I am a huge fan of Sierra Nevada. Their beers are consistently good to great, with one notable exception, giving them a Hall of Fame batting average. The Celebration Ale is one of their better beers. There is nothing especially Christmassy about this beer as there are no spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, or cardamon; it is not particularly heavy; nor is the 6.5 % ABV is all that high. In fact, the only signifiers that this is a Christmas beer is the end of the year release date, and the poinsettias, pine trees and snowbound cabin on the label. I am not complaining as this malty and hoppy IPA is one of my favorite harbingers of the Holiday Season, along with Advent Calendars, the Alastair Sim version of A Christmas Carol, and Christmas cookies, loads and loads of Christmas cookies. My only gripe with this beer is the limited availability as I would drink this all year long. It is that good, 8.5/10.
The First Beer of Christmas: Full Sail Wassail, Hood River, Oregon – I had this on tap at the Ginger Man. Dark velvety brown with ruby highlights and a fluffy white head. This was mildly sweet, with a caramel taste and some dried fruit and spiciness as well. Very good, 7/10.
The Second Beer of Christmas: Anchor 2010 Christmas Ale – The Grand Daddy of American Christmas Ales, with an ever evolving recipe. I had this on tap at the Ginger Man, and this year’s version has a spicy ginger aftertaste, which I liked, but everyone else who tried it with me hated. Not as good as years past, but still a fine Christmas Beer, 7/10. Read the rest of this entry »