Celebration Fresh Hop IPA | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

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Celebration Fresh Hop IPACelebration Fresh Hop IPA
BA SCORE
4.15/5
Exceptional
10,378 Ratings
Celebration Fresh Hop IPACelebration Fresh Hop IPA
BEER INFO

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

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

BEER STATS
Ranking:
#1,460
Reviews:
3,511
Ratings:
10,378
pDev:
11.33%
Bros Score:
4.35
 
 
Wants:
385
Gots:
2,036
Trade:
2
HISTOGRAM
 
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 10,378 |  Reviews: 3,511
Photo of billab914
3.92/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into my Russian River tulip glass. Pours amber in color with a thick two finger off-white head. Excellent head retention and lacing. This is pretty much a perfect looking beer.

Aroma had some floral and light citrus hops with some sweetness from the malt. Taste is both hoppy and malty. it has some citrus and pine from the hops but also some bready and biscuit tones from the malt. It's pretty well balanced between the malt sweetness and the hop bitterness, which makes it very drinkable.

Always a pleasure drinking one of these, this is one of my many regular purchases, and will continue to be.

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Photo of Rifugium
3.92/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

First had: bottle from Pinocchio's beer garden, Media, PA

This review is for the 2010 batch, served in a bottle.

Poured into a pint glass, a clear amber, with reddish highlights around the edges, and a finger of merry white head. Floral and citrus notes in the aroma, hoppy, with a malty sweetness in the background. Much like the previous batch, a good balance of sweet malts and bitter but smooth hops, floral and slightly herbal, with a tad of spice. Medium mouthfeel and sessionably drinkable.

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Photo of ygtbsm94
3.5/5  rDev -15.7%

Photo of Kegatron
4.12/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle in a Stone IPA flute.

Pours a somewhat cloudy orange amber with a big poof of tannish white head that left some good lacing. Aroma is pungent hoppiness, citrus, spices, and sweet malt. I swear that I even picked up a little menthol smell (mint?) as it warmed.

Taste matches the flavor profile. Hops are dominate and provide a sharp tingling bite throughout the sip. That's nicely balanced by a underlying layer of spicy malt that keeps things in check. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with a nice crisp snap to it. Some alcohol beefiness is present but not overly detectable.

Ah, nothing says Christmas like a bottle of Celebration Ale. Fresh pungent hops, spices, maybe even some mint? It's all there wrapped up in one nice package. Happy Holidays and enjoy.

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Photo of paulish
3.75/5  rDev -9.6%

Photo of PhineasMcClintock
4.25/5  rDev +2.4%

Photo of Gkruszewski
4.25/5  rDev +2.4%

Photo of wethorseblanket
4.17/5  rDev +0.5%

Photo of atrocity
3/5  rDev -27.7%

Photo of smcolw
4.45/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance--Gorgeous rich bronze color; pleasant slightly off-white head that collapsed quickly. Extremely small carbonation bubbles providing for a long lasting lace on the glass

Smell--Predominate hop aroma that is more flowery than bitter. Very inviting.

Taste--Very short malt flavor up front which quickly becomes overwhelmed by the bitterness from the hop. The aftertaste is entirely bitter hop.

Mouthfeel--Consistant with the style, bitterness lingers long, long after the swallow.

Drinkability--I consider this to be one of the superior American IPA's. While I wouldn't quaff this, if I could only have one beer for an entire evening, this would be one of my top choices.

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Photo of ZEB89
4/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of nathanmiller
3.5/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of russpowell
4.29/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This will probably be the first beer I max on reviews, that ought to tell you what I think about it. Let's see how this year's stacks up:

Pours an effervescent amber with 4+ fingers of sand colored. fluffed out head. Superior lacing & head retention

S: Some citric & herbal hops

T: Piney hops & chewy caramel up front. Resiny & grapefruitty hops dominates a this warms along with some caramel & cakeyness. Finishes dry with tangerine & grapefruitty hops along with a bit of baker's chocolate & cakeyness. A hopheads delight

MF: Medium-bodied, chewy & low carbonation. I detecting a bit of softness & stickyness, weird.

Drinks very easy, hops are asserting themselves this year. Not a perfect offering, but well worth stockpiling

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Photo of XmnwildX12
3.75/5  rDev -9.6%

Photo of mendvicdog
4/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of woodychandler
4.65/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2010 Fresh Hop Ale iteration. I think that I am going to do some ticking for a little while and get all of my numbers to the 400 range.

From the bottle: "Celebration Ale is a special ale for the holidays. Featuring the first hops of the growing season, this pioneering IPA is full of complex flavors and aromas from the generous use of whole cone American hops."

I am wildly out of practice when it comes to pouring from a bottle, vice a CAN. Once the panic of a near-overflow subsided, I was looking at a rocky two fingers' worth of light-tan head with good retention. Color was a deep-copper with NE-quality clarity. Nose was both earthy and piney, like being out in the forest and taking a deep breath. Mouthfeel was medium-to-full with an immediate burst of very piney hops on the tongue. Man, this is the kind of thing that caused me to become a hophead in the first place! Great Gaddang, but this was right in my skewed wheelhouse. It's a good thing that I liked it, since I bought a gigantor 24-ounce bottle and I could not find anyone to share it with me. Boo hoo. The finish swept through with a minty chill that really sent shivers up and down my spine. Peering into my glass, I took note of some lovely sticky lacing that looked like Jack Frost had been at work. A second, warmer pour released a really earthy aroma, like I had been out digging around in my backyard. I liked just letting it roll around on my tongue since the hops did not have a heavy bite, but more of a wintergreen flavor. Only $3.95 for this?!? A freakin' bargain and worth revisiting, if I could get people to come over/have me over.

Today is MLK Day, M, 15 Jan 2018 & I have both a bottle & a CAN of 2017 for a side-by-side, back-to-back review!

First, from the bottle: "A special ale for the holidays, Celebration IPA features the first hops of the growing season. This pioneering ale is full of complex flavors and aromas from the generous use of whole-cone American hops."; "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."; "We brew in Chico, CA and Mills River, NC, to bring you the finest quality beer."

In this instance, I only (ha!) had a 12-fl. oz. bottle, but I did not want to do anything more than Pop! the cap & do a gentle pour into the awaiting glass. I really liked that it was very low-maintenance, forming a one-finger cap of dense, foamy, tawny head all on its own without any outside assistance. Color was a beautiful Deep Amber/Light Copper to Copper (SRM = > 13, < 17) with NE-quality clarity. Nose was filled with pine resin cut with freshly-squeezed lemons & grapefruits. 8=O Mouthfeel was medium. I had it a tad cold, coming straight outta the reefer so I allowed it to simply roll around on my tongue & warm up a bit. This = IT! I was complaining recently that modern southern hemisphere hops are being used in AIPAs to impart tropical fruit flavors, but an AIPA should be more bitter. No problem here as the citrus flavors made a cutting, biting swath over my tongue that the cool pine mintiness salved over. Mmmm. I was higher than average on my original, unchanged score, but I am tempted to go even higher after this one. And it was out of a bottle! I CAN't wait for what is coming next! Finish was dry, bitter, citrusy, dank and very mellow.

From the CAN: "Family owned, operated & argued over". That's it?!? Bottle gets the initial nod, at least in this regard. Information, that's the name of the game!

Oh, well, nowt for it but a Crack! & gentle Glug to keep things equal. The head rose of its own accord to form a brief finger of foamy, tawny head, but it quickly fell away. Color was again Deep Amber/Light Copper to Copper (SRM = > 13, < 17), but it seemed a tad brighter than from the bottle. Mind you, that is not my CAN bias speaking, but it was button-bright in this iteration. Nose was really pine-y now, like walking into a cut-yer-own Christmas tree lot with sap everywhere. I kid you not, no citrus notes at all, but an abundance of pine! Mmm. I toasted my drinking companion, Kenny, a now-deceased shipmate who routinely shows up in my kitchen to watch me drink, and took my first draught. Mouthfeel was medium, all things being equal. OMFG, who filled my mouth with pine oil?!? This was like Yards' first iteration of Poor Richard's Tavern Spruce in which they did not know how much of spruce tips was too much but they quickly learned! Phew. I have an affinity for the coolness of pine/spruce in an IPA, but this was like menthol! Finish was extremely cool & dry. Permafrost, anyone? Wow! In a CAN!

I am going to declare this one a tie since both had their merits.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.28/5  rDev -21%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Appearance: Clear, deep, dark copper body with a small, white head.

Smell: Fragrant blanket of hops with scents of citrus, soap, and pine overlaying a rudimentary pale maltiness.

Taste: Pale malts with a clean, though transient malt sweetness. Big push by the hops, with flavors of rosin, lemon-scented soap, and grapefruit pith. Moderate bitterness throughout. Oh, but the humble malts fight valiantly to regain some ground, but, sorry, it's game, set, match for the hop bitterness. Slight grassiness. Long, lingering bitterness on the dry finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium carbonation. Very light stickiness to the mouthfeel.

Drinkability: A Celebration of brash, simplistic bitterness which, if that's your bag, is fine, but I never ever quite understood all the hoopla for this beer.

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Photo of mdaschaf
4.03/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2010 Version

A: Pours a clear ruby/copper color with a chunky, off-white head, 1.5 inches in height. Has great retention.

S: A good amount of piney hops, smells like a christmas tree almost. Some citrus mixed in, but more pine.

T: Nice wet hop flavor, a very nice combination of pine and some grapefruit citrus. A malt sweetness backs it up.

M/D: Medium bodied, has a sweet finish, not very bitter at all. Overall a very solid IPA, I like the sweet finish even though it is not overly malty.

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Photo of duceswild
4.25/5  rDev +2.4%

Photo of jgunther71
3.5/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.35/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I've had two of these in my beer fridge since November and have somehow managed to resist them. I've been reading about how hoppiness decreases over time, which probably means (since I'm of the 'hoppier the better' school) that I should have had them as fresh as possible. Anyway, I'm about to remedy that oversight tonight.

Medium orange-amber with a moderate haze. The head is very large and is dark cream edging into ecru. Stiff and rocky, then lumpy, it sticks in chunks to the inside of the pint glass. It looks for all the world like a thick, frothy milkshake. Ultimately there are chunky rings of lace on the glass and a thick, lumpy film on top of the beer.

The nose is primarily grapefruit peel-like. Upon tasting, a soft (yet insistent) wave of hops hits the taste buds. Several varieties are probably present and I'm betting that Cascade is among them. The hoppiness is primarily citrusy and floral, with a hint of pine. There is also a background spiciness that becomes more noticeable as the beer warms.

There's a fairly large malt load as well. Alcohol is noted, especially after the initial wave of hops subsides (alcohol is almost undetectable in the 2007 Celebration). The finish is long, decently hoppy and ultimately dry. The body/mouthfeel is creamy and is reasonably full.

There's no question that Celebration Ale is an excellent IPA. It doesn't get extraordinarily high marks from me, however, because the hops aren't quite prominent enough. I know that this isn't a DIPA and that it would undoubtedly have been hoppier if I had drunk it sooner after bottling, but even so...

If you love IPAs that are hoppy with a nod toward balance, then start the Celebration early. Next year I'll crack open my first one on the day I buy it.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I never drank 2005 Celebration Ale, thought 2006 Celebration was more maibock-like than IPA-like (woefully underhopped) and just enjoyed the hell out of a bottle 2007 Celebration a few hours ago. (re-reviewed 12/29/07)

When done right, this is clearly an expertly brewed ale. The malt backbone was nice and sturdy (mostly pale with a hint of caramel) and the citric hops were right up front where they belong. I was equally impressed with one of the smoothest, creamiest mouthfeels that I've experienced in a beer of this style in quite some time. So *this* is what Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale is supposed to taste like!

scores for 2004: 4.5, 4.0, 4.0, 4.5, 4.0... ... 4.15
scores for 2007: 4.0, 4.0, 4.5, 4.5, 4.5... ... 4.3

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Photo of drewone
4.08/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2011 on label, pour into snifter

Deep orange color, hazy, lots of small floaties. Nice thick head, thin layer remains for a while, foam lacing sticks to glass.

Hoppy piney, but not hit you over the head. Woodsy and some sweetness too.

Malt sweetness and hops spiciness work well together, perhaps a bit sweet. Satisfying bitter finish/aftertaste.

Creamy mouth feel, smooth but with ends with a tang. Nice amount of carbonation.

Solid, holds up well.

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Photo of Jason
4.25/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz brown bottle with a vintage 2010 date on the label.

What an impressive head, very few beers show a thick lacing like Celebration does. Brassy amber color shows a bright clarity. Sharp citric and minty hop notes in the nose with some toasted grain in the back, a pretty big aroma. Medium bodied with a deep crispness. Hop bitterness is pretty sharp as it easily cuts through the malt from sip to sip. Hop flavors range from tobacco to mint, grapefruit peel to green tea. Toasted grain and a mild caramel maltiness lay deep beneath the hop character. Warming alcohol pokes through with a quick fume and clean fruitiness. Finishes bitter with a quick kiss of malt. This is the typical veteran hophead's first pick for winter seasonals and a great pick at that.

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Photo of mdfb79
4/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 24 oz. bottle into my Duvel tulip.

a - Pours a somewhat transparent dark orange color with two fingers of off white head and moderate carbonation evident. Head lasts for several minutes and leaves a lot of lacing on the glass.

s - Smells of citrus hops, grapefruit, light pine hops, bready malts, and light caramel malts.

t - Tastes of citrus hops, pine hops, fruity malts, caramel malts, spice, and bready malts. Some definite bitterness in the taste but not too much. Very nice taste.

m - Medium body and moderate carbonation. Pretty smooth with some small bitterness.

d - A very nice, easy drinking IPA. Lots of citrus hops mixing with caramel malts in the smell and taste, and not a ton of bitterness in the taste. Would certainly have again and love how cheap it is compared to some other IPAs.

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Photo of Zaphog
4/5  rDev -3.6%

Celebration Fresh Hop IPA from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 4.15 out of 5 with 10,378 ratings
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