Fireside Chat | 21st Amendment Brewery

349 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: 349 | Ratings: 1,268
Photo of beveritt
3.83/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentatiion: Poured from a 12 oz can into an Imperial pint glass. Label depicts FDR sitting next to a fire and across from a chair with and elf in it. No clear freshness date.

Appearance: Pours with 1 1/2 fingers of medium tan head. This settles to a thin yet complete coating of foam leaving behind nearly complete lacing coverage. The beer itself is a clear, deep mahogany. No sediment remains in the can.

Smell: Caramel and toffee malt with distinct notes of bitter orange and cinnamon.

Taste: Very slightly sweet malt with loads of caramel. The spices that presented themselves in the aroma are here, but much more bitter from the boil. These blend seamlessly into a mild hop bitterness that lingers well after the sip with hints of cocoa.

Mouthfeel: Average carbonation level. Body is very good.

Drinkability: A nice blend of malt backbone and spices. Might revisit this one.

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Photo of garrettparkal
2.98/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Im a big fan of the beers i've had from 21st Amendment until this one. The taste is just not there, and it seems slightly over carbonated.

The spices are subtle, and the aftertaste is bordering on stale.

Wouldn't go out of my way to buy this again.

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Photo of AdamF
3.33/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Surprisingly fruity.

I tried this for the first time at a craft brewfest. For a beer that pours a cola brown, it's lighter than I was expecting. But it still packs a lot of flavor.

I'm a fan of the spices. They aren't fragrant but they come through in the taste and the finish.

For me, Fireside Chat is more of a nice change of pace than something I'd drink every day. It's the only canned beer that I currently look forward to drinking.

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Photo of Rschis16
3.55/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Looks like a winter beer should. Dark brown but you can see through it in the right light. Not too much lacing as you go on.

S: Smells spicy, but I can't quite put a finger on it. Enticing though.

T: Not quite there, like its lacking something. Not necessarily disappointing however. Definitely some unique tastes in there, but nothing strong enough that I can put my finger on it. I was expecting it to be spicier i think. Has a nice finish with spices and slight bitterness hitting the back of your tongue. Nice aftertaste.

M: Higher-ish carbonation for the style. I think I would have liked it to be a little more subdued. I think it takes away from the whole experience.

D: I could have one or two of these but that lacking spiciness would get annoying after that.

Decent beer though. Glad I tried it.

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Photo of ZAP
1.47/5  rDev -57.1%
look: 3 | smell: 1 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1

I think somebody found some old Jeremiah James recipes laying around the Cold Spring brewery and decided to use it for this 21st amendment beer which is contract brewed at Cold Spring.

This has that same vinegar, spoiled eggs flavor and aroma of those classic Jeremiah James beers...the spicing on this one masks it a little and the body isn't bad...medium full...but overall this is one of the worst winter spice beers I have ever had.


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Photo of KevinFed
2.04/5  rDev -40.5%
look: 3 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

Weak offering. Drank the first one out of the can, the first sip was shockingly bad. The spices (aroma & taste) overwhelm all the taste of the beer. 2nd can into a pint glass, mellowed the spice, but still terrible. Great color, good head, but could not get 2 beers down. Save your $10.

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Photo of rootbeerman
3.7/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: pours deep ruby red with a touch of brown, head is a thin finger, which is light brown with a tinge of red.
S: apple and prune sweet aroma, along with light amount of cinnamon and nutmeg.
T: more spicy with malt sweetness, and a light fruitiness. not really any hop to speak of.
M: thin, only the spices seem to coat the mouth.
D: first can i had i thought was good, this can not as, must be a different batch as it was a few months apart.

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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 dciBA
2.74/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured from the can into a standard pint glass. Brownish dark amber color with a foamy tan head that fades quickly. Certainly interesting looking. Smell is pleasant with some toasted nut and a good amount of baking spice. Mostly nutmeg.

The taste is where this beer takes a turn for the worse. Not really picking up much of anything. Some muted sweet malt, and a lot of generic sweetness. There's also an odd sourness in the finish that lingers on the back of my tongue. A little warmth as it goes down is a nice touch for the style but certainly doesn't redeem this one.

Mouthfeel is good, maybe a bit over carbonated but still smooth. It's definitely a sipper, just not one I'm particularly enjoying. Glad I only bought one can.

*EDIT* as the beer warms the sourness really dominates the flavor making it hard to finish. Changed score to reflect that.

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Photo of notsoprobeer
4.12/5  rDev +20.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Color was a deep brownish orange. The tan colored head was creamy, had very good retention, and left a nice lacing on the glass. The first thing I noticed in aroma was the complex mix of spices. Although I couldn't identify what they were, they provided a nice introduction to the beer.

After the first taste, I was struck by how well balanced this beer was. The malts, hops, a mild sweetness, and the kick of the alcohol all hit my palate at once. After the initial rush of flavor, I noticed the mixed spices. It also had a sweetness similar to what I tasted in Back in Black. While I thought the sweetness seemed a bit out of place in Back in Black, it worked well in Fireside Chat. After it warmed up, the malts were more pronounced. Carbonation level was good and it had a nice mouth feel.

Fireside Chat had everything I want in a holiday beer--a more pronounced malt profile, "warming" from a higher alcohol content, and something unusual thrown in the mix.

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Photo of Briken
2.15/5  rDev -37.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Ruby cola color with big brown fluffy head with great retention. Chocolate, cola, molasses and herbal aromas. Salty chocolate and guarana, birch, juniper and other herbs/spices. Astringent bitter linger with light sweetness. Thin feel with moderate-high carbonation.

No matter what I could not get agood taste out of this. The only thing that helped a little was allowing it to warm further. Still, flavors were muddy when not overshadowed by an overwhelming astringency.

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Photo of woemad
3.58/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz can purchased at Huckleberry's in Spokane. No freshness date.

Poured a dark, cola-like color, with a good sized, creamy light tan head. When held up to the light it took on a dark ruby hue. Webs of sticky lace remained behind on my glass.

Spicy and roasty in the nose. Smells like it might be fairly sweet.

Roasted malts and spices vie for attention. There's an odd sweet flavor that I just can't pin down, but it's not unpleasant at all. I was hoping for a little more complexity, but it doesn't taste bad at all.

Medium bodied, with a slightly prickly mouthfeel.

Fairly drinkable, though perhaps the spices might get a little cloying were I to have more. It's a bit strong for session drinking as well. Still, you could do worse.

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Photo of weeare138
3.68/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appears a ruby toned amber with a thick, 3 finger head of light tan foam that slowly fades out. Scattered streaks of lacing are left around the glass.
Smell is of roasted nuts, cocoa, cinnamon, and mild hops. Pretty nice so far!
Taste is of the aromas with some notes of sauteed bananas, smoked wood, and some allspice berries with brown sugar.
Mouthfeel is medium bodied, mildly warming, with moderate carbonation in the finish.

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Photo of JayQue
3.47/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Fairly good winter warmer. A few different things going on here as well as the Christmas spice potpourri. Poured into a pint glass as a murky mahogany color with red highlights when held to a light. Nice big fluffy off white head with good retention and some lacing. A fairly good looking beer.

Smell was fairly robust as well. Malty, Christmas spices and some Belgian yeast aroma.

Tasted ok. The flavors didn't blend that well, but it is nice to find a winter warmer that is not just Christmas store spicy and thin. I liked the Belgian aspect (yeast and spices) to break up the cinnamon/nutmeg monotony. There is a solid bready malt backbone that keeps the flavor somewhat together.

Mouthfeel is about average, at least not watery. Drinkability is ok as a slow sipper on a cold night. Pleasant but one would probably do it.

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Photo of mralphabet
2.07/5  rDev -39.7%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 1 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

12 oz can poured into Pint Glass

A: Golden brown in color, nice fluffy tan head about a fingers worth. Head settles to a nice thin layer with wonderful lacing all the way down the glass... Wonderful looking beer.

S: Wild mix of malt, spice, caramel and yeast. Interesting ..

T: From the smell to taste is a big step down.... it is extremely tart and strangely sour, with a very light sweetness mid way through, with a warming alcohol burn. Wow this to me is just bad....

M: Medium bodied and very carbonated, yet dry.

D: Looks great, smells pretty good and un-drinkable!!! Just cannot get anything other than the look and smell out of this one. Sorry 21st Amendment, another bad one.

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

12oz can poured into a pint glass

Pours a ruby-brown color, with very little beige head, no visible carbonation. Smell is like a spicy lager with caramel.

Taste is surprisingly bland, surprisingly sweet, I can taste some nutmeg I think.

Mouthfeel is rather still, a little dry, not thick or sticky. Too much sweetness to be very drinkable, to me.

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Photo of Samashley
3.7/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I first had this beer at my local bar, South, in Park Slope Brooklyn. I've read a lot of reviews about the beer in the can version, and I think that the draft may be a bit different. I'm not usually one to have this particular style of beer, but after taking a sample of it and drinking a full pint, I kind of liked it. The first smell was deceiving, it smelled like a barbecue. But the taste was nice. It was medium bodied, slightly carbonated, and had a mild casky smoked taste. It followed with notes of chocolate and a subtle maltyness that I felt hid the alcohol content quite well. Good end to my night after drinking triples.

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Photo of Suds
3.08/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I like the can, especially with the FDR art. The beer itself leaves something to be desired. It's a rich red color with a fairly small, fizzy tan head. The aroma is a mix of spice, malt, and sourness (that I'm not certain isn't originating from a spice). The taste is moderately malty, with a notable twang. Malt flavor, but it's a little hollow...Spice notes, but not very balanced. No hop presence. Medium body, with a little alcohol coming out in the hind-taste. All in all, this isn't as drinkable as I had hoped.

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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 Gavage
3.02/5  rDev -12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: pours a dark brown color with a big 3" head that lasts. Thick lace paints the glass.

Smell: slightly sour dark fruits, nutmeg, cinammon and a big earthy tone creates an odd aroma.

Taste: caramel, hint of roasted nuts, dark fruits, some well hidden citrus, nutmeg, cinammon, a decent bitterness, and a bit of earthiness and touch of sourness creates a uniquely flavored beer. Alcohol is slightly noticeable.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied. Crisp to start, and smoother towards the finish. Aftertaste is long as the flavors last on the tongue.

Drinkability: so-so at best. This is a bit unbalanced and slow sipping. Interesting to try, but not one I would select for winter party.

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Photo of OneDropSoup
2.29/5  rDev -33.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Thanks to AndrewNations for sending this in the Secret Santa BIF!

Poured into a tulip pint: Dark brown, approaching black, with plenty of deep amber (chestnut?) highlights. 3 fingers of glistening tan that leaves moderate lacing.

Smell is...ooh boy - yep, I think this one's infected. Some green apple & dark fruit skin with a funky tang. A little bit of spice & raising but way overwhelming by the tang. Not unpleasant, until it develops a weird onion smell, just a tad, but still knocking this into the "bad" realm. A little caramel shows up later.

Taste has more tart apple, some bitter orange, underlying raisin-y spice but kind of curls around again in a way that's both rich & spoiled, acidic. Again, not bad at first, but soon gets to be too much. Acid fruit aftertaste, more orange.

Tart & acidic mouthfeel, not quite vinegar but not far off. Medium-bodied, moderate carbonation, dry & salivating in the aftertaste.

I kind of expected that this would be off & was also kind of looking forward to it. The sour/funky aspect combined with the spicy winter ale notes were an interesting novelty at first, but soon gets to be too much. I'd be interested to see what this is supposed to taste like.

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Photo of Eldalonde
1.91/5  rDev -44.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Pours a dark brown with a full tan head. Head retention is good leaving some nice lacing behind. Has kind of an odd aroma for this style of beer. Gives a lemon and grass aroma with some undiscernable spices. A strange metallic flavor comes through, some undiscernable spices, and an off bitter flavor.

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Photo of rudzud
3.36/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Been wanting to pick this up for a while now. I appreciate 21st Amendment but havent really found a brew that jumps out at me.

A - A nice typical mahogany pour with a light one finger off white barely tan head that fades at your average rate leaving nice side lacing and some swirls atop the brew.

S - Average winter warmer smells here combining with a dark ale fruit aromas. Interesting.

T - Nice combination of winter warmer flavours and belgian strong dark ale ones. Nice sweet malts tastes too.

M - Low carbonation sits a little heavy and syrupy in the mouth.

D - This is a good winter warmer, but there are better winter warmers out there that are readily available for a reasonable price.

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Photo of msubulldog25
3.04/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

A 12 oz. can poured to a pint glass. Picked up a 6-pack for a house warming/last minute pottery sale my wife threw today. Interesting label of a cigarette-smoking FDR chatting (fireside!)... with an elf? Tan and rust-brown, not typically the most appealing colors...

A: No justice is served by pouring this one at any cooler than 50 degrees - wow, is it impressive looking. Deep, rich mahogany with hints of pomegranate redness, fairly clear when held to light. Good carbonation. Fantastic head, a full two-fingered topping of dense khaki cream. Good retention and sturdy banding lace.

S: Fruit muddling and roasted nut notes... then a fairly strong whiff of alcohol. Musty, dusty and metallic.

T: A very unusual fruity-tart flavor, paired with toffee and coffee roast. Burnt nuts and lemony cocoa powder; plenty of off-flavors here. Whatever spicing there is here is dry and dirty and not very pleasing. That odd metallic (copper? iron?) twang does no favors here.
EDIT: I did have a couple others after the review, served at somewhere between cellar and room temperature ~ more fruit and spice are apparent, the tinny twang is greatly decreased.

M: Modest carbonation, soft and creamy. A velvety feel marred a little by a lasting bitterness. Feel isn't the worst thing this beer has going for it.

D: I love winter warmers. I love malty beers. I love hearty beers. I even love spiced beers. Really thought I'd love this one. Didn't. Something about the metallic twang, the tartness and an unappealing roast made this a mixed bag - one that I probably don't need to get again (although reading reviews about the draft version do sound better). *Might* have it again if I see it on a taplist... but this was a bad introduction.

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Photo of rodcom
2.47/5  rDev -28%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Not a bad beer, just not a good beer. Bitter aftertaste after a smooth initial start. The metal can is pretty good and easier to use then the traditional bottle. Have to admit that I am not a big fan of spiced beers to that makes my look lower overall.

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Fireside Chat from 21st Amendment Brewery
3.43 out of 5 based on 1,268 ratings.
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