the evening are hazy, I recall this being the star of the shown. It was, for lack of a better term kinda peppery spicy but not in an unpleasant way. It is a perfect cold weather brew.

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Photo of tjhuot
4.79/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

I am not a very good reviewer, but I do enjoy this year's batch even more than usual it seems. The 2018 version seems to be an almost perfect brew to me. I am also a Sierra Nevada Torpedo fan, but this seems a bit less overwhelming. To me it is just the right amount of hoppiness, carbonation and body. These days there are so many over hopped IPAs that I will definitely miss the 2018 Celebration when it is gone.

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Photo of unlikelyspiderperson
3.88/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Pours a very old school deep orange/amber for an IPA. Nice off white head with great retention and great carbonation.
Smell is brightly piney with light citrus notes and a pleasant crackery sweetness. Again showing a very old school bent compared to the tropical fruit salad of modern american IPAs.
Taste is pleasantly balanced between sharply bitter pine hops and rich bready malt. Reminiscent of a hoppy amber or red ale. The sweet/bitter flavor dance plays out well across the whole flavor.
Mouthfeel is nicely crisp with an adequate body. This is definitely a classic crisp IPA.
This is a classic and an old favorite of mine but I do feel like it's showing its age. Not so exciting as it once was and certainly not the best fresh hop beer available anymore. A nice yearly treat none the less though.

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Photo of jmc65267
3.91/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Based off the look i was very excited about this ipa but the taste was a slight let down. It's not bursting with flavor it is pretty mild, still enjoyable, but not what i was expecting. Given the opportunity i would drink it again but would first check my other options.

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Photo of Jhops217
2.42/5  rDev -42%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

I haven’t ever tried an ipa before this and wasnt convinced with this guy. The reviews are high on this, so I don’t know if I grabbed a bad one. It came off really bitter and tasted like paint with a bad after taste. Maybe just my palate. Glad people can enjoy it, just wasn’t me.

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Photo of TonyBaloney
4.75/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Consistently awesome seasonal - beautifully balanced IPA. This beer will stand the test of time and trends.

You never have to worry about a bad bottle, because it is only around a short while.

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Photo of nosho
3.95/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

i don't know about nose, finish, or notes but my feeling is that this is a confused ale, in general. i like specific things, particularly body and color - but the flavor, based on those two aspects which elevatec my expectations, was surprisingly bland. to my palate, i expected a little more tang (fruit forward?) and on the tongue, more zip. on the other hand, it accompanies and complements a meal rather well so i will buy more of it.

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Photo of iguanodon
3.43/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle. Pours clear copper with a small tan head, good retention. Steady fine carbonation from the bottom of the glass. Aroma: not much, I just can’t get much more than malt and a hint of citrus. Maybe my smell sensor is in need of calibration. Taste is roasted malt and citrus, with some pine. Bitter finish. Good but not great.

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Celebration Fresh Hop IPA from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 93 out of 100 with 10621 ratings