Blog entries categorized under January 2014 Editions
In 1981 Ken Grossman, owner of the Sierra Nevada Brewery, brewed his first batch of “Celebration Ale.” This beer quickly became the classic ale sought after year after year during the Christmas Season.
Celebration Ale is an India Pale Ale (IPA) made with a twist. It is brewed in late fall using hops just recently harvested from the fields. These newly picked hops, although dry by the time they are used, provide a fresh flavor and aroma that can’t be duplicated. The beer would have a very different character if these same hops were allowed to dry for six to nine months. The brewermaster uses a blend of Cascade, Centennial and Chinook hops that together provide plenty of bitterness with a moderate amount of hop aroma. The combination produces a bitterness level of 65 IBUs, which is at the high end of the bitterness scale for an IPA, as well as for most beers, with the exception of barley wine. Celebration Ale, however, it is not a “hop bomb” that grabs your tongue and squeezes. Rather, it is a skillful blending of fresh hops, and two row pale malt and caramalt that yields a delicious and flavorful beer. Additionally, Celebration Ale is bottled conditioned meaning a small amount of sugar and yeast are added to the bottle before it is capped to induce a secondary fermentation that produces natural carbonation and provides additional life on the shelf.
Do you need to get away? Are you tired of vacationing in the same place year after year? If you answered yes to these questions, maybe your first resolution for the New Year should be to plan something new, fun and completely different - so, why not take a beer vacation? A beer vacation can take you to some never before visited place like Belgium with its unending variety of beer styles, or it might be an adventure closer to home visiting local microbreweries within a day or weekend’s drive. In either case, the options for a beer vacation are almost limitless.
Vacations are tonic for the soul. They provide us a mental break from the everyday routine of life. They refresh and recharge us so that we return more energetic and renewed about our lives and our jobs. They can be used as learning experiences or simply as a way to relax. The nice thing about taking a beer vacation is you can do it with family, with friends or all by yourself. The only rule is there is no rule.
If vacations are meant to fun, then a beer vacation should be a hoot and a really cool thing to do. There are new places to visit and new things to see along the way, while having the opportunity to stop and savor new unfamiliar brews. And, as beer drinking is a social event, meeting new people may turn out to be the most fun and rewarding part of all.