Fireside Chat - 21st Amendment Brewery

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Fireside ChatFireside Chat

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1,063 Ratings

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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.
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Ratings: 1,063 | Reviews: 329
Photo of BEERchitect
3.26/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.5

When cooler weather comes calling, so does the flock to indoor convening- hovering around the fire for bar banter and cosmos riddling. And the San "by God" Francisco brewery makes a beer for such the occasion.

Fireside Chat opens with the common brown ale charm. Its dark chocolaty austere highlights its initial toffee, nutty and sweeter malt tones while aromas of butter pecan, walnut, chocolate and toast waft about.

Spicy introductions are made upon the middle palate as the creamy but semi-dry ale balances that malt sweetness with the supple spices of coffee and allspice- lead by cinnamon. Yet as delicate clove and nutmeg round out the beer's juicy malt center, its bigger-than-usual taste and effects take hold.

Drying alcohol and fleeting malt sweetness gives the ale a semi-sweet finish, creating crevices in taste that allow for the strong astringency from spice to balance the beer more so than hop additions. Those broad an woodsy hops are no match for the tannin-heavy unsettling that comes with those excessively boiled tea and spent coffee ground flavors.

While the ale simmers in the glass like coffee- there's a lot of promise in its taste. Allowing the spices to join the process in more post-fermentation usage would have retained the delicate oils from the spices and without leaching its brash tannin.

Photo of BigBry
3.55/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

6 pack of cans, one more for the collection, picked up last time I was in California.
Dark brown color, tan head. Good looking mug full of beer. Sweet and a bit nutty aroma, plus some other spices.
Flavor has the same spice, cinnamon, all-spice, nutmeg: but not as strong as some pumpkin ales.
Smooth and creamy, dry finish.
Enjoyable, especially in front of the crackling fire, for a winter warmer.

Photo of watermelon
3.81/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12oz can poured into a tulip glass. Date on the can says bottled on 10/08/13

A: Dark opaque brown body with 1.5 finger khaki head tons of lacing and great retention.

S: Lots of cinnamon and nutmeg. MAybes some other spices I cant make out. Its a pretty standard smell the style.

T: Follows the nose, along with some carmel and toasted flavors.

M: Mouthfeel is alright could be a bit thicker, theres a slight astringency on the finish. The booze is hidden well.

O: Im not super impressed buy it, but its fairly decent and above average for the price point, I'll probably get it again eventually.

Photo of superspak
3.88/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce can in to tulip glass, canned on 10/14/2013. Pours lightly cloudy dark ruby red color with a 2 finger dense light khaki head with great retention, that reduces to small cap that lingers. Spotty foamy lacing clings around the glass, with some moderate streaming carbonation. Aromas of big brown sugar, molasses, raisin, prune, ginger, cinnamon, clove, dark bread, light roast, toast, and herbal earthiness. Nice aromas with good complexity of malt, yeast, and spice notes; with good strength. Strength of spices is a bit too much in the nose. Taste of chocolate, cocoa, caramel, brown sugar, raisin, cinnamon, ginger, clove, brown bread, light coffee, toast, and herbal earthiness. Lingering notes of chocolate, cocoa, caramel, brown sugar, raisin, cinnamon, clove, ginger, brown bread, light coffee, and herbal earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Very nice balance and complexity of dark malt and spice flavors; with a great malt/spice balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and medium-full bodied; with a moderately slick and smooth mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with minimal warming present after the finish. Overall this is a very nice winter warmer style. All around good balance, robustness, and complexity of malt and spice flavors; and very smooth sip on. A very enjoyable offering.

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

12 oz can from"Lifesource" in Salem OR $2 ( i think). Pours a nice solid tawny brown with a large thick and frothy cream coloured head. Odd smells a bit like a spicy Christmas pudding..with rum cream on top..actually brings back memories and is very nice. Taste also is akin to British Christmas pudding..fruity,malty,dark,nutty absolutely a gem! Mouth feel is grand and easy at the same time. carbonated well. a lot of mediocre scores here..but this is just a great beer for me..invokes Christmases past.

Photo of Mojo
3.83/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

12 ounce can -> snifter glass

A - pours up a deep mahogany brown with a one finger tan colored head, not much in the way of retention except for a thin ring of foam, and only small amounts of lacing.

S - subtle nose with floral, bread, and earthy notes most prominent.

T - Caramel malts dominate with a roasted finish. Kind of one dimensional though.

M - thin like a brown ale, decent carbonation, no aftertaste

O - not a bad offering but I'd be lying if I said this is anything more than just okay.

Photo of jhawth
3.54/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Poured from a can into a willibecher glass. Pours a deep brown with amber edges, 1.5-finger creamy off-white head. Decent lacing.

Aroma: Huge spice (cinnamon and nutmeg predominate) character up front, some rich fruit character, slight sweet bready malt presence.

Taste: Rich, fruity malt character, same spice character as in aroma (though more subdued), some alcohol, and a slight, almost smoke-like twinge.

Mouthfeel: Medium to full bodied.

Overall: Interesting, enjoyable, but not particularly surprising or delicious.

Photo of jhartley
4.1/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz can, imprinted on the bottom: Canned on 10/14/2013

A: Dark brown body; dark red when held up to the light. 1 finger light tan head, which receded rather quickly. A little lacing left on the glass.

S: Spices, cinnamon, burnt sugar, ginger.

T/M: Just like it smells! Tons of spices right up front, rounded at with a nutty brown ale type sweetness on the end. A little heavy on the carbonation for me, but as it warms it evens out.

O: A very nice winter warmer style that is a nice accompaniment to a cold winter's night! Can easily enjoy a couple of these during the winter time on a snowy night, or day for that matter.

Photo of nittoh
3.63/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Strong spicy aroma. But it does not overly strong but mild. ``Shoyu'' like aroma. It may come from oxidation.
Color is deep brown. Small head and disappear quickly. Clear.
Flavor is also spicy. It remains until the finish. Malty. Strong hop character.
Medium-full body, warmly from alcoholic. Strong carbonation.
Hop character should be weaker for the balance but good spice ale.

Photo of CFHMagnet
3.84/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

I get a sandy colored half finger of head. Retention is rather decent. The body is a rich brown with ruby notes. A bit of lace clings to the glass.

Smells like a well spiced winter beer. Cinnamon, nutmeg, roasted malt.

To the nose really, with an earthy taste set in as well. Malt up front, spices crash in and follow.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied. It doesn't bog down, and leaves just a little residue.

Photo of Nugganooch
3.77/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

12oz can dated 10/14/13 – purchased at Boynton Liquors San Jose, CA
Hotel tumbler glass – 11/20/13

A: Pours a light hazel brown body with a well conditioned clarity. A big craggy monster of dark tan head forms giving great retention. Practically cakes the glass in chunky stick.

S: Malt forward nose laced with dried fruits like fig and candied plums. There is some earthy root beer likeness with hints of chai spice and a light hop presence. Interesting mix of aromas that works nicely. Very inviting to my cockles.

T: Tastes like toasty brown malts with some light clove like spice and a dash of woodsy earth. Less dried fruit than the nose with a touch of caramelized fig in there. I am getting hints of chocolate and it all comes together much like chai tea spices. Really nice and enjoyable with a moderate overall bitterness. Alcohol is well masked throughout and finishes out with more spice.

M: Smooth and frothy feel. Lighter on the palate than as expected. Nice clean and dry snappy finish.

D: This is a really nice Winter Seasonal and probably my favorite from this otherwise underwhelming brewery. Well balanced with a great mouth feel and some nice spiced chocolate flavors. Worth revisiting.

Photo of thecheapies
3.51/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A little resistant to light, but it looks a deep garnet brown color. Sliver of foam rests atop.

Grape-y vinous with cinnamon and mulling spice notes. Plummy and prune-y with dark roasty malts. Robust, but with a slender tartness that surprises me.

Bitterly spiced in the flavor. Less dark fruit dominant. Plum and grape comes off as dark fruit hints along with some fig, but the spices are crushing. Cinnamon and mace and light clove... maybe grains of paradise. Malts are thinner than expected. Finishes with bitterness and leftover candi sugar.

Lighter in body than expected with a little greasiness. Carbonation is a little wild and out-of-control. Not appropriate.

Hit or miss. Some years, I think it's good, others not so much. It's really just an average warmer, overall.

Photo of GarthDanielson
3.7/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a can into a shaker pint, the beer is a dark, opaque, sediment filled chestnut coloring with amber highlights and a dense, creamy, half inch of cream colored head that slowly settles into a filmy surface coat. Aromas of ginger, roast, cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, pine tassel, candied sugar, bread, and booze. Dynamic and layered nose. Flavors are heavy and roasted forward, with a blast of caramel, dark, blended with an array of holiday spices, such as the cinnamon and nutmeg. The initial burst of flavor lightens rapidly, and there is a solid spice component that remains, slightly overpowering. A light, somewhat watered down body in mouth, with a solid spice linger into the aftertaste, giving a feel of warm cinnamon and cider. That shifts to a tangy sweetness that is cloying through to the finish, with a slightly astringent feel, as well. This one has it's ups and downs; tasty, but could be tightened up in a couple of spots.

Photo of JamesMN
2.98/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Canned on 10/7/13.

Appearance: Very dark brown and opaque with a small one finger off-white head despite a vigorous pour.

Aroma: Pie crust and holiday spices.

Taste: Starts with blend of watery charred malt and faint spice. Quite bland for what I was expecting. Tastes much lighter than its 7.9% ABV would suggest. Some metallic off-flavors mixed with bitter black coffee. Vibrant spices buzz around the palate.

Mouthfeel: Just below medium in body and a bit much on the carbonation. Below average drinkability due to harsh flavors.

Final Thoughts: Definitely not the beer I was expecting. There's a lot of flavor there but its very spastic and unrefined. I like my winter warmers to be smooth and rich. Fireside Chat did not deliver. Would I drink it again? No.

Photo of Spikester
3.13/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Brown with a small white head and no lacing. Smell is minor spices gingerbread mostly. Taste is like a lightly spiced brown ale. Nice flavors and alcohol is well hidden. Not sure how the abv is so high in a beer with such a small flavor profile?
Mouthfeel is slick and lightly carbonated.
Overall a minor player in such a broad category.

Photo of notchucknorris
3.62/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a deep chestnut color with a one finger tan head. Leaves light traces of lace and shows decent retention.

S: Faint, but I get some roasted malt, baking spices, molasses and gingerbread. You really have to work for it though.

T: Starts very nut brown ale-ish, with sweeter, nutty roasted malt tones upfront. Then some baking spices flare up and you're left with an aftertaste that is kind of like that bitter flavor you get when you try the cinnamon challenge. If you're into that kind of thing.

Photo of Botulizard
3.66/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from the can into a goblet-type glass

A: Brown-red with a small coffee colored head that dissipates quickly, leaving a small amount of lacing.

S: Malty and spicy with fruity notes, like walking into a bakery around the holidays.

T: Lots of malt and spice, just like the nose, with a great balance of sweet and bitter.

M: Thick and hearty, just as you'd want a winter warmer.

O: Great beer, will definitely be drinking more of this

Photo of hopdabble
2.48/5  rDev -28.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.75

This is my first 21st amendment beer. I tend to like winter warmers - even cheesey ones like Harpoon. However - this is the first craft beer that I've ever thrown away... Cool packaging, though...

A - a translucent brown, thin head no lacing

S - not so perceptible - spicy mintesque. Yes, I invented that word - it had an almost but not quite minty smell. wintergreenm perhaps...

T - low-carbonation, thin... exactly as I would imagine an unsweetened rootbeer would be.

M - water-like

pretty color. Other than that, nothing nice about it, for me.... maybe a bad batch? still, at $11 a six pack, I'm not giving it another shot...

Photo of Givemebeer
3.61/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a dark ruby red with a beige head and good lacing

S: Spices in the forefront - cinnamon and apple pie. Maybe some dark fruit like figs

T: Not bad, but not great. A little roasty and bitter hiding the spices. Not too complex.

M: Creamy medium bodied and fairly drinkable considering the ABV. Pretty nice for the winter.

Photo of mpedara429
2.79/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Poured out a dark brown color that looked somewhat like root beer. Two fingers of light brown head with solid retention and lacing.

S: Mostly ginger and spice. Almost like a bubble gum smell too.

T: Heavy on the ginger… Also tasting citrus and dark malt. Quite the bitter bite. It tastes a lot like an alcoholic version of a San Pellegrino Chinotto.

M: Medium body and medium carbonation.

O: A little bit too bitter for my tastes. Also, depending on the person, the spice might be overbearing. Not really something I see myself going back to buy again. And for the record, I would much rather drink Chinotto over this.

Photo of jtw004
4.02/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Apperance: A pretty dark brew with a slightly amber tone

Smell: Kind of a light smell, a somewhat unrecognizable smell

Taste: The beer at first glance gives you the smoothness and fullness you expect from any good dark brew but offers some exciting flavor from the spices

Mouthfeel: Not much carbonation about. Very very smooth.

Overall: A solid winter beer.

Photo of ksimons
3.71/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A-a dark ruby with two fingers worth of creamy looking head

S-rich malt, cocoa, and light holiday spices

T-getting a bit more roasted malt in the taste, along with chocolate, toffee, and spices

M-medium body, good carbonation, slight dry roasted mouthfeel

Overall I think this beer is better than the average rating it's getting. Not spectacular, but still pretty decent

Photo of AgentMunky
3.72/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a 12 ounce can into a brandy snifter.

Dark, opaque, murky brown. Heavy lacing.
Stewed fruits, generic malts, hint of yeast.
Spicy, earthy, and lightly sour in a way that reminds me, not unpleasantly, of British beers. Some peculiar yeast? General over spiciness? I couldn't stay. I enjoy it, and the strength is apparent.
Mouthfeel is light, spicy, spritely, and heavy. Paradoxical and enjoyable.
A bit bittersweet for me, but still not a bad beer. Would have again. Recommended.

Photo of BlackHaddock
3.93/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

3rd Feb 2013: Rogue Pub on Union St, San Fransisco.

The chalkboard had been written in haste and my eyes are bad, so when I asked for the ZIA beer they looked at me a bit strange. ZIA looked a lot like 21A to me: anyway we got there in the end and I'm glad we did.

Dark brown body with a tan coloured head on my on-tap pint.

Christmas pudding of a beer: plums, damsons and rich spices filled the nose and mouth: I really enjoyed it. Full of flavour, warming and wintery in nature: a smoking jacket sort of beer. Impressed.

Photo of YardmanFTB
4.42/5  rDev +27.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

One of my favorite spiced winter beers and it comes from a place that doesn't even have a winter (San Francisco). It is a dark English-style ale spiced with cinnamon and other spices common in winter ales. I find it to be a great mix between a malty English Ale and a spiced American-style winter Ale. A great beer.

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