I missed January's Session because I was away, but I wouldn't have been able to find any new doppelbocks to try anyway. Recently I encountered Celebrator for the first time, though I'm kinda glad I didn't find it in time, since ten other Session bloggers did this one as well.
Anyway, I was a little bit wary on approach: while I thoroughly enjoyed Salvator, Triumphator and Maximator, they all arrived in half litre bottles. The 33cl of Celebrator put me immediately in mind of Aventinus Eisbock, a beer I didn't particularly enjoy. The pour to a thin, short-lived head had me on even more of a syrup-alert, and the ultra-dark opaque brown-red body didn't help. My fears evaporated on the first sip. Celebrator is actually medium-bodied: full, but with none of the chewy texture of super-strong bocks. The flavour is exceptionally complex and very well balanced, running between savoury smoke, sweet caramel and bitter liquorice, and all the way back again. I think I could quite happily drink a couple of these back-to-back without feeling put-upon. I could definitely handle it by the half litre. Great stuff.
And Celebrator isn't the only Ayinger beer around these days. I've also picked up a bottle of their Jahrhundert-Bier. My German being essentially non-existent, I mistook the warning to store in a cool dark place (kühl und dunkel lagern) for a description of the beer as a dunkel lager. Yes, yes, I know. A moment's holding the bottle up to the light would have shown how pale it is: a limpid straw colour once out of the bottle. The carbonation is quite sharp and goes well with the kölsch-like dry grainy character. There's a bit of astringency about it as well as, conversely, a banana-ish fruitiness. It's only 5.5% ABV, but with its weighty body it could probably pass for a bit more. Well made, but not something I'll be hankering after.
There are a couple of Ayinger weisses around at the moment as well. I'll get to them eventually, but I might have to go back for another couple of Celebrators first.