Four Corners’ Celebración Makes The Holidays Happy.

Welcome to On Tap! Each week in this recurring feature, we’ll take an in-depth look at one of the many beers now available in the suddenly crowded North Texas brew scene. The goal here is to look at these area beers without our local goggles on and to wonder aloud, “Is this beer good or do I just like it because it’s local?” Should be a fun experiment, no? Cheers to that!

This week, we sipped on Four Corners Brewing Co.’s Celebración.Fast Facts on Four Corners Celebración.
Style: Belgian Dark Strong Ale.
ABV: 7.8 percent.
International Bitterness Units (IBUs): 21.
Color: Deep ruby.
Availability: Seasonal/limited.

Overview.
We’re about due for another visit with a Four Corners beer. But first things first, an open letter:

Dear Four Corners,

Can you please bring back Block Party? I’m missing Block Party. It’s a good beer and I cannot find it because it’s a seasonal beer, and we’re not in whatever season it is that you brew that beer. If these new seasonals are released at the expense of, or instead of Block Party, then that’s a major bummer.

Just know this: put me down for two cases of Block Party when it’s available. Take my money!

OK, it feels good to get that out of the way. In another of its seasonal offerings, Four Corners released Celebración in 2015, and here it is again on 2016’s holiday beer shortlist. Yes, I’m a bit late to review this beer, but there are only so many beers a person can review in one year’s time! Plus, I was distracted by the dearth of Block Party available.

Background on Belgian Dark Strong Ale.
If you’ve had a Trappist style ale like Chimay, you’re in the Belgian Strong Ale neighborhood. These are complex beers, fermented with strong-willed Belgian yeast strains known to produce some fruity ester and phenolic flavors. Overall, the beer should show rich malt character, dark fruity flavors and some spice elements. Some Belgian Strong Ales are lighter in color, though some go quite a bit darker. This review focuses on the darker style. Hopping is very minimal, but can display some herbal or earthy notes. If higher-hopped, the beer would head in to the Tripel territory. Dark, roasty or coffee flavors are not appropriate for this style. Alcohol ranges from 8 to 12 percent ABV on this style, so get your helmet on. Dangerous is a term that BJCP uses to describe this style, meaning that a beer of high ABV caliber can sneak up on you with its smooth drinking profile.Appearance.
Celebración pours a deep ruby in to my glass. The edges of the beer leak a small amount of light. What parts I can see through shine through the edge and I see a clean looking, clear beer. It’s just so damn dark that it gobbles up all of the light passing through it. The head light tan, as expected on a dark strong ale like this.

Aroma.
The majority of aroma sensation is dominated by dark caramel and raisin. This is absolutely a malt-forward beer, and its large grain bill is plainly clear in the aroma. I get a faint whiff of ginger too.

Flavor.
The ginger takes more control of the flavor. With the ginger is a boozy sensation that is slightly warming. The raisin dark caramel situation is here again in the flavor, but it’s sort of masked by the ginger. For the most part, I cannot stand ginger flavoring in beers. And even though the ginger flavor is slightly elevated and approaching that point of no return here, I am enjoying it. The ginger remains through the aftertaste, just after the bite from the carbonation fades from my tongue. As I approach the end of this first beer, my brain is telling me to go for two. On the aftertaste I also get a small hint of spice. I am not sure if Four Corners added spices to this beer, but it’s just as likely that a Belgian yeast could pitch in this tasty byproduct.

Mouthfeel.
The carbonation on Celebración is spot on, and it jacks up the ginger bite. This beer is not your daily driver, rather, it’s a slow sipper. As the beer warms, I get more of a sense of the sugar profile in this beer, and a cake-like mouthfeel and flavor grows. It’s a clean, full-bodied beer, and my lips are coated with a tasty thin coat of sugary goodness after I sip.Overall Impression.
On my first sips, I was having a hard time getting around the ginger. But then Celebración sort of grew on me in to a two-beer sort of scenario. As I near the end of my first beer, I let it warm up for a while. The aroma takes on a more holiday spiced cake feel, and the carbonation keeps on sticking around even though I’m taking my time with it. Overall, this is a clean beer. However, if you’re more of a purist and want more standard Belgian Dark Strong Ale with less flavor layers, I’d point you at something with a little less going on in the ginger department. I would buy this beer again, but I’m not going to turbo-burn through a six pack of it like I would, say, with Block Party. And for the record, Block Party and Celebración are two very different beers. I’m just not quite over feeling butt-hurt about not being able to find any of that fine porter lately.

Score.
On a scale of 1 to 10, I’d give Four Corners Celebración a 6.5. What’s happening in the area brew scene?
Saturday, December 31. Five-Year Anniversary at Peticolas Brewing Co.
Saturday, December 31. One-Year Anniversary at Division Brewing.
Saturday, December 31. New Year’s Eve Pre-Game at Cobra Brewing Co.
Friday, January 27. Pop-Up Beer Dinner w/ Maple & Motor at Noble Rey Brewing Co.
Sunday, January 29. Girl Scout Cookies & Beer Pairing Flight at L.U.C.K.
Saturday, March 11. Tater Tots and Beer Festival at Fair Park.
Friday, March 31-April 2. Big Texas Beer Fest at Fair Park.

Previous On Tap Reviews:
Revolver’s Sangre y Miel: 10.
Peticolas’ Royal Scandal: 10.
Community’s Mosaic IPA: 10.
Peticolas’ Velvet Hammer: 10.
Community’s Barrel-Aged Legion: 10.
Community’s Legion: 10.
BrainDead’s Fill in the Blancs: 9.5.
Oak Highlands’ Freaky Deaky: 9.5.
Deep Ellum’s Barrel Aged Four Swords: 9.5.
Lakewood’s Saint Dymphna: 9.5.
Peticolas’ Lost Epic: 9.5.
Community’s Ascension Porter: 9.5.
Lakewood’s Temptress: 9.5.
Lakewood’s Goatman: 9.5.
Community’s Public Ale: 9.5.
Peticolas’ Thrilla in Brazilla: 9.5.
• On Rotation’s Lingonberry Sahti: 9.25.
On Rotation’s Jalapeno Saison: 9.
Woodcreek’s Bourbon Barrel Bock: 9.
Lakewood’s Wild Manimal: 9.
Revolver’s Blood & Honey: 9.
Martin House’s Imperial Texan: 9.
Community’s Trinity Tripel: 9.
Peticolas’ Irish Goodbye: 9.
Four Corners’ Block Party Porter: 9.
Cedar Creek’s Belgian Dubbel: 9.
Small Brewpub’s Black Pepper Pils: 8.5.
Peticolas’ Ghost Of Alfred Brown: 8.5.
Deep Ellum’s Easy Peasy IPA: 8.5.
Deep Ellum’s Oak Cliff Coffee Ale: 8.5.
Lakewood’s Rock Ryder: 8.5.
Rahr’s Bourbon Barrel Aged Winter Warmer: 8.5.
Lakewood’s Raspberry Temptress: 8.5.
• Peticolas’ Prime Minister: 8.25.
Lakewood’s Thread Spinner: 8.
Texas Ale Project 50 Ft. Jackrabbit: 8.
Texas Ale Project’s Payne Pils: 8.
Noble Rey’s Bridesmaid’s Tears: 8.
Collective Brewing’s Urban Funk House: 8.
Lakewood’s On Call: 8.
Oak Highlands’ Golden Mustache: 8.
903 Brewers’ Crackin’ Up: 8.
Deep Ellum’s Play Date: 8.
Rahr & Sons Brewing Company’s 11th Anniversary Russian Imperial Stout: 8.
Bitter Sisters’ Belgian Tripel: 8.
Noble Rey’s SteamPunk: 8.
903 Brewers’ Citra On Top: 8.
Bitter Sisters’ Hissy Fit: 8.
BrainDead’s Gritz: 8.
Community’s Barrel-Aged Inspiration : 8.
Cedar Creek’s Fisticuffs: 8.
Lakewood’s Punkel: 8.
Four Corners’ El Chingon IPA: 8.
Martin House’s Day Break: 8.
Deep Ellum’s GOURDzilla: 8.
Peticolas’ The Duke (Aged 12 Months): 8.
Deep Ellum’s Pale Ale: 8.
Revolver’s Bock: 8.
903 Brewers’ Sasquatch: 8.
Peticolas’ Wintervention: 8.
Armadillo Ale Works’ Brunch Money: 8.
Martin House’s Salsa Verde: 8.
Cedar Creek’s Spinning Mule Robust Porter: 8.
Lakewood’s Holiday Bonus: 8.
Lakewood’s Hop Trapp: 8.
3 Nations American Wit: 7.75.
Armadillo Ale Works’ Dapper Apple: 7.75.
Legal Draft’s Accused Amber Lager: 7.5.
Grapevine’s Reserve Tart Cherry Berliner Weisse: 7.5.
Martin House’s Stars Above: 7.5.
Grapevine’s Prickly Pear Wheat Ale: 7.5.
Bitter Sisters’ Knock Out: 7.5.
Four Corners’ Notorious O.A.T.: 7.5.
Noble Rey Golden Rey With Raspberries and Ginger: 7.5.
On Rotation Saved By The Belma: 7.5.
True Vine’s Unicorn’s Revenge: 7.5.
Deep Ellum’s Hop Seeker: 7.5.
Four Corners’ El Super Bee: 7.5.
Lakewood’s Hopochondria: 7.5.
Three Nations GPA: 7.5.
Martin House’s Rubberneck Red: 7.5.
Lakewood’s Antigoon’s Revenge: 7.5.
Community’s Texas Pils: 7.5.
Lakewood’s Zomer Pils: 7.5.
Cedar Creek’s Dankosaurus: 7.5.
Oak Highlands Brewery’s Oktoberfest.: 7.25.
Manhattan Project’s Plutonium-239: 7.
Backcountry’s Texas IPA: 7.
Backcountry’s Double IPA: 7.
Rahr’s Visionary: 7.
Shannon Brewing’s Irish Cream Ale: 7.
Oak Highlands’ Guava Good: 7.
TUPPS Brewery’ Northbound 75: 7.
Rahr & Sons’ Iron Joe: 7.
BrainDead’s I Like Harvey IPA: 7.
Martin House’s Turtle Power: 7.
Collective’s Petite Golden Sour: 7.
Shannon’s Chocolate Stout: 7.
BrainDead’s Red Ale: 7.
Community’s Razzy Raspberry Witbier: 7.
Martin House’s Gateway Blonde Ale: 7.
Bearded Eel’s Purple Unicorn: 7.
Noble Rey’s Off The Leash: 7.
Shannon Brewing Company’s Irish Red: 7.
Texas Ale Project’s Somethin’ Shady: 7.
Deep Ellum IPA: 7.
Cedar Creek’s The Lawn Ranger: 7.
Martin House Brewing Company’s Cellarman’s Reserve IPA (Amarillo).: 7.
Lakewood’s Till & Toil: 7.
903 Brewers’ The Chosen One: 7.
903 Brewers’ Sugar On Top: 7.
Martin House’s Gateway XPA: 7.
Armadillo Ale Work’s Quakertown Stout: 7.
Revolver’s High Brass: 7.
Community’s Pale Ale: 7.
Oak Highlands’ Chump Change: 7.
Martin House’s River House: 7.
Grapevine Craft Brewery’s Sir William’s Brown Ale: 7.
Community’s Funnel Cake Ale: 7.
Audacity’s Boss Raptor IPA: 7.
Martin House’s Queen of the Mist (Prickly Pear): 6.75.
Three Nations Texas Xmas Hazelnut Ale: 6.5.
Martin House’s The Juice: 6.5.
Collective Brewing Project’s Mom Azacca: 6.5.
Four Corners’ La Lechuza: 6.5.
Revolver’s Ironhead IPA: 6.5.
903 Brewers’ Trot Line: 6.5.
Peticolas’ Operation Collaboration: 6.5.
Grapevine Craft Brewery’s Nightwatch: 6.5.
Peticolas’ The Duke: 6.5.
Deep Ellum’s Double Brown Stout : 6.5.
Wild Acre’s Tarantula Hawk: 6.
Martin House’s Kafkaesque: 6.
TUPPS’ Cotton Mill Gold: 6.
Rabbit Hole’s Tweedleyum: 6.
Rabbit Hole’s Off With Your Red: 6.
Cedar Creek’s Elliott’s Phoned Home Pale Ale: 6
Grapevine Craft Brewery’s Lakefire: 6
Armadillo Ale Works’ WunderMelon: 6
Deep Ellum Pale Ale: 6
Lakewood’s Troll Toll: 5.5.
Martin House’s Hell Below: 5.5.
Lakewood’s La Dame Du Lac: 5.5.
Woodcreek’s Lakeside Cerveza: 5.
Martin House Cuvee Pumpkin Latte: 5.
Intrinsic’s Crunktoberfest: 5.
Martin House’s Mind On My Money: 5.
903 Brewers’ The Land Of Milk And Honey: 5.
Deep Ellum’s Numb Comfort: 5.
Four Bullets’ Black Jack Brown: 4.5.
Audacity’s Checkered Past: 4.
Four Corners Heart O’ Texas: 4.
Audacity’s Sunset Boulevard: 4.
Shannon Brewing Company’s IPA: 4.
Grapevine’s Monarch: 4.
Twin Peaks’ Dirty Blonde: 3.
Franconia Wheat: 3.
Miller Lite: 1.

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