Thursday, December 8, 2016

Thirsty Thursday: Sierra Nevada - Celebration Ale

I don't know much, but I know what I like.

If there's a silver lining in the shit-filled dumpster fire that is the year 2016, for me it's my new love affair with craft beer. When it comes to alcohol, I'd been a strict wine drinker for a few years. Just couldn't find a beer I enjoyed (beyond Guinness), nor could I really appreciate harder faire (beyond a good Tanqueray-fuelled gin & tonic, or a couple fingers of my favorite scotch). All that changed, however, on a one-off date to (what is now) my favorite local brewery, 4 Hands Brewing Company. I had my first taste of their Devil's Invention coffee stout, and I fell in love. With the beer, not the date. The girl ghosted me (which is a SHIT thing to do...srsly, just tell someone you're not interested and you can both move on like adults). In the end, I gained a love of an AWESOME brewery and lost the attention of a shitty human. I think I won.

That all happened in the first quarter of this weird, fucked-up year. Fast forward to today, and we see that I've developed a love for craft beer. I may not be a scholar of brewing, but I know what I like. I may not be able to readily tell a difference between a 20 IBU brew and a 70 IBU brew, or specifically notice subtle floral notes, chocolate nibs, or other flavoring mechanisms...but, I'm learning to identify some of the subtleties that I enjoy. For instance, I fucking LOVE centennial hops. Every beer I've had, which is brewed with these specific hops, I absolutely love.

I'm trying this as a new thing...reviewing beers on Thirsty Thursday (as regularly as I can get, anyhow). Today we focus on Sierra Nevada's Celebration Ale. At 6.8% ABV, you can nurse a few of these and have a nice buzz on a weeknight. At 65 IBU's, Celebration has a nice, crisp bite without being overwhelmingly hoppy. Smooth mouthfeel with a pleasant aftertaste. The website says it pairs well with Fish and Chips, Turkey and Dressing, or Polenta and Grilled Vegetables. Tonight, I paired it with a Red's Chicken & Cheese Burrito garnished with Cholula Original hot sauce (the ONLY hot sauce), and it was a very pleasant experience. Maybe it's just me, but I seriously dig IPA with spicy food. This is a seasonal brew, and it runs Oct. - Dec. I love this beer, and I highly recommend trying it. I'll be making it a yearly tradition, myself.

And that's it for this Thirsty Thursday. If you're in the Lou on Thirsty Thursday, I highly recommend stopping by the tasting room at 4 Hands Brewing Company, as they do $9 growlers ($12 if you are a good human, and take care of your bartenders) every Thursday. As always...stay awesome, friends.

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