Sunday, November 30, 2008

CELEBRATION!!!




Those of you who know me well know that my all-time favorite beer is Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale (SNCA, all acronymed out), a seasonal beer that comes out in time for Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year enjoyment. Well, the 2008 version of SNCA is out now and it's as great as ever, but I have to wonder if they tweak this beer from year to year, as Anchor Brewing Co. reportedly does to its holiday seasonal, Our Special Ale. I happen to have the 2006 and 2007 versions of SNCA in my beer fridge (yes, a dedicated beer refrigerator, a DBR, since we're acronyming today--I promise to stop, I really do), and I think this year's Celebration is sweeter, maltier and rounder than the previous two years. I've always appreciated SNCA's balance of hops and malt, and its versatility with food, especially hearty holiday stuff, but I think this year, Sierra Nevada dialed back the hops a bit, which is fine by me, I do like maltier beers sometimes (like Oktoberfests and porters and doppelbocks). I'd grab some of this stuff ASAP, before it's all gone, and if you see it on tap, definitely have a pint. Just remember who introduced you to your new favorite beer.

15 comments:

okbrewer said...

I always get at least a case of the Celebration and this year is no different! But when I bought the SNCA case I also picked up some of the Harvest Ale! Now, that is good stuff, too! Have you had it yet? They have 3 varieties but I have only had the Harvest.

Bob R in OKC

okbrewer said...

BTW, either of those beers would go well with a cigar! When are you gonna talk cigars!?

Bob R in OKC

Rich Pawlak said...

I'll start when you do.

joshuatree100 said...

I agree on the celebration ale with this year's batch. I think the hops are definitely tamed back this year. I enjoyed a pint of this on draft at "The Stuffed Sandwich" right before Thanksgiving (Side note: If you haven't been to The Stuffed Sandwich and are in the L.A. area, I recommend going at least once. Heck, I will even meet you there).
I opened one of my 2006 and 2008 bottles of Anchor's OSA over Thanksgiving. I loved the 2006 OSA and thought it aged well, going great with Turkey Day food. The Celebration will be one of my top Christmas holiday beers with family this year.

Rich Pawlak said...

I made it to the Stuffed Sandwich back in 1997 while on a business trip; it was an amazing place, and I cant imagine how its evolved in the 11 years since that trip.

Prost123 said...

I expect the Stuffed Sandwich hasn't evolved a bit since it opened. The owner (Sam) is a character in his own right and does things the way he wants (as it should be!) I doubt he has changed the place since your last visit. Enjoying a brew and conversating with Sam is an interesting adventure. I went with a friend just before Thanksgiving and tried some of Sam's favorites:
-Carlsberg Sverige 2006 Porter
-Bush (Scaldis) Noel
-Pinkus Pilsner
-Oudbeitje Lambic/ Hanssens Artisanaal bvba (I had never heard of this one... but I thouroughly enjoyed it. bought a bottle home for the fridge).
-And a hefeweizen from Santa Barbara (can't remember the name).

Anyhow, I stumbled across your blog because my brother Scott mentioned that he was a good friend of yours. He was telling me about a beer he brewed that you entered in a contest for him and he won a top award. Too bad he didn't keep any of it, I would have liked to try it out. You don't happen to have any left, do you? Or is this just an urban legend from my brother's vault?

Rich Pawlak said...

If your brother Scott lives in Somerset, NJ, then we're talking about the right guy; he's a great homebrewer, but I've never entered any of his brews in a contest, but I have enjoyed each and every one he's ever given me. We share/trade cigars and good beers whenever we can ever manage to get together. Haven't smoked a good (or bad) ceegar with him in a LONG time; I better correct that.

Prost123 said...

Yep. That is my brother. He does seem to always have a nice stock of Cuban cigars whenever I visit him.

Rich Pawlak said...

Well, next time you pay a visit to your brother, dont be a stranger; get him to bring you over to raid my beer fridge and humidors!

Prost123 said...

I have a tentative trip planned back east in the spring and will be staying with my brother. We might have to take you up on that. Are you the friend that has supplied him with Utopias? I picked up a bottle of 2007 last month to enjoy with him over Christmas, but it looks like his plans have changed.

As a side note, I picked up two six-packs of celebration this weekend (in your blogs honor) and a St. Bernardus abt 12 anniversary edition. Both are brilliant beers. The celebrations are almost gone...

Rich Pawlak said...

We've shared and I've given him some aged SA TripleBock, but no Utopias.
And damn fine beer purchases for the weekend!

Prost123 said...

This weekend will be spent with friends. Planning on opening at least two Anchor OSA's and am looking forward to seeing what my friends bring. 'Tis the season for Noel's!
How do you like the SA TripleBock? Is it really a Bock or does SA just call it a bock? Do you have a site where you list your beer reviews? I just started out about a year ago and still developing my senses in this area...

Rich Pawlak said...

If I "review" a beer, it will be here. Holiday beers are generally my favorite beers of the year, followed closely by Oktoberfests. I've alwys thought of SA Triplebock as a beer cordial, something you sip with a cigar or with some nibbles of really good chocolate. I also think it goes well with creme brulee and bourbon bread pudding.

Prost123 said...

I've always been a sucker for wheat beers and porters. I was in my beer shop last night and noticed they just got in some SA Chocolate Bocks. I am not familiar with this brew so I picked up a bottle on recommendation of the manager. You seem to be the guru of pairing food and beer. Any suggestions for what to eat with this brew?

Rich Pawlak said...

Oddly enough Ive never had the SA Choc Bock, so I'd really wanna taste it before trying to imagine a good food pairing. But it might just be its own dessert in a glass, needing little or nothing with which to pair it.