Friday, December 7, 2007

The Session # 10: Sierra Nevada Celebration

Side note: "The Session" is a monthly beer blogging event. Each month a new blogger picks a theme and anybody is free to contribute by writing a blog entry related to the theme and sending to the host on the first Friday of each month. This month's theme is "Let it snow, let it snow, Winter Seasonal Beers" and is hosted by Ted at Barley Vine. It's my first contribution to the Session.

They say certain aromas can trigger deep emotional responses in people. While I've certainly found this to be true, I've also found that certain beers can trigger similar responses in me. Such is the case with my favorite holiday seasonal: Sierra Nevada's Celebration Ale. In the world of holiday seasonal beers the norm is to revel in the malty side of beerdom and to add liberal doses of spicing. Dark in color and deep in flavor, these beers are perfect for enjoying around the fire. Sierra Nevada bucks this trend by producing a bitter, hop fueled, amber elixir that epitomizes the American IPA style.

I look forward to seeing the first cases of Celebration showing up in my local bottle shop every season. It has come to represent everything that the holiday season should be, but is often not. It can be an extremely stressful time of year between work and personal life and Celebration Ale has become a lighthouse of sorts to guide me closer to what is really important. Too often we get caught up in working late to meet year-end deadlines, trudging through overcrowded shopping malls looking for the perfect present, fighting traffic, dealing with difficult family members, getting electrocuted (that might just be me), and any number of other irritations. When struggling with all of this and trying to remain cheerful, it helps to know that soon I'll be able to go home and enjoy the company of my wife and two dogs and enjoy a tasty Celebration Ale. I make sure to keep my fridge stocked so I can always look forward to this simple pleasure.

A second reason why this is one of my most loved beers is that it was the first IPA I truly enjoyed. This was fairly soon after discovering craft beer, but I was still more taken with the malty side of the spectrum, the porters, stouts, and scotch ales. IPAs were just too bitter, but every once in a while I would try another to see if my tastes were changing. My first Celebration Ale was the first time that I realized my tastes had changed and that I was actually enjoying an IPA. There was no looking back from there as I've become a full-on hop head and I have no regrets.

As the holiday season continues I urge everyone to take some time out of their busy schedules to think about what really matters in their life; slow things down and actually enjoy the season. Having a Celebration Ale will help, I promise!

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