Celebration Fresh Hop IPA | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

Celebration Fresh Hop IPACelebration Fresh Hop IPA
Write a Review

Average: 4.17 | pDev: 11.27%

Reviews: 3,569 | Ratings: 10,583

#92 ranked American IPA | 6.80% ABV

Wants   Gots 

Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
California, United States

Notes: Winter availibility. 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.
Celebration Fresh Hop IPACelebration Fresh Hop IPA
Reviews: 3,569 | Ratings: 10,583
Photo of MonDak_Joe1953
4.13/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz bottle into glass. '100317' is stamped on bottle.
Body is dark amber, pillowy off white head, and lots of lacing.
Aroma is caramel malt, pine, and citrus.
Taste is chewy malt, with pine and citrus hops. A little sweet, and a touch of bitterness at the end.
Medium mouth feel.
Very well balanced, with good looks, and very enjoyable tastes.

 356 characters

Photo of TBDave
4.38/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

This is a great beer. Looks beautiful. Tons of flavor, but not too fruity like a lot of IPAs. Gives off a wintery vibe. Has a decent kick. Perfect for a Christmas party. I’m definitely getting more.

 205 characters

Photo of BenHoppy
3.99/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It's ruby red, foamy cream head screams Christmas and snow. Although a bit watered down it is still tastey with flavors of pine, malt, citrus, and cherry.

 155 characters

Photo of Lone_Freighter
4.16/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had several times and enjoyed enough to wish to say something positive about this beer here.
The appearance was a strong burnt dark orange to malted brown color with a cap of a little white foamy head that swiftly died off. Some lace, somewhat stringy and sliding off fairly quick.
The aroma had that strong smooth West coast styled malt bill flowing over a clean crisp bright citrusy to sprucy needle-like hoppiness. It has always smelled like that to me for as long as I can remember.
The flavor was an awesome balance of the sweet clean malts to the bitter and bright citrusy and piney hoppiness. Mainly a malty aftertaste with a touch of those sprucy to citrusy hops.
The mouthfeel was about medium bodied with a fine sessionability about it. Carbonation felt good. ABV felt as projected. Nice crisp semi-sweet malty to sweet hoppy and semi-bitter finish (the same as always).
Overall, what's not to love about this beer. It's got over 10k amount of reviews and sits at 4.15 out of 5 on BA at the moment. Of course, I come back to this every year and seems like it doesn't even need me to talk about it to anyone as it has stood the test of time and will continue to do so.

 1,177 characters

Photo of GoodBeerFan2006
4.68/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is my first review though I've followed Beeradvocate since 2011. Don't expect eloquence or flowery, descriptive language in this review.
A: Beautiful reddish amber with a two finger khaki head and nice lacing.
S: Describing smell is a weakness of mine. So I'll pass. It's nice, just can't describe it.
T: Awesome-- nice hop bitterness comes through. It reminds me of grapefruit rind and pine. Malty sweetness balances this out, but the finish is a nice hoppiness that's calling for me to have another sip.
F: Medium body, nice finish.
Overall: Perhaps my favorite IPA, seasonal, and beer of all time. It's solid year in and year out.

 645 characters

Photo of Czequershuus
4.07/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This beer pours a rich amber with a large head, The aroma features pine, cannabis, resin, orange peel, cinnamon, and caramel. The flavor starts somewhat sweet, with orange peel and clementine flesh, the it dried out with bitter pine, cedar, cannabis, and an oily, resinous finish. The mouthfeel is full with lush carbonation. Overall I see why this is a classic - it does have exquisite balance, and a host of classic, bitter flavors.

 434 characters

Photo of MrRB
3.8/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

An interesting and quite enjoyable fresh hop ale. Beguiling reddish color and moderate tan head. Aromas of fresh fruit and grass dominate. The palate is assertively bitter yet refreshing. Just lacks the depth of a truly excellent beer. [fresh 12 oz. bottle into a goblet glass]

 277 characters

Photo of JulesG
4.3/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.75

I look forward to this excellent seasonal brew every year. I had a pint at the SN brewery several weeks ago in Falls River, NC. Slightly piney and definitely hop-forward taste. If you like fresh hop IPAs, you will love the Celebration Ale!

 240 characters

Photo of Vetbidder
4.1/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Copper colored brew with a decent off white receeding head. Scent of a citrus and malt IPA. Decent piney and citric flavor with some blending malt. Quite tasty. If you like SN beers you will like this one for sure.

 214 characters

Photo of tjwarren
4.13/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Great beer. Very clean for all the spices and caramel. Aroma is mostly caramel taste is malty with piney hops cutting through but the caramel is what makes it. Full mouthfeel. Very satisfying.

 192 characters

Photo of Holderness
3.34/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Bottled ~5 weeks ago.

L -- Pours a tawny body with a three-finger off-white head produced with moderately aerated pour. Great retention and lacing. Some fine hop particulate floating around
S -- Barely getting any aromatics at all, surprisingly. Just a bit of floral, grass, metallic herbaceousness, and citrus peel
T -- Black tea, orange peel, fresh pine resin, caramel malt, grass, tobacco leaf, earth, grapefruit pith, and biley hop oils
F -- Standard drinking IPA


 492 characters

Photo of TheSupremeAJ
4.22/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

This is one of the most refreshing winter beers without gimmicks. Delicious, dependable, and true. $40 a case in PA. I swear it taste cleaner since they started distributing from NC and it's certainly easier to get my hands on.

 227 characters

Photo of pro45
4.04/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle packaged on 1/03/17. Pour is copper in color and the head doesn't last two long. Nose is hops, citrus, caramel malts. Taste is caramel marls hops, pine, faint citrus notes, candy sugar. Mouthfeel is more on the creamy side and goes down very smooth. Overall it's very nice. I've had this beer about three years ago and from what I can remember, that version was a little better than this years version. More aggressive hop presence.

 440 characters

Photo of jkblr
4.11/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12oz canned 10/13/17 poured into a tulip pint glass at fridge temp 6.8% ABV. The beer pours bright reddish amber with sticky khaki colored head. Retention and lacing are above average. The aroma is pine and faint citrus. The taste is nicely bitter pine with an equally nice semisweet citrus & caramel malt balance. Mouthfeel is medium bodied, well carbonated and mostly dry in the finish. There is some definite hop oil presence that adds a slickness while never going too sweet or sticky. Overall, wonderful and made better with 19 day old delivery in cans.

 565 characters

Photo of california_republic
5/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Look: Very generous, foamy head that stays up a long time. As it subsides, it gets pillowy like cumulus clouds and leaves behind microfoam that clings to the side of the glass with a lot of coverage. Impressive and fresh, with a brew date of 10/3/17 being consumed on 10/31/17. Color is brownish amber and is actually pretty clear, unless you tip the bottle over all the way and let in the yeast to your glass.

Smell: Simply great. Fragrant apple, orange blossom and peel, pear, and berries. An amazingly American fragrance that will not fail to impress. I don't get much pine at all, maybe a tiny bit, which probably makes it unique among the high-quality hop-bomb American IPAs these days.

Taste: The taste is where the hops come back, with your familiar iconic west coast IPA pine and citrus. I also get orange peel and a lot of bright but not sour fruit flavors, which I interpret to be berries. There's also a bit of roasted maltiness to it, but the hops take center stage much more than in Pale Ale.

Feel: There's a creamyness to it from the many small bubbles in such a fresh brew. Sweet, but still crisp. Medium herbal bitterness around the level of Pale Ale but overall brighter than Pale Ale. Malts are of the roasted kind and not the crackery kind of lagers, but the malts are very slight. The finish is probably the weaker spot of this otherwise flawless American IPA as it's not as malty as Pale Ale and not as hoppy as Torpedo or Hop Hunter. But you have to keep in mind that Celebration has been around since 1981, a year after Pale Ale and long before craft beer drinkers got accustomed to the hop bombs of today.

Overall: Most brewers use their winter seasonal to concoct pumpkin spice dark malt agglomerations without the pumpkin, but Sierra Nevada was not founded on such gimmicks. They built themselves on being the one of the first masters of American hops, and Celebration reflects their history and focus. Despite being a winter seasonal, Celebration has nothing to do with Christmas or spice and instead is instead a celebration of the start of the hop harvest, featuring the freshest hops of the year. This is well reflected in the outstanding head, aroma, taste, and texture of this beer, even compared to Sierra Nevada's year-round beers. The only glaring flaw is that the finish is surprisingly not as hop-heavy as Torpedo "Extra" IPA or even Hop Hunter, which probably reflects the fact that Celebration is a much older ale than the hop bombs that craft beer drinkers have gotten used to.

 2,522 characters

Photo of Numbskull13
4.84/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

beautiful beer, look forward to this one every year. very nick malt backbone, then the hops kick in with a nice dry finish. Nice candy like taste up front and thick mouth feel. wonderful fall ipa.

 198 characters

Photo of Piercan
4.92/5  rDev +18%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

• Oct.2017 edition. Just released.
12 oz. bottle into a half-liter Belgian beer glass.
Clear, bright, amber color.
Subdued floral fragrances.
Rich, malty (caramel) flavors. Smooth.
And then the fresh hops kick in.
A feast.
Maybe not litterally an India Pale Ale.
But an outstanding American Dark, hoppy Ale for the winter season.
• May the supply last through the Holidays!
(Edited Milwaukee 12 Jan. 2018:
Got hold of the last 6 and 12 packs I could find, as it looks like we're not getting any more now.)
Let the Maibocks come now.

 549 characters

Photo of andrewh995
3.92/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours a clear copper with a white head. Smells of pine, hops, light citrus, and some malt. Tastes of tons of pine, fresh and bitter hops, light citrus zest, and a nice malt balance. Medium in body and carbonation. Overall a pretty good fresh hopped ipa.

 253 characters

Photo of nick_perry
4.03/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thick, foamy head with a lot of retention. Hazy red-orange appearance with a lot of rising bubbles. Pine and citrus aromas and flavors throughout, with a nice balance of malt and rye coming in on the finish. Hop profile is well pronounced, but not overwhelming. I'm not sure if they change their recipe slightly each year, or there's just something inherently different about their processes from year to year, but I've had this several years in a row, and I think this and in 2014 were my favorites.

 500 characters

Photo of r-m-kaylor
4.29/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

How do you rate an Icon of the style?

What is style, what are forms, what is beauty...What is a shared experience...How do we know what we perceive or sense is something translatable in a way that others (or the perceived others) can appreciate and understand in a manner which is consistent to the manner in which one understands...

The French say it best, "C'est la Vie!"

2016 Vintage

Poured into a generic tulip resulting in a clear deep hued brown with nice bubbles and consistent off-white head.

On the eyes, everything one would expect for a strong American IPA - dark, clear and promising.

On the nose, hops, hops and more hops - even though this is the 2016 Vintage - Please note that I tend to let these West Coast Types (Sierra Nevada, Lagunitas, etc.) sit for a year to "take the edge off" the hops, as it were - just a personal preference...Candi sugar and malts on the nose as well -

Up front, through the middle and back follows the nose precisely - no surprises...What one would expect from an Icon...

Geez, has it been 20 years? Been partaking in this Seasonal Icon for the better part of 20 years and it has been consistent, but again, this is what one expects with an Icon.

Thanks for reading...

 1,224 characters

Photo of Sabtos
3.73/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Finally! This one has eluded me for a while, for whatever reason since it's not that inaccessible, but hey, what better opportunity than when at the taproom in NC?!

Dark amber-copper, nearing red, with a frothy, light tan, two-finger lumpy head.

Smell is catty, sticky dank peaches, and leafy CTZ-like hops.

Taste is more bitter than I anticipated, with weed, grapefruit, orange zest and cracker.

Dry and chewy.

So glad my first true pour of this was fresh at the brewery.

 477 characters

Photo of Brutaltruth
4.12/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A brew I always look forward to and one that never disappoints.
From a 12 oz bottle in a snifter this fine ale pours a luscious deep
amber with a fantastic head of off white foam that subsides to a
thick ring and layer with beautiful sudsy lacing. Nose of rich deep
caramel malts and pine laden hops with a touch of citrus rind of
grapefruit. Flavors follow the nose with heavy pine notes awash in
sweet lightly syrupy caramel malts touched with bitter grapefruit
rind and sticky hops. Excellent mouth feel; smooth, approachable,
medium light carbonation that is lightly lively, and a sweet malt
back boned finish awash in bittering pine and citrus laden hop notes
with a warming finish.

Overall, a fantastic IPA that is welcome and inviting.



 767 characters

Photo of bilbobrewer
4.06/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle in pint glass. Bottled 7 weeks ago.

Pours amber, thick creamy head that lasts.
Though not described anywhere as an "unfiltered" beer, there's lots of 'hop bits' in suspension. Be careful not to leave any of those last, sticky drops behind in the bottle !!

Taste is more malt-forward, aftertaste a bit syrupy. Love it. Truly a "malty IPA", as opposed to the typical, purposely misnamed amber ale that so many other breweries use to ring the till.
A real craft beer. As in crafted...by craftsmen.
A great recipe for early winter...I do look forward to this one every Christmas...now a very festive tradition!

 639 characters

Photo of Whey2Hoppy
3.86/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Beautiful amber color, almost more like a red IPA with a nice frothy, eggshell colored head. Citrus and pine in the nose, with the taste to follow. I was expecting something more suited to the season, but this just tastes like your typical, albeit amazing example of your everyday west coast IPA. Balanced approach of sweet malts and bitter hops, with a silky smooth mouthfeel. Nothing mind-blowing like the hype led me to believe, but an overall excellent example of the style nonetheless.

 490 characters

Photo of ikapaMK
4.38/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Celebration 2016

Look - Pours a hazy, deep gold colour with a 3 1/2 finger off-white/gold head. Good retention.

Smell - Malt and orange zest stand out from the beginning with a suggestion of potential spice and an inviting freshness

Taste - Now, I'm not a huge IPA fan, but I can tell this is a good one. Sweet malt balanced by a bitter hop. That being said, there's a bright orange peel taste to the bitterness and a green, grassy, herbaceous flavour behind it all.

Feel - I wasn't expecting much fullness until I saw the colour and, again, I am not let down. There's a bready fullness to it that coats your tongue with a thick layer. This is a better mouthfeel than I've seen in many darker beers.

Overall - I was hoping for something special and I was not let down. I wish this was more available than only on Christmas.

 829 characters

Celebration Fresh Hop IPA from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 93 out of 100 with 10583 ratings