Fireside Chat - 21st Amendment Brewery

Not Rated.
Fireside ChatFireside Chat

Educational use only; do not reuse.

1,063 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,063
Reviews: 329
rAvg: 3.47
pDev: 17%
Wants: 36
Gots: 154 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
21st Amendment Brewery visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
Winter Warmer |  7.90% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: elgiacomo on 10-19-2010

Like FDR’s Depression-era radio addresses, which were like a kick in the butt and a hug at the same time, our Fireside Chat is a subtle twist on the traditional seasonal brew. We begin with a rich, dark, English-style ale and then we improvise with spices until we know we have a beer worth sharing with the nation.

Fireside Chat is our early winter seasonal brew available from October through December in six pack cans and on draft. Brewed like a classic, warming Strong Ale but with a subtle blend of hand-selected spices for just the right festive flair.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Fireside Chat Alström Bros
Ratings: 1,063 | Reviews: 329
Photo of MenloBeer
4.1/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This beer pours beautiful and dark, like a winter's night near the solstice. Nice little quarter inch head puffs up, then lays down leaving lace along the way, like holiday garlands.

As for smell, the sour notes hit up front, that's for certain. A subtle malty-ness is present, but it is jostling for nostril space with the spice notes that abound.

I love a good sour-ish beer, and this is certainly that. The malty character that was only barely delectable in the nose is easily discernible in the palate. It's not as sour as most other sour beers, and that's only because they have a vivid spice action going. The hops got kind of lost in the mix for me.

There's good carbonation here, and that accentuates the spices and hops. Not an oily beer at all, and not too watery, either.

Drinkability depends on the drinker, figure that. I happen to like a good spiced dark beer, especially when the season calls for it. Being in Northern California we get fog for most of the year, so a beer like this to warm up a late night is always welcome.

Photo of monkeylovebeer
3.78/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

This winter warmer from San Francisco's 21st Amendment pours reindeer brown with an inch-think eggnog-colored head. In the pint glass, the brew looks black as a winter's night, due to a hearty mix of Munich, wheat, crystal, aromatic, chocolate, and black malts.

Its nose betrays the Chat's 7.9% alcohol and the hearty English-style backbone. There is a sour note mixed with seasonal spices, kind of like a gingerbread man that ran afoul of the gingermafia and has been rotting in a field for a few days. But in a good way.

As it warms, the Magnum and Golding hop aromatics wake up and start to balance out the cereal bill. For such a weighty grain profile, I would have expected more of a bready mouthfeel, but the Chat is thin enough to be followed by another without feeling stuffed like the proverbial Christmas goose. Feliz Navidad.

Photo of binkman
4.45/5  rDev +28.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Straight outta the can, so appearance here is completely the artwork. It smells like Christmas and the taste carries through as well. A lot of spice, but not all upfront and even kind of cinnamonny at the end. At 7.8% you might be expecting a very hoppy beer, but the spices do a lot to balance out the hoppy-ness, which scores points with me. I tend to prefer maltier brews. Carbonation was perfect in my can. You don't even realize it's 8% until you stand up to get the second one and fall back down. Didn't see any elves, though, like the one FDR is chatting up on the artwork. Very enjoyable brew. Even at $10 a 6er, I'll be going back for some more.

Photo of aerozeppl
2.22/5  rDev -36%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

The can is awesome.

A: Very deep brown color with a finger of creamy white head. Quite a bit of lacing as well. Nice looking beer.

S: Sourness. It smells almost like an Oud Bruin. Oak and sourness. Totally not to style at all but I do enjoy the aroma. When it warmed up you got some nutmeg as well but the sourness was bracing for a while.

T: Maybe even a little bit of an infection. Not as much as the nose would lead you to believe. You do not get any spices really. Kind of bland really. The only thing giving it any taste is a possible infection.

M: A little too thin for the style. Carbonation is good.

D: This beer is a little bit of a mess. I actually drainpoured it. In case the 21A cares the code on the can is 0279 2144. Not a good beer.

Photo of kingcrowing
2.32/5  rDev -33.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

12oz can poured into a Duvel tulip. Bonus points for my favorite president on the can!

Pours a nice really dark brown with a small dark brown head that fades fast. Nose is spicy and light and malty,

Taste is meh, not too much going on here, it's really disappointing and bland. This is 0/4 for 21st amendment.

Photo of KarlHungus
3.5/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours a hazy brown color. the head is one inch in height, and recedes quickly into minimal lacing. The aroma is of caramel with some sour notes, and some spices. It is all rather mild though. The taste is similar to the aroma. I'm not sure if the slight sourness I detect is supposed to be there or not, but regardless it is quite pleasant. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with low carbonation, and a smooth texture. Overall, this is a decent beer.

Photo of Duhast500
3.43/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12oz. can into a pint glass.

The color is a dark maroon to black with about two fingers of foamy off-white head and some pillowy lacing.

The smell is a bit vegetable flavor, some string-bean and a little sour krout flavor. Some scotch tape aroma and a touch of some sticky butter flavor.

The taste is pungent punch of hops, malt and a watery mix of smelt together character. Some fight is left in the flavor but comes back when left alone.

The feel of this beer is like an old cigar. Well past it's prime it is not worth wasting the match.

Photo of number1bum
2.34/5  rDev -32.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Thanks to mymrnngjckt for this can.

Pours a sort of mahogany color, a dark scarlet tinted brown. Has about one finger of beige head which settles to just a thin lace with no real stick.

Smell is quite sour, but not in what seems like an intended way. And it's not very pleasant either. It's like sour cherries and cranberries. It's hard to get much past that because it's so dominant, but there are some sweeter malty aromas there too. I just don't linger long enough to get much more.

Taste has a bit of a tartness up front but luckily not one that is as unpleasantly sour as the smell. It's fruity, with darker fruit like black currant perhaps, with a caramely, somewhat roasty malt flavor as well. Somewhat nutty. It's better than the nose but it's still not very good. Some spices as well, but it just seems off and is not very impressive at all.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied, quite crisp but with a metallic ting to the finish.

To be frank, this beer is a mess. I have no idea what the hell they were trying to do here, and the spices, prominently mentioned on the can, are a sideshow at best for the trainwreck of sour flavors and aromas that dominate. I struggled to finish one can. Not good.

Photo of jmerloni
3.78/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Light brown in color. Head is moderate. Laces REALLY evenly and nice. The body is kind of boring looking.

S - Yeast, malt, spice.

T - Interesting. Tastes a bit like a dubbel with some extra tartness. It's a little sour. Citrus present, caramel malts.

M - Medium bodied. Not very carbonated. Pretty dry.

D - Drinkable. You would never know this was toward 8%. Tastes like it's 5%. A pretty good winter warmer.

Photo of JohnGalt1
3.28/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

12oz can picked up tonight at Brewforia on the way home from work.

Good tan head ... fantastic lacing... the brew is deep mahogany...

Nose shows predominantly spices... hints of cocoa... I generally have a hard time with spiced beers, but I will try... I get some ginger and probably nutmeg.. maybe some clove ... there is probably something else in there, and I am definitely trying to pick it out despite my aversion to beers with pie ingredients.

Flavor has an odd sour element that makes me immediately think of cranberries or sour cherries... it isn't infected, just weird. more dry than expected.. a bit chalky cocoa with the above spices... a bit of metal with warmth.

Body is thin for a big brew like this... carbonation is fine.

I honestly don't care for this... I will try and finish the can, but it will probably be headed for the drain.


Photo of Lolli1315
2.63/5  rDev -24.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Great can and name for a beer, hopefully the taste is as good.

A- Dark copper/amber color with over a finger of foamy tan head. Head disappears slightly leaving lacing sticking to the top of the glass.

S- Overly spicy as the holiday smells are very apparent. Returns to a sweet malty smell as caramel comes through as well as some nutty notes.

T- The beginning of the beer has the familiar holiday spices with the likes of cinnamon, nutmeg, and some touches of vanilla. Quickly after the spiced flavor, the spices vanish and it can be seen that they were covering up a watered down beer. The caramel comes through with notes of biscuit and yeast flavor. The end of the beer comes with a slight kick of bitterness and a slight citrus taste.

M- Relatively thin body for a winter warmer and decent carbonation while it leaves the mouth dry afterwards.

D- The lack of flavor and sheer dependence on the winter spices makes this one hard to drink. Bummer, here is a case of not judging a beer by its cover.

Photo of BARFLYB
4.25/5  rDev +22.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On Tap at Hulmeville Inn in a pint glass on the regs.

Fireside looks darkish a deep dark red deep maroon, big brown, with a smal amount of tannish cap up above. A bright reddish towards the light Leaves small clunks on the glass. Smell is holiday spice with cinnamon, with a mix of sweet and sour. Taste is brighter than expected. Cherry, tart apple, spice, cinnamon, etc, a bready thing in the back. Traces of cocco and some roasted malt in the end. Feel is medium, brisk, lively, not overly spiced, quaffable, not cloying, carbey off the tap. Feel is kinda similar in weight/gravity to the Monk's Blood that relesed lst year. I drank my pint quick and considered another.

Photo of Chaney
4/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured a fairly clear, dark red color that, when looking straight at it, started red at the bottom and got darker to the point of almost total darkness as it reached the summit. It was topped off by a two inch cloud white head that stayed frothy throughout the session.

S: I've read some reviews of this, and I wonder if I just drank the same beer as everyone else. No christmas spices such as nutmeg, cinnamon, or anything else of the sort. On the nose, I got straight up sour beer with aspirin and Belgian yeast. Kinda cool..

T: Yep... same thing on the taste, only the fact that the sweet elements were as tempered as they were was a total shocker. A very soft, almost grainy quality made an appearance on the finish. I sensed a tinge of brown sugar, but certainly not much. Maybe melon or cantaloupe?

M: Like I said ... almost non-existent sugar. The carbonation was fine and filled out the palate nicely. Yeasty and silky smooth.

D: Hmmm.... I would have never pegged this as a Christmas holiday brew. Sort of generic, but I could easily drink a couple of these without needing any other food or drink to cut it. I know that my review looks totally different than the others on here, so maybe my taste buds are off.... just maybe. I'll stick to my guns for now.

Photo of pzrhsau
3.73/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3

A: Nice rich burgundy color with a sizeable cream colored head.
S: Spicy cinnamon and other holiday spices with some hints of malt and something like a dried fruit.
T: It really has a create clean flavor that melds into this fantastic woody cinnamon flavor that combines to give it a raisiny dried fruit flavor. Not too sweet but very flavorful.
D/M: You really dont sense the alcohol but this really has a nice clean flavor that is surprisingly underwhelming as far as weight goes. I could have gone for a thicker richer flavor.

Photo of indiapaleale
3.78/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pour - dark amber with some nice reddish hues when held to the light. A rather thin off-white head fades to a ring of film rather quickly. Very deep and dark in appearance. Perfect for a winter brew.

Aroma - malty, sweet and sour, light caramel, apples and cloves. Reminds me a bit of warmed red wine and spices.

Taste - sweet and sour on the tongue sort of like the aroma. It has some bitterness, some black cherry, a bit of apple cider, not a whole lot of those spices maybe just some hints at nutmeg or cloves with a very vinous in the finish. By that I mean it has a dryness on the tongue similar to red wine. At almost 8% its a bit boozy too which is nice as it does a good job with the winter warming bit.

Overall - I really dig this beer as its quite unique. The flavors may not mesh completely perfectly but each sip brings something new and once this warms it really has some complexity. If you've got some red wine loving friends that stray away from beer you might want to share this with them.

Would I buy more of it? - sure. I'm glad it comes in a six-pack and I will look forward to trying more of it next winter (or maybe later this winter as its a long one here in New England).

Photo of movingtrain
3.55/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 ounce can sampled from a 12 ounce snifter.

Pours a dark, dark brown, almost black. There is a strong tan head sitting on top, with active carbonation floating in up the sides of the glass.

First off in the nose is dried fruit...kind of like dried apricots or melon. There is a brown sugar sweetness to it, and some spice. Cinnamon, peppercorn, maybe some spruce. The aroma is almost Belgian-esque, like a dubbel. Some earthy tones reside in the aroma, as well, and perhaps a hint of oak and whiskey.

The flavor is a bit more on the bitter side than expected. Well, maybe not bitter, more like sour. There is definitely some spice in there...and some truly piney/hoppy characteristics. There are some fruited notes, as well as something like rosemary herbal qualities. There is, however, something in the character of this beer that seems to be somewhat metallic...the beer has good body around the edges, but in the middle it is missing something, and tastes like something on the astringent side.

Overall, I like this beer. It's not overly drinkable, but it has a unique flavor to it. I love the packaging, not that that has anything to do with the quality of the beer, but says something about the brewery, I think. For a Winter warmer, this one is pretty good.

Photo of tbrown4
4.35/5  rDev +25.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Can -> Weyerbacher tulip

Pours deep brown with a fluffy creme head. Detailed lacing sticks around. Molasses sweet aroma. Very smooth and full of flavor. Picking up notes of cinnamon and dark cherry. Surprisingly mild and developed flavors as if it's been mellowed with time. Over time some vanilla notes show up. Excellent round sweet finish. Not a hint of the 7.9% ABV.

Photo of projectflam86
2.68/5  rDev -22.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A- Pours a deep chestnut red/brown color with a medium sized head that leaves some lacing. Fades away to a solid ring.

S- Spice and yeast with some sweetness. A bit of must and grain.

T- Woah, this is kind of a spicy mess! Little to no hop presence and really the sweetness isn't there either like I had expected. The spices are overwhelming to the point that you can't decipher one from the other. The alcohol is a bit hot in the finish.

M- Medium bodied with medium/low carbonation.

D- Not impressed with this one. I was hoping for some subtle spice to go along with a nice malty brew but this one didn't come through

Photo of BruceWineworks
4.39/5  rDev +26.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz can poured into a tulip.

A: brown, minimal greyish-tan lacing with tiny bubbles.

S: honey, holiday spice, and cherries. The smell of Christmas.

T: sweet spices, light fruit and honey flavors.

M: watery and light on the mouth.

D: great winter beer. I love the elf.

Photo of ccrida
4/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On draught at the Collins Pub, Fireside Chat is mahogany with a light tan head that leaves nice lace patterns.

Smell is malty, a touch sweet, with some spiciness, which gain dominance as it warms. Pretty standard winter warmer.

Taste is good, one of the better winter warmers I've had in a while. It's got a deep depth of malty goodness without being overly phenolic, very smooth in-spite of the sturdy ABV, and boasts enough spices to add color without dominating the palate (at first, they crept close to too much by the end). I like the chocolate note from the malt in particular, it cranks it up a notch beyond your average amber WW.

Mouthfeel is dry, spicy, medium bodied.

Drinkability is pretty good, this really worked for me as far as winter warmers go, which I'm normally not to fond of. I'm normally not a fan of spiced beers, but they were somewhat tempered here by the rich maltiness, although there was a bit of buildup in the back of the throat by the end of the pint. Smooth and strong are also big pluses in my book!

Photo of Offa
4.23/5  rDev +21.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Having had it on tap, I found this to be a very enjoyable, characterful beer with good, full body and some good complexity, while the character holds up well over time, alone or with food.

Essentially, but not quite, black, it has a medium, creamy tan head slowly shrinking to a foamy ring and leaving nice lace.

Aroma is good, but not much. It mostly is dark soured fruits and dark toasted malt.

Taste is stronger and more complex, overall excellent. It has nice dark fruits, some soured fruit and light hint of balsamic vinegar, a lot of dark toast that is nicely caramelised, wet leafy and woody spice. It is lightly to the sweet side with some light bitterness underneath. The element holds up very well and it is very enjoyable and satisfying. Feel is very good, solid and lively.

Photo of Brenden
3.65/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Notes are from last night.

This beer pours a thick, dark brown. At first a big head forms from a very active cascade effect and leaves small patches of lacing at the very top of the glass as it recedes. Retention is fair, and it eventually leaves a pretty thick ring of head for the rest of the way, dropping behind some lace in thin patches.
The nose is an interesting one to try to pick through. Cinnamon definitely seems to be in there with some nutmeg under a strong malt base. I think the fairly strong hops presence is what makes the aromas underneath a little more difficult to ascertain. I don't know if it's added or an aspect of the malts, but there's a bit of chocolate here as well.
The taste follows suit, with everything mingling nicely at first,but I think the hops actually throw things off a bit in the flavor. I would think that for this to be great, it would need to be a more lightly-hopped brown ale or porter, something more along those lines. For this particular beer, the IBUs are a bit high and don't mingle as nicely as I'd like. There's a touch of sourness that comes through here too, but working through a mouthful I can get beyond it to appreciate a decent complexity and an otherwise good flavor.
Each sip starts off fairly thick and gets a bit spritzy. Carbonation is moderate and the body is medium.
I can appreciate this, but I'd move on before too long. It's a respectable offering from 21st, but for now I'll stick with their hoppier styles.

Photo of Maerzen
3.93/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

My wife bought a six pack of this beer right after Thanksgiving.

A - The appearance was a nice chocolate (with a slight amber glow) with a mocha head. Very thick and heavy.

S - Combination of sweet malt and spice, however, not overbearing.

T & M- A little smokier than most holiday ales. Also, the higher alcohol content (7.9%) is present in the mouth as well leaning toward a light scotch ale. The smoke and alcohol seems to cover the spice a little more than I would like.

D - I enjoyed drinking this beer and like what 21st Ammend. has done with it. However, if I had to choose between this and another Holiday/Christmas/Winter Warmer I don't know if this would win out every time.

Photo of portia99
2.14/5  rDev -38.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

12oz can poured into a Brooklyn snifter.

A - Pours a deep mahogany ruby/brown color with no head. A thin tan/off-white collar that leaves a wisp of lacing behind sticks to the edge of the glass.

S - Did a bit of a double take...for a second, I thought I poured a shot of Jaegermeister in my glass. A weird array of aromas with root beer, funky tartness, earthy/dirtlike smells, salted meat, and a conglomeration of spices and other aromas I can't or don't dare try to identify.

T - This is...hard to describe!?! Cola, root beer, sweetness, a dirty and earthy base level flavor with an off-tasting sour remnant. Spices are everywhere and take on a flavor reminiscient of a kitchen sink approach to spices. Nothing stands out as clearly definable...just ends up as a muddled up mix of flavors that doesn't really work for me.

M - Medium body with a huge soda-like fizzyness that seems a bit too much. Weird dirt/earthy flavor and a noticeable sourness linger into the aftertaste. The fizzy carbonation lingers too, sorta like breathing in from a CO2 cylinder.

D - Wow...this one just doesn't work for me. I am a big fan of 21st Ammendment's brewpub and its beers (typically). This one though, I just don't get. Glad I only bought a single instead of the six pack. Not sure why, but this isn't being poured down the drain, but it is a struggle to finish it.

0 for 2 tonight...not sure I have anything left in the fridge that can totally ruin this night of beer...

Photo of cbutova
2.8/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

A- Pours brown (very dark red through light) with a nice light tan, creamy cap. Head retention is good and a pillow leaves a decent amount of thick lace.

S- Slightly roast caramel malt comes to mind first. Dark fruit/raisin in there. Has some nutty brown ale feel to it. Cinnamon.

T- Definitely a big spice character in the beginning, nutmeg, cinnamon, clove and something I can't quite put a name to. Dark fruit is fairly prevalent as well. Upon swallowing, the beer becomes somewhat metallic and a bit sour. Some roast nutty malt.

MF- Somewhat creamy light body with moderate carbonation. Sour finish for some mysterious reason.

DB- I could see this being a decent beer from the aroma and what comes through in the flavor... but the sourness and metallic aspects ruin this experience before it really blooms. Infection?

Fireside Chat from 21st Amendment Brewery
79 out of 100 based on 1,063 ratings.