Fireside Chat | 21st Amendment Brewery

351 Reviews
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Fireside ChatFireside Chat

Brewed by:
21st Amendment Brewery
California, United States

Style: Winter Warmer

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.90%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
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.

Added by elgiacomo on 10-19-2010

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Reviews: 351 | Ratings: 1,271
Photo of Sammy
3.33/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Brown that is malty and spices are mostly nutmeg and cinnamon. Pleasant and drinkable. Medium mouthfeel, above average carbonation. brown with a minimal head.Malty aroma, surprisingly little spices in nose.Caramel, nutty. A spiced up brown, would like more hops. OK, nothing special.

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Photo of kylehay2004
4/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Single finger head with poor retention but nice lace on a near clear deep amber red body. Aroma is very sweet and well represented with nutmeg, cherry, mint and cinnamon, all spice really. Flavors of the winter season with more nutmeg, gingerbread, nutmeg and hint of peppermint. Some caramel malt base as well. A lot thicker than expected, moderate carbonation and fairly oily coating the palate. Very interesting with this one managing to have many of the same flavors as others in the class but the overall flavors and body make it different and therefore memorable.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.27/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a dark brownish red with a 2 inch khaki head that fades to a small cap. Foamy clumps of lacing on the glass on the drink down. There is some sediment/floating debris in the glass. Smells of dark fruits, cranberry, winter spices (cinnamon/clove), and fruitcake. This actually smells very good to me. Taste is of fruitcake with candied fruit/rinds, cranberry sauce, and the spices I mentioned in the smell. The taste is not as good as the smell. There is almost a medicinal aspect to the taste. Beer has low carbonation and it's somewhat hard to drink down due to the medicine tastes I am getting. Overall, I had this beer back in December and it was a lot better then. I think it's safe to say this one has degraded over time and is meant to be consumed ASAP.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
3.6/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

I got myself into trouble drinking pints of this at a pub, not knowing how strong it is on the alcohol, because it never shows it! A few of these and I was real loose, which is always fun. Dark brown it looks like a porter, but the roast on the grain is only medium, and there is very little bitterness. What bitterness is in here is balanced out by a brown sugary middle and a drying spicy finish that may include anise and clove. A darker take on the winter warmer, it's rich and satisfying in the feel, very full bodied and lightly carbonated. Surprised how drinkable it is, which is how I got wasted on it in the first place. I have liked all the beer I have had from these guys, cool they have wider distribution now. Not my favorite here, but is think it is underrated.

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Photo of Knapp85
3.53/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This brew poured out as a nice looking deep red color with a tan colored head on top. Not much retention or lacing here. The smell of the beer gives of a slightly sweet profile with a touch of spice on the nose. The taste gets better as it warms up, the spices start to come through a little more making this a pretty decent beer. The mouthfeel was a little heavier than I thought it'd be but not bad. Overall I thought this was a pretty decent brew.

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Photo of metter98
3.38/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

On-tap at Idle Hands, New York, NY

A: The beer is clear deep reddish amber in color and does not have any visible carbonation. It poured with a finger high off white head that has excellent retention properties and never completely faded away.
S: There are aromas of spices such as cinnamon and nutmeg—the types you would expect to smell in eggnog.
T: The taste is very similar to the smell and has hints of both bitterness and sweetness. No traces of alcohol are noticeable.
M: It feels medium-bodied and very smooth on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This is a good beer to sip and savor the spices in the smell and taste; however, it could use more body and warmth from the alcohol to make it a true winter warmer.

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.26/5  rDev -5%
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.

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Photo of zeff80
3.85/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Great artwork on the can.

A - Poured out a dark burgundy color with a one-finger, tan head of white foam. It left thin wisps of lace on the glass.

S - It smelled of traditional Christmas spices - nutmeg, cinnamon, etc. A mild caramel malt aroma, too.

T - It tasted spicy - not hop spice but spices. Again, more nutmeg and cinnamon. A slight dried fruit flavor like figs and plums mixed with strong maltiness.

M - It was crisp, sharp and smooth. A medium bodied ale with a dry finish.

D - I was glad to finally try a can from 21st and this was a pretty nice one. Loved the artwork and it was pretty tasty, too.

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Photo of superspak
3.88/5  rDev +13.1%
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.

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Photo of nickfl
3.79/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A - Pours with one finger of light tan foam on top of a dark brown body with clear, amber highlights showing through.

S - Mint, nutmeg, cardamom, and dark cherries with a bready malt background.

T - Thick, brown malt up front with some brown sugar. More of the spice character comes out in the middle as notes of nutmeg, clove, and cinnamon come out. Finishes with more dark bread, spices, and a bit of caramel.

M - Medium-thick body, moderate carbonation, and a slightly dry finish.

D - Not bad, the spice aroma is still pungent even though this can has some age on it and it is a bit unique compared to many other spiced beers Ive tried. A fairly well handled example of a spiced beer.

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Photo of jlindros
3.11/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Tasty crack cans!

A semi generous pour yields a big frothy almost 2 finger head that fades semi slowly with a nice sticky lacing, over surprisingly clear dark molasses rosy brown colored beer.

Nose of some dark malts, molasses, syrups, spices, nutty aromas, cinnamon, a bit of dark fruit, fig, the spices are a little much.

Taste starts with creamy malts, quite a bit of fruits, some slightly sour fig and fruit, a bit of syrups, molasses, a weird fruity malty flavor that I know but can't put my finger on with a sour flavor to it, a slight bit of roast and dark crystal malts, also plenty of spices, hints of cinnamon and nutty flavors, ginger?, and a very slight warming booze. Finish is still sweet as the start was, as well as lingering fruits and those strange malt flavors, and lingering slightly sour fruits and molasses, as well as light spices.

Mouth is medium bodied with spices, and decent carbonation, as well as a little syrupy.

Drink is meh, slightly syrupy and semi sweet, even finishes sweet, it starts to get a bit of minerality on teh finish as well, light spices, and light sour fruits, and bit of booze give it a tougher drink.

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Photo of chinchill
3.48/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz can with a Nov. 2016 canning date.

Appearance: Pours with a clear, dark copper colored body topped by a frothy beige head. Decent retention and

Smell: spiced bread; intermittent off notes.

Taste: Lightly bitter and moderately spicy. Light bready notes and spices linger on in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Full body. Medium+ carbonation. A little sticky.

Overall: a dark spiced winter ale that is not over spiced.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

21st Amendment Fireside Chat
12 oz. can, $1.99 @ Joe Canal's, Egg Harbor Twp., NJ

Appearance: Surprisingly clear, very deep mahogany brown body beneath a short head of creamy tan froth. The head drops readily to a standard collar along the sides of the glass. Lacing is made up of tiny spots, some larger drops, and the occasional stretch of craggy lace.

Smell: Dark caramel and spice - no surprise there. Cinnamon is clear. Perhaps nutmeg, maybe ginger... nice.

Taste: The spice is strong, but I don't think it's over-done. However, it does kind of build at the back of the throat unless you give it some time between sips. It's balanced within the dark, almost-burnt-sugar maltiness, and a surprisingly bitter back-bone. As it warms it becomes more chocolatey and round, softening the spice a bit more.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied and gently zesty on the tongue.

Overall: Charming, festive, and warming.

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Photo of Kegatron
2.29/5  rDev -33.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

12 oz can into a pint glass.

Pours a deep clear ruby, with a couple fingers of foamy mocha head. A frothy ½ finger cuts across the surface of the glass, throwing up a rich cascade of lacing which then quickly slides back down. The aroma smells of a prominent dark fruity tartness, hints of nuts and cocoa, and then a ton of overdone spices (cinnamon, clove, allspice, you name it). Really strange nose here on this.

The taste is full of green bitterness, tart (borderline souring) fruit character, and then lesser notes of cocoa, caramel, and toast. It's hard to tell what's going on with some of the background flavors, as the tartness and then that strong spicy finish on this covers up a lot of what's going on. Those spices linger in the finish along with some leftover dry bitterness. The mouthfeel is medium bodied, with a smooth bubbly crispness to the carbonation and an overall pretty easy feel considering the size of the ABV and general weirdness of the flavor profile.

Wow, I just don't know what to think of this. It's like the makings of a decent Winter Warmer are there but the flavors are just so jumbled and confused at times, that it was impossible for me to get invested, in any way, into my glass of this. That tart fruit and spice combo were just too much. I dug the experiment that is Monk's Blood but this one really missed the mark for me.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
2.8/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

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

A: The beer is a deep dark reddish brown color with a short off-white head that fades quickly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains a lot of spices along with some caramelized malts, fruit and some hops.

T: The taste starts with a harsh burst of hops bitterness that you wouldn’t expect from this type of beer. Then a hearty roasted malt character comes in and is followed by mildly sweet flavors of caramel, spices and a little bit of fruit. Despite the hard bite in the beginning, the hops presence is still mild and there is not much balance. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Crisp but not very smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

D: Flavorful but not very tasty since the flavors don’t seem to mesh well, goes down ok, not too filling, good kick, not the best representation of style, this is definitely not a beer I would want to drink again.

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Photo of mactrail
3.92/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A spiced dark English-style Winter Warmer? It's quite a mouthful. Really fruity with a very pleasant gingery taste. Pleasantly spicy without overdoing it. Is there allspice and cardamon?

Fairly sweet with a nice malty foundation. Some bitterness in the aftertaste. This is rated at 45 IBUs. Dark mahogany in the pint glass. Not much carbonation. Long nose of spice and roasted malt. On tap at the brewery restaurant (01/21/2012).

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
2.83/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

"The truth is found when men are free to pursue it."

--Franklin D. Roosevelt

Pecan shell dark brown that would probably be burnt orange with brighter backlighting. The upper third of the glass is filled with caramel nougat colored foam that is becoming finely pitted as small surface bubbles break. Extensive perforated lace is beginning to appear as well.

The nose is medium-dark malty, with as much toasted-earthiness as cocoa. The former is due to Munich malt and the latter is due to chocolate malt and cocoa nibs. No guesses on what the added spices might be. Finally, an underlying tartness sounds a small warning bell.

Winter warmers are allowed to be sweet and/or bitter and/or spicy. They aren't allowed to be sour. This one isn't over-the-top tart, but it's definitely a fly in the ointment. Looks like mistakes were made at the design stage, since 21st Amendment are usually pretty good at what they do.

Specifics include well-toasted bread, baked nuts, steely caramel, unripe fruit and loads of lemon zest. Oops, almost forgot the spices... which still aren't identifiable. Maybe a pinch of cinnamon, although I'm not entirely comfortable with that guess. This is a muddled mishmash of a winter warmer that will not find a home in my glass again.

The body/mouthfeel is no great shakes either, especially when taking style and ABV into account. It's waaay too light and loses any semblance of faint creaminess that it might have had before mid-mouthful arrives. Part of the problem is less than committed carbonation.

Monk's Blood BSDA was a spices-added brew that hit me right. Fireside Chat misses by a country mile. If 21st Amendment plans to release this offering next winter, they need to give it a major overhaul. Love the label... when you see who FDR is chatting with.

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Photo of mdaschaf
2.11/5  rDev -38.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

Can poured into an Evolution pint glass

A: Pours a dark brown with some carbonation bubbles being released. Small head formed but faded fast leaving a layer of foam on top. Nice lacing down the side.

S: Has a spicy smell, get some cinnamon and ginger. Also some brown sugar and some toasted biscuit aroma.

T: Started off ok with a spiced/roasted flavor. The middle has no taste whatsoever, it basically disappears. The finish has a coffee/metallic taste and is sour. Extremely off putting.

M/D: Medium bodied with good carbonation. Overall everything is good about this beer except the taste, which is the most important thing. A real big letdown, was hoping for much more but will probably not have this again.

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Photo of smcolw
3.24/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Large and rocky head. Leaves plenty of chunky lace. Brown color and clear.

There's a shocking sourness on the initial whiff. Behind that, there's a powdered cocoa.

The flavor is an improvement: there's a hazelnut element to the tongue. It has a mild peppery bite in the swallow. This is a surprisingly thin brew. There is a minor metallic presence in the taste, but overall it is true to the winter warmer style.

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Photo of Slatetank
3.15/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

a murky tobacco juice brown from the can into a willybecker -cap is 3 fingers of rocky beige which retains well and lace sticks ok with good retention and bead is avg size. The smell is really sweet and malty w/ nutty and cocoa like aroma w/ hint of spice, slight scent of hops w/ mild plum ester from the yeast. The feel is very tangy with lots of yeast and slight nutty texture from the malt with a moderate amount of carbonation but is reduced in quality by a slight metallic accent.

The flavor is roasted but in a mild way with more yeast tanginess and the metallic flavor comes out with the spice. the taste is very caramel and seems sweet up front but relaxes toward the middle, more spice might have been better, however the malt lacks a little in the flavor dept. I found the off flavors easy to take at first, but becomes more noticeable as it warms. The winter warmer is ok but not something I would revisit any time soon.

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Photo of Jason
3.53/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz can

LOOK: Clear mahogany, lacing works for the duration.

SMELL: Burnt sugar, candied fruit, spice, alcohol, bread crust ... pretty much smells like a pissed off fruit cake.

TASTE: Smooth, creamy, toasty, carob powder, holiday spice, warming alcohol, ripe fruit, bready, molasses cookies.

Hey, if you are going for that spiced holiday ale you may as well go big or not go at all. 21st went big flailing away at the tastes buds, perhaps not liquid gold but it sure was fun to drink. Fun enough to have more than one as well.

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Photo of womencantsail
1.89/5  rDev -44.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

On-tap at 21A

A: The pour is almost black cherry in color with a creamy off-white head.

S: Smells like sour cherries and prunes with some metal, smoke, and cereal. There's a bit of a booze-soaked fruit cake thing going on a well.

T: Like the nose, lots of sour/spoiled fruit juices, particularly cherries, prunes, and raisins. A bit of an olive flavor as well as metal and cheerios. And just for good measure, some alcohol and brown sugar.

M: The body and carbonation is both medium.

D: Another loser from 21A. This was bad in just about every way.

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Photo of mdfb79
2.76/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

From 04/08/11 notes. Had on tap at Fireworks in Arlington, VA.

a - Pours a very dark brown color with one inch of off white head and moderate carbonation evident.

s - Smells tart, sour dark fruits, roasted malts, spices, and a bit tangy. Not bad but not what I was expecting at all, and a bit weird.

t - Tastes of roasted malts, spice, caramel malts, tart cherries and dark fruits. Again, just not what I expect from a winter warmer; the tartness is a bit offputting. A step down from the nose.

m - Medium body and high carbonation, that stings the tongue a bit.

o - Overall I wasn't very impressed this beer from 21st Amendment. The tart fruits mixing with the roasted malts just didn't work with me. Wouldn't seek it out again.

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Photo of woodychandler
3.65/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This weekend was our community's annual Greek celebration at the local church and the food is to die for! It is on the other side of town from me, but near one of our better six-pack shops, so I decided to pop in for a look after dinner. Lo and behold, a new 21st Amendment CAN! You CAN bet that I could not get up to the counter fast enough.

From the CAN: Not much. Great graphics involving FDR and an elf, plus "Seasonal Release", "Winter Spiced Ale"; "45 IBUs".

My aggressive Crack & Pour again threatened to overflow the glass, but to no avail. I had a big, rocky two fingers of mocha-tan head with modest retention. Color was a deep, dark-brown with ruby highlights at the edges. Nose was big with cinnamon coupled with dark chocolate. I was reminded of MexiCAN hot chocolate with its infusion of spices. Mouthfeel was medium with cinnamon, nutmeg and chocolate all intermingling on my tongue. Tasty. Finish lingered with a pleasant admixture of spice which overpowered the chocolate. I CAN't recommend putting this in a cooler, but maybe by the fireplace on Christmas Eve ... ?

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Photo of WVbeergeek
3.68/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep brown mahogany with ruby highlights when held toward the light, also forms a light tan head rising above my chalice. Fine even speckled lacing sticks to the glass. Aroma has a dark roasty cocoa accent with the dark roasted malts used, hints of subtle spices added as well a touch of cinnamon and nutmeg coated with honey glaze. Herbal/mild citrus hops in the background I see the beer actually clocks in at 45 IBUs, I wouldn't have estimated it being that high. Flavor has dark roasted malts cocoa rustic dark breadiness, herbal citric hops with spices running through. A nice tartness comes through the middle of it almost has some orange peel characteristics. Ample bitterness amongst the malts and spice additions, a nice complex canned ale perfect for the colder weather. Mouthfeel is medium bodied dry bitter finish from the spices and moderate hop dose, carbonation is moderate tickles the throat a good bit but also carries the spices across the palate nicely. Drinkability overall, I'm glad I grabbed a six of this for $9.99 it will last me throughout the winter months. A can here or there is what I would like to do, not much of a beer I want to sit and enjoy in number but it's nice if you're in the mood for this type of beer.

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Fireside Chat from 21st Amendment Brewery
3.43 out of 5 based on 1,271 ratings.
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