Call it a self imposed restriction, but I just can't start having Winter Ales until after Halloween. To me the start of Winter and all that that means is November 1 (even if its not all that cold in Houston). So once November came around I eagerly went to my local Central Market to see what was on the shelves and low and behold I see something that I'd never tried, and from Sierra Nevada no less. This will be the first winter seasonal of many I'm sure as over the next few weeks I'll be trying as many winter beers as I possibly can.
The Beer: Celebration Ale, Sierra Nevada's Holiday beer weighs in at a potent 6.8% alcohol. It pours a nice brownish amber with a thin creamy white head. Its dry hopped and its IBU's are around 68. The nose is rich, malty, some caramel and a bit of floural hops. However the mouth is BIG on the hops and I guess this is where my disappointment is. When I think of winter ales, I want something rich and malty, not hoppy. While this is a very fine beer full of citrus and piney-ness, its just not what I was expecting, and frankly not what I wanted. As a beer I'd rank it as a solid B +, as a Winter style ale which is what I wanted it would be, I'd give it a C. Here is what the folks at BA had to say.