Feels good, right? For the first time since the 2008 season, the Carolina Panthers have a winning record. With the Atlanta Falcons coming to town, the chance to be two games up in November is certainly worthy of celebration.
Celebration Ale - Sierra Nevada Brewing Company
Ken Grossman founded Sierra Nevada Brewing Company in Chico, California in 1979. One of the country's first craft breweries, Sierra Nevada has grown tremendously in the decades since. Their year-round, seasonal and limited lines can be found around the country. In 2014, they will open their new brewery just outside of Asheville, ensuring Carolinians have access to even fresher beers.
It is hard to believe Sierra Nevada first brewed its popular Celebration Ale in 1981. Every fall since, the brewery has used fresh hops right off the bines to brew one of the nation's first American India pale ales. The red and white snow-laden label is an indication that the holidays are coming, yet this beer is not brewed with any spices. It is a classic American IPA through and through, with notes of pine, grapefruit and a bit of caramel malt underneath. Celebration's assertive but not overpowering bitterness lingers into a crisp and pleasant finish.
Celebration Ale just recently landed on most store shelves. Since freshness is key with India pale ales and especially the wet or fresh hop varieties, this is one you should enjoy as soon as possible.
How it relates to the game
It's hard not to celebrate when the Panthers have a winning record for the first time since the '08 season. They are only 4-3, sure, but if the Panthers can play as they have for the past three games, the playoffs are not out of the question. That's not to overlook the Atlanta Falcons, who are still a talent-filled team that is probably better than their record indicates. Like the Panthers, they beat the Rams and the Bucs, but their five losses have come from teams that are .500 or better. And with or without Roddy White, Matt Ryan has some offensive weapons around him.
In the end, though, I think the Panthers defense will prove too much for the Falcons, and the Panthers will be looking to celebrate at 5-3.
Price Point / Availability
You can find Sierra Nevada's Celebration Ale just about anywhere beer is sold, from local bottle shops to grocery stores. It usually retails for $8.99 a six-pack or $15.99 a 12-pack.
Looking to drink craft beer at the game? Here's a list of craft beers in Bank of America Stadium.