Celebrating New Beers Eve

By on December 28, 2016

Since I’ve been on a seasonal kick, I thought I might try and find a few beers to help ring in the New Year. There must be beers more celebratory than Miller High Life, the “champagne of beers.” (The mega brew is so-called because of the shape of its bottle and the fact it was released just before New Year’s Eve, on Dec. 30, 1903.)

The High Life aside, I immediately remembered my old friend Celebrator, which I first found in a small cheese, wine, and beer shop in Chincoteague Island, Virginia.* I actually bought the beer because of its packaging; each bottle of Celebrator is sold with a tiny, plastic, long-horned goat attached to the neck by a red string. The white nick-knack is now a permanent fixture as a playing piece in one of our family board games. (In full disclosure, he’s the robber in our set of Settlers of Catan.)

Celebrator is brewed by the family-run Aying brewery in the district of Munich the brewery is named after. Aying has brewed beer for more than 130 years. One of many beers from the brewery, Celebrator is a bottom fermented, dark doublebock carrying an impressive ABV of 6.7 percent. It’s a wonderfully rich brew with hints of molasses and oak. If correctly poured the head is thick and aromatic, but will dissipate rather quickly. The color is dark with tints of ruby in the right light.

Highly rated by many beer reviewing sites, Celebrator has been the recipient of many awards in competition, including Gold at the World Beer Awards in 2015 and the World Beer Championships in 2011. This is a great host or hostess gift for that New Year’s Eve party, just sayin.’ *Four-packs of Celebrator can be found at Weis beer markets.

Each bottle of Celebrator is sold with a tiny, plastic, long-horned goat attached to the neck by a red string. Buy enough, and you can trim an entire Christmas tree! (Photo by Michael Upton)

Each bottle of Celebrator is sold with a tiny, plastic, long-horned goat attached to the neck by a red string. Buy enough, and you can trim an entire Christmas tree! (Photo by Michael Upton)

On this side of the pond, Sierra Nevada released its Celebration seasonal IPA in 1981. I’ve seen this brew come and go in popularity throughout the years and the last one I had was at Loxley’s restaurant back in 2004. Good thing I took notes.

This beer doesn’t overdo it like some holiday beers, which can taste like liquefied juniper bushes. Celebration’s subtle citrus flavor masks the faint pine notes and gives the brew a nice balance with caramel maltiness. This is a great seasonal for hop heads and features Cascade, Centennial, and Chinook hops.

One more celebratory beer to try (if you can find it) is the bubbly Mikkeller Nelson Sauvin Brut, which is aged in Austrian Sauvignon Blanc barrels. It has hints of grape.

Next up for Hop’in Around: I’ll take a look at a beer pairing dinner between the General Sutter Inn and St. Boniface Craft brewing. As a teaser (if you didn’t get tickets to the Dec. 28 event), the menu includes poke (Hawaiian raw fish dish), spinach salad, chicken mole, and a butter-poached fig crisp. As for beers, St. Boniface will be offering their signature Bulls Head Mild; their Berliner Weisse; the newest IPA to be canned by the brewery, Mosaic; and the big hitter, Bourbon barrel-aged Hegemony Stout.

Cheers and thanks for reading!

Michael C. Upton is a freelance writer specializing in arts and leisure. He welcomes comments at somepromcu@gmail.com and facebook.com/SomebodiesProductions.

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