Sierra Nevada Celebration Fresh Hop IPA

This is the last in the set of Cincinnati-area reindeer-festooned winter ales from my brother. This is especially important to note, as this beer is brewed in two locations - one in North Carolina and one in California, this deer appears to be wounded in that it is missing an eye, and it is an IPA (not a winter ale). BUT, it IS from my brother, and that means quite a bit in itself.

The murky amber beer has an off-white head that is just as sticky as an IPA should be. It leaves lacing but not so much that you might fear having to get the dried bubbles off the sides of the glass afterward. The aroma is a bit of indiscernible malt backing a citrus and pine hop mixture that is quite inviting.

First sip is smoother than most IPAs. The malt is doing a great job tamping down the bitterness of the hops, but it's also muting the flavor behind a kind of bread crust that is not unappealing, but it's not why you crack open an IPA. Well, it's not why *I* crack open an IPA. I don't know if or why you might do it; get your own blog.

Tip-in is sweet bread and honey malt with light carbonation tingle and very scant pine hops. The middle spreads out into the place where hops live; they are pine and floral with solid citrus helping them along, but the stinging they present with a previously untapped bitterness takes away from the enjoyment. The finish is more sweetness from the honey and bread while the pine and citrus hops fade away.

Bottom Line: Not the best IPA, but it's certainly not the worst. I wouldn't feel too bad ordering one of these while out and about.



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