Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

10,221 Ratings
Sierra Nevada Celebration AleSierra Nevada Celebration Ale

Brewed by:
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
California, United States

Style: American IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.80%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
Fresh Hop Ale; no spices.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 11-02-2001

For Trade:
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 10,221 |  Reviews: 3,467
Photo of djeffbee
4.37/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours a deep amber color with a two finger off white head that's initially about an inch but falls to about one. Sitcky llace clings to the glass.

S - Citrusy hops, grapefruit, and dominate with caramel malts.

T - Sweet, yet spicy with an awesome bitterness that lasts

M - Medium-bodied, carbonation level is perfect to balance the bitter finish...

D - An excellent brew. I look forward to this one every year.

 418 characters

Photo of cleeze
4.37/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

I finally had to expierence the Celebration. They had it on tap down at Portsmouth Brewery, which is weird because they never have beer on tap thats not theirs.

Poured a beautiful dark amberish/ copper tone. With some great head with lacing that stuck all over the glass. I never would of guessed it was anm IPA by the looks.

Great hoppy aroma comes right out and slaps you in the dome piece! God damn this is where I could really tell it's an IPA. Maybe some pine up in the mix. GREAT HOLIDAY BEER. Deffinatly a reason for a CELEBRATION, bitches

Now I'm not a huge IPA fan but damn this baby is smooth as hell. Smooooth Operator.... Again hops are right there in your face again. But what I really love is the balance between the malts and the hops. It really smoothes things out.

Like I said before the smooth goodness makes this a really drinkable beer. So drinkable I might have to CELEBRATE with a 6pk

 910 characters

Photo of drdiesel9483
4.37/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Look - incredible brownish reddish color with a great white head lacing.
Smell - floral piney hop smell
Taste - well balanced with a good floral piney citrus hop taste.
Feel - medium body with lots of carbonation.
Overall - hard to say if I like this or the torpedo better. Both incredible beers.

 297 characters

Photo of eschlue
4.37/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Sensei04
4.37/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of WeezyBoPeep
4.37/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

So it's that time of year again...stockings hung by the fire, Christmas trees all decked out with lights and ornaments, presents under the tree, snow days and perhaps most importantly, SIERRA NEVADA CELEBRATION ALE!

Poured into a pint glass from a bottle.

A: Orange and gold with a reddish hue. Excellent head with an excellent retention. Lacing all down the glass.

S: Perfect balance of citrus, pine and floral hops compliented well by a nice malty note. Earthy honey and light corn come through as well, and they are welcomed, as is a very mild whiff of nutmeg hiding deep in there too.

T: Nice light piney hop blast at first but hardly any bitterness. Citrus zest in the middle; grapefruit. Slight hints of honey, red apples, black cherries and random dark fruit are in there. Lightly syrupy mouthfeel works well with the style.

D: Not as strong and overpowering as other IPA's; even my girlfriend can take down a couple of these. But that's not to say it's not complex. Buy yourself a couple sixers to get you through the holidays.

Value: At around 8-9 bucks per sixer, this one cannot be beaten for a beer of this quality. This beer is not a super hop bomb, so most IPA freaks will take some points away from the score here, but as an example of the style, you'd be hard pressed to find a better one. Two Hearted Ale comes to mind as a comparison beer.

Celebration Ale is definitely one more reason to look forward to the holidays. A ridiculous beer in my opinion.

 1,477 characters

Photo of EvoRich
4.37/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Look: Pours with a nice head with a deep copper color. Hazy in appearance.

Smell: Bitter hops, yet mildly sweet aromas.

Taste: Hoppy, with some yeast with sweet flavors. Mildly bitter.

Feel: Nice creamy feel

Overall: I'm not a big IPA guy, but I still like them. Didn't expect what I got with this one. Very good!

 320 characters

Photo of BMoney575
4.37/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Sampled on 12-13-07
2007 Vintage

Pours a a very nice amber/orange color, with a thick white head that leaves behind huge lacing.

Smell is big, buttery, earthy hops. Strong, and at the same time subtle. Outstanding.

Taste is all fruity and earthy hops. I don't know what it is, but this is different than any other IPA. Hoppy and bitter, but with a brutal malty kick to keep everything in check.

Mouthfeel is great, if just a little too fizzy.

Drinkability is fantastic, a session beer if I've ever had one.

Overall, a staple among all beers. The only thing to look forward to in the winter.

 596 characters

Photo of sdm
4.37/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of devilmakesthree
4.37/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of AnotherDisease
4.37/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of magic_swaggin
4.37/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of 1fastz28
4.37/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

got this in a mix a six, wish i would of got more in hindsight pours a pretty golden copper color. with a big frothy white head. smell is of piney hops and warm malt. the taste is exceptional, lots of bitter hops and a strong alcohol presence are most noticeable, has a nice warm finish though. mouthfeel is full and flavorfull drinkability would be higher but at 7% i think i'd get drunk awfully quick

 402 characters

Photo of direwolf00
4.37/5  rDev +5.3%

Photo of Hopinion
4.37/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

The one type of beer that is severely lacking in Portland is the Christmas Ale. I have since given up a search for something to replace Great Lakes Christmas Ale, Three Floyd's Alpha Klaus, and Thirsty Dog's Twelve Days of Christmas. Even though Sierra Nevada's Celebration Ale is a Fresh Hop Ale and has nothing to do with the style it is very nostalgiac for me. I remember driving to Munster, Indiana with my best friend and finishing the night off with a Celebration Ale.

Ironically, even though I am aware of the style I still detect other notes normally found in Christmas Ales, such as nutmeg and coriander. It must be the power of suggestion. As a Fresh Hop Pale Ale, this, just like Sierra Nevada's Pale Ale, is a gold standard beer.

It has wonderful citrus notes on the nose. A solid malt backbone, with light lacing on the glass. With gingerbread and nostalgia intact, this beer is a Christmas favorite. If only I could find a substitute for my Christmas Ales.

 973 characters

Photo of mwa423
4.37/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured a very attractive light amber with a thick head and lacing that went all the way down the glass. Strong hop aroma/citrus.

Fantastic IPA flavor, with a strong bite and aftertaste! The only reason it doesn't get 5 is that I have had better so I know improvement is possible, but not by anything but the absolute best.

The strong hop flavor is great but it could have been just me but while I enjoyed it it hit the stomach kind of rough.

Overall, I doubt you could find a better beer that is as easy to find across the U.S. Shame that this is a seasonal and they don't make this year round.

 597 characters

Photo of djchrismac
4.37/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of PSUDREW
4.37/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2003 edition:

Poured out that amber hue, some head retention, lots and lots of lace. Once in your mouth, it's lighter body is somewhat deceptive of it's real power. Powerful hop prescenes will smack you in the face (in a good way), and has some nice sweet and spice to it going down, smoothly finished off with a small bite. Seasonals- YAY!

 343 characters

Photo of beerman599
4.37/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

i sat down with five coceutive years of this and found out that as the hops subside this becomes a great english still old ale. this year was full hpppy and wonderfully bitter, 2003 was still full bitter and hoppy 2002 starts to mellow and the hops start to fall away and expose more fruity character , the 2001 really starts to become and old ale with ripe fruit character and rich malt quilty, make no mistake their as still a great hop character its just becomes more sutle and allows the other flavors to come through

 521 characters

Photo of Jrobb6
4.37/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of spartanfan
4.37/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Fresh 2009 vintage poured from a 12 oz. shorty

A: Pours a slightly hazy copper color with a massive rock white head that leaves spotty lacing behind.

S: Smell is predominately hops with pine and grapefruit taking center stage, but there is also a decent sweet, toasted malt presence.

T: Taste is again quite piney, but with enough of a biscuit maltyness to balance it out quite nicely . Very balanced and very smooth.

M: The carbonation is just about right on for an IPA and the mouthfeel is medium, which I am enjoying greatly.

D: This beer is eminently drinkable, I think I could probably go through a whole 6'er in a sitting if I was really thirsty.

This is a great beer that I prefer fresh, but it's still great with a year or more on it.

 748 characters

Photo of msscott1973
4.37/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of radius129
4.37/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of CrellMoset
4.37/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

UPDATED REVIEW: 11/20/2008

2008 vintage from Market Street Wine, downtown location. Poured into a pint glass.

Appearance: Similar to last years - a very nice, filtered copper color with a thick, solid-looking head with good retention that leaves splotches of sticky lacing. Perhaps not 4.5 worthy, but definitely really good ...

Aroma: A little more pungent and pleasant than I remember. I get more minty notes this time, vegetal, leafy qualities come through really strongly, at least initially. Citrus pulpyness, orange, grapefruit still are strong, and do an admirable job of covering up a doughy, roasted, and pretty dry malt backing. Very, very nice.

Taste: Still nice and bitter - that's what I remember!! Huge piney bitterness, lighter citrus than in the nose, a dry, biscuity backbone ... oo, that hits the spot.

Mouthfeel: Much smoother, pillowy, more even than I remember. Carbonation's a little higher too, I think. Great piney "afterfeel."

Drinkability: Still great. A solid IPA and a legendary seasonal, there's nothing not to love about this one. I don't think my score's changed any, but it's still a fantastic beer, and still highly recommended.

Had a friend bring over a six-pack for a holiday party a few weeks back. I hadn't had a chance to try one that evening, but there were a couple left over, so here goes:

Regular 12 oz. bottle, poured into a pint glass.

Appearance was very pleasant copper tone with very thick head, good retention, and thick lacing.

Smell is not too terribly strong, although the hops are obviously present, as are notes of citrus and malt. A few other things that are difficult to place, as well - an interesting balance.

Taste is where this beer really takes off. Obviously, the hops are at the forefront of the game, but the previously mentioned citrus and malts are still detectable, both in the first instance and in the aftertaste. Alcohol flavor hardly present at all. Absolutely deliciously, hoppy without being overbearing.

Mouthfeel is also very pleasant, carbonated just about right.

Drinkability is damn good. Just damn good. Everything melds very well. Although I'm not a huge hops fan, the balance here is enough to convince me to try and become one. Two thumbs up.

 2,242 characters

Photo of williamtlow
4.36/5  rDev +5.1%

Aroma is of orange peel and pine. Piured from a bottle...nice quarter inch of tan head. Robust grapefruit and resin taste is balanced with medium toast malt (caramel). Fresh lingering aftertaste in the back. mouthfeel is substantial but not thick. This beer is a Christmastime treat! (especially for hop heads)

 310 characters

Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
4.15 out of 5 based on 10,221 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.