Celebration Time, C’mon!

On election night 2000, I got out of work at 6pm, went to P&C on Seneca Turnpike in Syracuse, got some groceries and a 12-pack of Molson Canadian. I stayed up until about 3am, until they announced George Dubya Bush had won the election and then I rolled over to fall asleep, assuming that was that and it was all over.

Obviously, it was just the beginning. And here we are, eight-tenths of a decade later, and the world is a very different place.
I am having one more beer before I go to bed tonight, the last fully day of the Bush presidency, the monolith that signals a very clear shift in our history.

Originally, my last beer before I turned in was going to be the outstanding Trout River Chocolate Oatmeal Stout. It’s rich and smoky and … well, I’ll save that for a post of its own. Strangely, I had one more left in me before I went to bed. And one called my name.

Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale 2008.

I randomly picked a limited edition Olde Saratoga Brewery St. Patrick’s Day special edition pint glass. Not only does it have a horseshoe, but also a leprechaun — clearly one of the forefathers of not only myself but of my fellow Irishman Barack O’Bama.

Sierra Nevada, as we can all attest, know what the hell they are doing. And Celebration is the perfect beer to ease me from one era to the next.

It’s a cloudy, luminescent dark orange color; it appears as if it’s glowing from within like a lava lamp. The head is big and puffy and stubborn; it does not go away quickly. Curiously, there are some small bits of sediment floating in there.

The aroma is a first hit of flowery pale malts; some crystally spices and some breadyness. The hops hit you in two waves in the nose: the first hit is woody and resiny, and then citrus and perfume. The taste follows suit: bitter woody hops on the palate, with citrus at the end. Remarkable consistency, really — something I think we could all use a bit more of. It’s bitter, and then sweet. The initial hop slaps you across the face, the second hop apologizes and gives you an ice pack. The malts are also a great balance, some spicy and crystalline, some dark and caramel-laden.

It’s not balance along a two-dimensional continuum; It’s like a matrix of different flavors and aromas.

The beer is fizzy, thick and challenging. It’s creamy and it bites you on the way down. The hops are both bitter and sweet, and there ain’t nothing wrong with that.

No matter who you voted for, enjoy the inauguration on Tuesday, and even if you don’t love the new president, use the day to love the country. The new guy might not be able to live up to #43 in the drinking department, but he seems to do okay.

~ by William H on January 20, 2009.

One Response to “Celebration Time, C’mon!”

  1. How did Sierra Nevada get Bret “the Hitman” Hart to appear on its label?

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