Monday, December 15, 2014

Celebration Fresh Hop IP (review)

It has been awhile since I reviewed a beer, but as I my own home brewed Irish Stout needs a couple more weeks to bottle condition this seems like a good time to do it. As my Irish Stout suggests, winter is upon us, typically the time of year for dark, rich, malty comforting beers to warm the heart and beat back the winter blues. But as most of the world's hops are harvested between August and October, the logical brewer might seize the opportunity to brew a hop-forward beer while the hops are at their freshest and most flavorful. With their Celebration Fresh Hop IPA, Sierra Nevada Brewing Company, now the 7th largest brewer in America, is just such a brewer.

Established in 1979, Sierra Nevada was an early entrant into the craft brewing movement, and one of a few survivors from those early days, but I’ve been avoiding their beers as I shop the local shelves, thinking them too successful and too ‘mainstream.’ But if the rest of their line up is as good as Celebration Fresh Hop IPA, it won’t be my last Sierra Nevada review.

Celebration Fresh Hop IPA has outstanding flavor. All IPA’s are “hoppy,” that’s the point, but “Celebration” is different. The freshness truly does make all the difference. If you’ve ever smelled fresh whole hops off the bine, or even the pellets used in brewing, you’ll know the flavor (and aroma) I’m talking about; bright bold, lemony and pine flavors in front of a sweet two-row pale and caramel malt backbone.

Celebration Fresh Hop IPA pours pale brown and boasts a huge, long lasting, light, off-white, bubbly head of foam. 

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