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Fireside Chat | 21st Amendment Brewery

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342 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: 342 | Ratings: 1,239
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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Photo of Stinkypuss
1.83/5  rDev -46.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

Fireside Chat pours a dark brown with an off white head. In the nose, spices (nutmeg) and a sweet toffee maltyness. Malty, quite spicy with some vegetal/pumpkin notes. Also a weird sourness that detracts from the flavor. Is this infected? If I was told this was a poorly made pumpkin ale, I'd believe it. Falls pretty much flat on the palate, low carbonation on a medium to heavy body. The flavors just clash to me I found this one to be kind of a mess. Nice try, but missed the mark for me. Couldn't finish a pint, and I was thirsty. Fail.

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Photo of cruzncomet
3.61/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Get this one on tap...Taste great... picked up a very sour taste when i drank it out of the can.

A= the darkness that filled the glass made me look around and try an find the fireplace...

S= thought there would be a bit more of the cinnamon or nutmeg notes but did not really smell it

T= I was lucky enough to have my first glass at the brewery. It was all I was hoping it would be..a mouth full of cinnamon, nutmeg, etc. a couple days later I did go to the store at bought a 2 pack...I was puzzled, it tasted tottally different... very sour....

M= very pleasant..enjoyed it very much not has caronated as I thought but good

D= Nice way to start the evening..more than one would be overkill

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

Pours a deep amber with two fingers of foamy tan head that sticks around and leaves tons of lacing.

Aroma is of nutmeg and a sweet caramel malt, more spices like cinnamon and a little woodiness round it out.

Tastes strongly of nutmeg, with the cinnamon in the background. Caramel malt fills out the rest. Some more of the spices are present but dominated by the nutmeg and cinnamon. There is a distinct metallic sourness that permeates the whole palate. I don't think the can was a good idea as far as flavor is concerned.

Very smooth and drinkable, medium-full body with a malty aftertaste. The whole thing is kind of folded in on itself, kinda muted, and the nutmeg is very dominant. The can definitely lends flavor and not in a good way. I think cans are a great idea that more breweries should use, but it didn't work for this particular flavor.

But overall it's a halfway decent winter warmer. Worth a try. The ABV is well-hidden unlike some others in the same class.

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Photo of tigg924
3.18/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: one inch head, clear, dark brown in color

Smell: cinnamon and nutmeg. This smells like a Christmas candle.

Taste: toasted malt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and some sourness

Mouthfeel: medium-light bodied, medium/high carbonation, slightly bitter with spices

Drinkability: An average winter warmer. I could have a couple. The spices are there but are somewhat muted. I have had better from this brewery.

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Photo of EricHeff
2.71/5  rDev -21%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

I really like the way this beer looks. The can is a cool design and it pours beautifully with about 1 fingers worth of head and a dark brown color, but it all goes down hill from there.
The smell is a bit sour but you can pick out the spices too.
The taste is a mash up of all kinds of stuff. Its sour, yet hoppy. Malty, yet over spiced. Complex, but not in the right ways.
I'm really not sure what this beer was going for, but overall I just give it a "Meh." I finished my glass, but I definitely did not reach for another. In fact I gave the remaining beers away because I knew I didn't want another one.
So far I have had 2 21st Amendment beers and both have been pretty lackluster.

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Photo of MenloBeer
4.1/5  rDev +19.5%
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.

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Photo of monkeylovebeer
3.78/5  rDev +10.2%
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.

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Photo of binkman
4.45/5  rDev +29.7%
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.

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Photo of aerozeppl
2.22/5  rDev -35.3%
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.

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Photo of kingcrowing
2.32/5  rDev -32.4%
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.

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Photo of KarlHungus
3.5/5  rDev +2%
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.

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Photo of Duhast500
3.43/5  rDev 0%
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.

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Photo of number1bum
2.34/5  rDev -31.8%
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.

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Photo of jmerloni
3.78/5  rDev +10.2%
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.

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Photo of JohnGalt1
3.28/5  rDev -4.4%
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.


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Photo of Lolli1315
2.63/5  rDev -23.3%
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.

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Photo of BARFLYB
4.25/5  rDev +23.9%
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.

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Fireside Chat from 21st Amendment Brewery
3.43 out of 5 based on 1,239 ratings.
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