Sierra Nevada Celebration (2021)

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by carolinabeerguy, Oct 19, 2021.

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  1. Beer_Economicus

    Beer_Economicus Savant (958) Apr 8, 2017 Ohio
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    I've almost always seen the packaging from across the way, but not sure i've ever picked up a can. From far away you can clearly see "CELEBRATION" and also a red background with all the holiday back drop. The IPA is less front and center.

    I hear what you're saying, but in terms of what the eyes quickly grab, it's not the word IPA.
     
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  2. BillAfromSoCal

    BillAfromSoCal Zealot (584) Aug 24, 2020 California

    clarification: I knew it was an IPA, but given the broad spectrum of IPA characteristics I assumed that it would have some more hoilday-ish attributes, especially since multiple others on this forum have said specifically that they were not yet in the mood for a holiday-oriented beer. Between the can appearance and some of the comments on this forum, I wrongly assumed this would have winter-ish attributes.
     
  3. zid

    zid Poo-Bah (1,817) Feb 15, 2010 New York
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    Keep in mind that Celebration dates back to a time when craft brewers weren't even marketing many beers as IPAs. The marketplace today is tremendously different in that regard. It goes back to the early 80s, but I don't know if SN put "IPA" on the label before 2014. Rather than judging it by today's marketing standards, it's better to embrace the situation that a craft beer that old still sells today... since its continued presence adds some desperately needed character of longevity to the craft beer shelves.

    Regarding the "taste" of the holidays, there's a tradition of spiced holiday beers, but there's perhaps a bigger tradition of holiday beers that are simply stronger than a brewer's flagship. Celebration falls into the broader latter category. For clarity, I am not grouping hops in with other spices in this context. When people think that a holiday beer needs to be "spiced," that's fine for a personal preference, but it's not reflective of actual holiday beers in the world. The thinking that a holiday beer is spiced is the reason why people always were convinced that they could taste the spices in Celebration... even though they were non-existent. It's a case of mind over matter.
     
  4. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (2,544) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
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    And I didn't know there were specific flavors for beers in celebration of each holiday. Celebration Ale predates (in the US, anyway) the spiced "Christmas" beer - perhaps initially made popular by Anchor's Our Special Ale BUT that beer was not spiced until 1987. Previously, in the pre-craft era, many brewers put out Holiday beers, some simply their standard beer with Christmas themed labeling, but many were special beers.

    Would people expect a 4th of July beer to taste of fireworks or hot dogs? Easter Beers (once known in the US for the time of brewers' Bock beer releases) taste of candy or Ham (or rabbit!). Hey, Veterans Day is coming up - should the beer taste of gunpowder & napalm or K-rations? A Thanksgiving beer (a holiday I association with SNCA more than Christmas, actually) doesn't taste of cranberry sauce or turkey gravy. A Halloween beer doesn't taste of pumpkin pie (oh, damn, another trend that began after Celebration...:grimacing:). Well, Coors Light doesn't.

    Looking at Celebration Ale (yeah, it'll always be that to me, not "Fresh Hop IPA") as a Christmas "gift" from Sierra Nevada - which you do have to pay for, granted :grin:. Did people complain that they got a bicycle or skateboard for Christmas and not a sled ("Rosebud...")?
     
  5. Beer_Economicus

    Beer_Economicus Savant (958) Apr 8, 2017 Ohio
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    I know this is at least half tongue-in-cheek, and I understand as @zid pointed out as well that holiday means something different now than it once did. That said, imagine doing a survey where you said, Imagine there is a cookie or cake for holiday X; what do you imagine those flavors to be like?" You would get a pretty definitive, obvious answer for Christmas, and for Thanksgiving you would get something similar, but Pumpkin would be an addition likely lacking for Christmas. You would never see that for any of the other holidays. Regionally, you might (e.g. angelfood cake for Easter), but not on such a grand scale. Even across the world, in cold months these 'warming spices' are pretty well connected.

    So, while this may be a bit of a stretch, it's not unreasonable to think that today, or during the last 5-10 years, when people see a beer that looks like christmas, that in some way they expect that beer to have 'holiday' flavors.
     
  6. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (3,686) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois
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    Didn't Coors' long lost Holiday Lager* (can't recall the actual name, but it was actually a beer I looked forward to every year) have a theme label?

    *Wintefest! Great take on a strong lager by an otherwise lackluster brewery. Wish I could still get it.

    https://www.beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/306/20765/

    One of the later labels, but an obvious holiday theme.
     
    #326 steveh, Nov 10, 2021
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2021
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  7. pbrian

    pbrian Crusader (752) Feb 8, 2001 Connecticut

    Much like Anchor's Liberty Ale started out as their Christmas beer way back when. (IIRC)
     
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  8. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Poo-Bah (1,996) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts
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    No! Buy MORE of it!

    We want Sierra Nevada to continue brewing it, so it needs to SELL. (only half joking, if you don't like it, you don't like)

    Regarding its association with the holidays...There are many beers across the country labeled as "Winter IPAs".

    My guess is, due to its elevated ABV relative to Sierra Nevada Pale in the '80s, this was considered a "winter" beer. In the '80s this was likely considered a higher ABV for a hoppy beer (it wasn't called an IPA back then).

    You can typically find it on shelves through December, and their spring seasonal doesn't pop up until around January. Due to the fresh hop season, it needs to be released in October though. I see it as a "Celebration" of the holidays, including Thanksgiving.
     
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  9. JimKal

    JimKal Zealot (542) Jul 31, 2011 North Carolina

    Same here. I looked hard but couldn't find the date on the outside. Fortunately it was canned Celebration so I knew it would be relatively fresh. The date on the cans was 10/1/22.
     
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  10. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (3,686) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois
    Society

    I've checked some other 6-pack packaging in different stores and see the dates on them -- but it's black ink jetting on red ink... very difficult to make out. Probably why that batch pictured previously was dated twice -- just to be sure.
     
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  11. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (2,544) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
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    Yeah, it was interesting - another 80s era Coors product when they were trying to expand their portfolio and keep up with (or get ahead of) the other national breweries.

    Apparently they still use the name (recipe? who knows?) for a seasonal beer from Molson Coors' CO-only "Colorado Native" brand.
    https://www.coloradonative.com/beer/winterfest
     
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  12. JimKal

    JimKal Zealot (542) Jul 31, 2011 North Carolina

    When you're right, you're right. I went back and retrieved the packaging on the 12 pack and did find the date listed as 10/4/21. Also in reviewing my post I apparently thought I was drinking NEXT years Celebration with my 10/1/22 reference. I am in serious need of an editor!
     
  13. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (3,686) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois
    Society

    I've read about that and would definitely like to try it -- especially if it's the same as Winterfest.

    I also see there's a lot of conjecture over Winterfest being an ale or lager. I'm pretty sure I remember those early releases labeled as lagers. Who knows now?

    [​IMG]

    Guess my memory ain't so bad after all. :slight_smile:
     
    #333 steveh, Nov 10, 2021
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2021
  14. zid

    zid Poo-Bah (1,817) Feb 15, 2010 New York
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    It's worth watching the video in this link and jumping to the 6 minute mark.

    @jesskidden
     
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  15. Bitterbill

    Bitterbill Poo-Bah (8,354) Sep 14, 2002 Wyoming
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    I remember Winterfest being more flavourful than when I reviewed it in 2005.

    Re the Colorado Native, Frontier Brewing and Taproom had a keg of it but the name had to be different. I wish I could remember what name they (the Brewery) gave it.
     
  16. deanzaZZR

    deanzaZZR Aspirant (244) Jan 8, 2015 California

    I think part of the lasting appeal and success of Celebration Ale is exactly because it is not a sweet, spiced (optional) Winter Warmer. It titillates the taste buds instead of lulling them to sleep.

    Fresh Hop
    IPA
     
  17. deanzaZZR

    deanzaZZR Aspirant (244) Jan 8, 2015 California

    He shoots and all net!
     
  18. John_M

    John_M Poo-Bah (7,359) Oct 25, 2003 Oregon
    Moderator Society Trader

    I'm pretty certain SN didn't (put IPA on the label prior to then). I'm not sure when they started doing that.

    My recollection is that initially Celebration ale was promoted as an amped up version of SNPA. My friends and I were big fans of SNPA, so no surprise that we just loved Celebration Ale. We felt the flavor profile of Celebration was similar to SNPA, but with just more of everything. We used to think of it as a high octane version of SNPA (though obviously it wasn't just the alcohol that was higher in Celebration Ale than SNPA).

    Considering how much the craft beer landscape has changed since Celebration Ale first came out, it's pretty remarkable that the beer is still around today, made in much the same way as it was when SN first released it (all those years ago).

    The beer has finally started to show up on draft around town here in PDX, and I'm looking forward to having my first pint tonight. Can't wait! Cheers!
     
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  19. pbrian

    pbrian Crusader (752) Feb 8, 2001 Connecticut


    That’s an awesome interview/video, and maybe (?) where it stuck in my brain that Liberty was brewed (second time around) as their Christmas Ale.
     
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  20. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Poo-Bah (1,996) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts
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    Sorry @zid , hadn't read your (excellent) response before posting. You said pretty much the same thing in this thread.
     
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  21. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (2,544) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
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    Other than:
    Ballantine India Pale Ale
    Bartels India Pale Ale(Syracuse)
    Betz India Pale Ale (Philadelphia)
    Beverwyck India Ale
    Boston Old IPA
    Crown India Ale
    Dobler India Pale Ale
    Downs (Van Buren)
    Enterprise India Pale Ale
    Feigenspan India Pale Ale
    Fidelio East India Pale Ale
    General Braddock India Ale
    Hornung’s India Ale
    Kent Ale India Pale (Krueger)
    King Phillip's India Pale Ale
    Moore & Quinn India Pale Ale
    Neuweiler India Pale Ale
    Old India Vatted - (Croft- MA)
    Old India Ale - (Hull -CT)
    Old Rip India Pale Ale - (Southern Indiana)
    Old India Pale Ale (Commercial Brewing - Charlestown, MA)
    Wm. Peter India Pale Ale(Union City, NJ)
    Pony Ale (Wehle)
    Quandt's India Pale Ale
    Queen City India Pale Ale
    Regal India Ale
    Utica Club India Pale Ale
    Wehle Mule Head India Ale
    Westminster India Pale Ale
     
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  22. BillAfromSoCal

    BillAfromSoCal Zealot (584) Aug 24, 2020 California

    For all you fanatics in SoCal, Trader Joe's in Yorba Linda has several six packs for about $8.50 each.
    fine....so to make me appear to be a compliant, team player I did....I bought 1 more can. Maybe one of my friends will drink it, or I will try it again without the influence of pre-existing assumptions that I originally had.. I admit that it is a good price for an above average WC IPA.
     
  23. sharpski

    sharpski Meyvn (1,277) Oct 11, 2010 Oregon
    Society Trader

    I hope you took the time to explain both sides of the wet/fresh debate while she drank it. If she sides with you, so be it, as long as she has all the facts. :slight_smile:
     
  24. sharpski

    sharpski Meyvn (1,277) Oct 11, 2010 Oregon
    Society Trader

    Per a secret clause in the Reinheitsgebot, Bock beers must contain at least 1% goat (hence the use of goats on the labels), though many German brewers use more.
     
  25. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (3,686) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois
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  26. John_M

    John_M Poo-Bah (7,359) Oct 25, 2003 Oregon
    Moderator Society Trader

    Having my first glass of the season (finally!) on draft at Belmont Station in PDX. Trying not to gulp it down too quickly. Enjoyable as always!
     
  27. unlikelyspiderperson

    unlikelyspiderperson Poo-Bah (2,195) Mar 12, 2013 California
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    She's the herbalist in the family. She takes the freshness of her dried herbs very seriously.
     
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  28. BillAfromSoCal

    BillAfromSoCal Zealot (584) Aug 24, 2020 California

    I was going to let this pass unanswered, but the effects of my current holiday beer, a St. Bernardus Triple Belgian "Christmas Ale", following on the heals of my Athletic brewing "Dark&Gourdy" won't let me. To answer your question: "Yes"...when genetic modification produces beer ingredients that impart flavors of hot dogs or whatever other flavors you conjured up as associated with holidays are created, then a beer that so boldly references the holiday probably should produce some feeling or taste reminiscent of the holiday. In the case of Thanksgiving and Christmas we already are readily able to produce those flavors, so that is what I expect. In the case of Easter, and the other holidays you reference, probably not (yet). As for Veterans Day, I'm not sure what self-sacrifice, blood, and patriotism taste like, all of which are more applicable than your reference to K-rats or napalm.
     
  29. John_M

    John_M Poo-Bah (7,359) Oct 25, 2003 Oregon
    Moderator Society Trader

    To their credit, most German brewers do an admirable job of blending in the goat flavor with the base beer. The brewers over at Cantillon... not so much.
     
  30. Bitterbill

    Bitterbill Poo-Bah (8,354) Sep 14, 2002 Wyoming
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    You guys lost me.
     
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  31. deanzaZZR

    deanzaZZR Aspirant (244) Jan 8, 2015 California

    FRESH HOP
    IPA

    lol
     
  32. JerzDevl2000

    JerzDevl2000 Poo-Bah (4,660) Oct 7, 2005 New Jersey
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    Go figure - I reviewed both of these beers in December of 2005, right after I joined this site.
     
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  33. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Poo-Bah (1,996) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts
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    You could always age the can. It does age nicely for an IPA.
     
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  34. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (3,686) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois
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    I have a 2020 bottle ready to sample tomorrow afternoon -- looking forward to it.
     
  35. nomisugitai

    nomisugitai Devotee (436) Mar 11, 2006 New Jersey
    Society

    That essence of goat has the whole year to settle on the bottom of the tanks before they clean them out to bottle the bock beer!
     
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  36. unlikelyspiderperson

    unlikelyspiderperson Poo-Bah (2,195) Mar 12, 2013 California
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    I guess I understand how someone would see the celebration label and think "Christmas". But they don't actually mention any holidays anywhere. To me, it always has represented the celebration of harvest season and the move into the less busy and more social time of year. The snowy cabin represents the end of the outside work season and the onset of the season of indoor projects and socializing with friends and family. Our ag season is wrapping up right as celebration hits the shelves and it is an excellent beer for sharing with friends that I haven't had time to catch up with over the previous busy months.
     
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  37. BillAfromSoCal

    BillAfromSoCal Zealot (584) Aug 24, 2020 California

    Our ag season is wrapping up??? Dude, what part of CA do you live in? My wife still has tomatoes coming in in our garden, and the food bank farm where I volunteer has 40+ acres we aren't even close to harvesting. In fact we are still planting. Ok, so I have read the multitudes of posts referencing Celebration mainly being an annual release of higher than normal ABV IPA, but when the current beer spectrum includes high ABV IPAs all year round and when the beer is shelved with holiday beers and when others on this site refer to Celebration as a holiday beer that they are "not ready for" and when the label shows winter scenes that could be right off of a Christmas card, I pretty much reject the assertion that the average consumer who has no interest in or knowledge of the historical background of this beer should not be treating this as a holiday beer with associated expectations for it.
     
  38. PapaGoose03

    PapaGoose03 Poo-Bah (3,728) May 30, 2005 Michigan
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    The reason it's called 'Celebration' is because you celebrate when your store finally puts some on the shelf. It must have arrived yesterday or today because I checked two days ago. It was packaged 10/20/21 so fresh enough for me to still enjoy. :slight_smile::slight_smile::slight_smile:
     
  39. unlikelyspiderperson

    unlikelyspiderperson Poo-Bah (2,195) Mar 12, 2013 California
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    Far northwest. I didn't say YOUR ag season was wrapping up. I know you folks down south have a hard time remembering, but california is a very large and ecologically diverse state. And Sierra Nevada isn't a southern California brewery, the mountain range they tie a lot of their brand image to is certainly heading into winter these days. More importantly, the annual harvests that are relevant to beer, especially hops, have just wrapped up when celebration hits the shelf.

    I certainly understand why someone would assume celebration was a much different beer than it is, especially with the old packaging. These days it says Fresh Hop IPA in huge letters on the label. Its their winter seasonal so it has a classic Sierras winter scene on the label
     
  40. Obsidian81

    Obsidian81 Initiate (71) Mar 3, 2016 Illinois

    My local Hyvee said they were getting “the Sierra Nevada seasonal” this Tuesday, so I went. Turns out, they got the stupid kombucha bullshit, so I had to go Iowa to get some. I ended up with two 12 packs.
     
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