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Fireside Chat | 21st Amendment Brewery

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340 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: 340 | Ratings: 1,225
Photo of indiapaleale
3.78/5  rDev +10.5%
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).

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Photo of movingtrain
3.55/5  rDev +3.8%
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.

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Photo of tbrown4
4.35/5  rDev +27.2%
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.

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Photo of projectflam86
2.68/5  rDev -21.6%
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

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Photo of BruceWineworks
4.39/5  rDev +28.4%
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.

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Photo of ccrida
4/5  rDev +17%
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!

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Photo of Offa
4.23/5  rDev +23.7%
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.

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Photo of Brenden
3.65/5  rDev +6.7%
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.

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Photo of Maerzen
3.93/5  rDev +14.9%
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.

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Photo of portia99
2.14/5  rDev -37.4%
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...

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Photo of cbutova
2.8/5  rDev -18.1%
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?

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Photo of DrDemento456
4.07/5  rDev +19%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A pretty big ABV take on the typical winter warmer.

A - Pours a nice deep brown with a tan head. Looks tasty.

S - Ginger snaps, caramel, cinnamon, allspice, and a touch of dark fruit.

T - Started off great will all listed flavors from smell but after half the serving it gets boring leading with just slight ginger and cinnamon. Still covers the ABV very well. No metallic taste on my review!

M - Very light to medium body. An easy drinker

D - As far as winter warmers, in a can goes, this one is my favorite. Nothing really for return visits but I could see this in my mixed sixer again. Since the price is right.

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Photo of hosehead83
3.28/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a twelve ounce can into a standard pint glass.
Dark brown in color, with reddish highlights, and a nice, two-inch head of tan foam.
Aroma-Nutmeg and cinnamon notes, faint spiciness.
Taste-A pronounced spiciness and a bit unbalanced-flavors sort of lumped together rather than blended. A subtle hop note in the finish.
Overall, a rather middle-of-the-road winter warmer that nevertheless fits easily into a winter coat pocket for assorted outdoor events.

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Photo of silentjay
2.89/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

pours a muddy, dark brown with a huge, dense tan head that lasts a while and leaves chunks on the glass.

rather faint aroma of caramel, butterscotch, fruits, metal, butter, and alcohol.

not much in the flavor until the metallic character steps in after the swallow. what is there is a bit spicy (nutmeg, ginger) a bit sweet (dark caramel), and a bit fruity (plum, blackberry, fig). not really combined well, though.

medium bodied brew with a touch too much carbonation and a "chewing on tinfoil" quality from start to finish.

drinks ok. very average as far as winter brews go. would rather a "mass-produced" winter warmer at this point. the metallic character gives canned craft beers a bad rep, when many others don't suffer from that... its not the can just something a bit off in the beer.

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Photo of womencantsail
1.89/5  rDev -44.7%
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 mountsnow1010
3.58/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Can poured into chimay goblet

A - brown with tan head. looks nice.
S - figs, prunes, plums...alcohol
T - dark fruits, sugar, sour bite, spices? can't really pick out anything
M - bubbly and smooth. not bad but a bit watery, not my favorite
D - very good considering alcohol content.

a bit disappointing. did not warm me at all!!

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Photo of Gmann
3.45/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep chestnut brown color with a tight, dense khaki colored head, which settles into a light cap with some sticky lacing. The aroma is of brown sugar and spices. The spices seem to be nutmeg and cinnamon, perhaps some ginger. I want to say I pick up some vanilla as well. The flavor starts off with a nice mellow chocolate flavor but is quickly overwhelmed with a strong lemon and tea like flavor. It has a sour berry thing going on and the spice that I picked up in the nose went in hiding. No artifical flavor which is a plus. The feel is creamy yet has quite active carbonation. The beer has a moderate body and is mostly sour throughout. The ABV is well hidden but doesn't need to be as high considering the body. It is not a bad beer but I dinged it a bit because of the style. I feel that it lacks on the malty richness for the style and is way too sour for the style. I will have no issues drinking the rest of the 6 pack.

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Photo of ElGordo
2.98/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Pours a pretty chestnut brown with a finger's worth of creamy tan head. Aroma of sweet dark and caramel malt, some notes of holiday spice, and a whiff of alcohol. Palate is malty up front with a touch of caramel sweetness. A bit of bittersweet chocolate and holiday spices come through before the swallow. Notes of clove, allspice, and/or nutmeg are present. Finish is clean, with just a touch of warmth from the alcohol. Body is a little thin for a beer of this strength.

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Photo of Daniellobo
3.58/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Curious spiced winter ale, with a marked sour sense.

Presentation: 12 oz can. Design around a cartoonish illustration of FDR having the conversation by the fireside with an elf. Notes seasonal release. Has some batch numbers but lacks a clear freshness or canning date, shows IBUs (45) and Alc. by Vol. (7.9%) Poured into a tulip glass.

A - Ruby brown to deep brown pour. Rich creamy head, good retention and surface memory with some lacing.

S - Spiced nose, rather compact with an emerging sourness over a light hoppy dash.

T - The mother of sourness... Hefty fruity sourness, under a rounded spiced sense, malty and sour again, cinnamon and a dash of citrus tying it back to a particular spiced sourness, assertive.

M - Medium body with medium-low carbonation, fairly creamy under the spicy sense.

D - Hmm, it works relatively well if one embraces the spiced sourness but its intensity also hinders its drinkability a bit.

Notes: This can may suffer equally from bad marketing and hype. Quite attractive in the design, and with a typically rather likable profile as with the other 21st Amendment brews, it sure comes as a bit of a hefty sour surprise. If one is not warned about that profile, and then one does not like the spiced sourness it is bound to disappoint. Ultimately it is not that bad a brew, but being a bit clearer about the overall profile might help it quite a bit...

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Photo of Beejay
2.33/5  rDev -31.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

A: Dark red when held up to the light. It pours a murky brown and the head on this is somewhat small. The head that is there is light tan, and required a fairly aggressive pour.

S: There is almost a wild yeast character in the aroma. Slightly tart and yeasty at first.

T: Slightly tart, and fairly metallic. The aftertaste is almost like how cat breath smells.

M: Medium thickness, high carbonation, and it leaves a bit of a funky aftertaste..

D: Not a big fan. Seems a bit out of place for me.

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Photo of BrewsUcanUse
1.36/5  rDev -60.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Was looking forward to this beer. Unfortunately it was sour sour and sour. Very disappointing. The spiciness was overwhelmed by the sour flavor. I could only taste a slight hint of it

I am afraid I got a bad batch. It was that bad. Unless it was meant to be a sour beer. Then they hit it dead on.

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Photo of Tifore
4/5  rDev +17%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 ounce can into a pint glass.

A - Pours a deep amber to mahogany in color. Lots of red and oranges. Develops a huge three finger head that is light white in color and pretty thick. Has a great lacing that holds to the sides of the glass as well.

S - Smells suprisingly light on the spice as compared to GLBC Christmas Ale or Wassail for examples. Spice is still there though, cinnamon and nutmeg mainly. Some fruity banana notes as well.

T - Taste is very much like smell. Spices come through and blend well with some hoppy-ness which leads to this semi weird bitterness at the end that doesn't really fit but kind of does.

M - Mouthfeel is very slick and oily. Lots of carbonation that attacks my tounge and leaves it tingling.

D - A highly drinkable beer. I could see having a few of these in a night and feeling great. I will definitely buy more this winter season.

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Photo of u2carew
3.58/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

12oz can.
A)Pours with a big head. Frothy, creamy, and off-white. Dark mahogany body. Big bubble lacing.
S) Spices - cinnamon, nutmeg. Toasty notes.
T) Malty - toffee. Roasted grain notes. Hints of dark fruit, but very subtle. In the aftertaste a mellow caramel sweetness.
M) Crisp. Medium body, but a bit on the light side.
D) A decent winter warmer. Could be a bit heavier in body.

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Photo of ardeano
4.6/5  rDev +34.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- straight from the can; I was at work and wasn't fast enough to get one of the snifters

S- crazy complex - fruity, malty and deep

T- like nothing like I've ever had; the taste follows the nose almost to a 'T', extremely rich with sweet dark plum and a bit of licorice - it's hard to explain other than it's a rich brew...

M- thinner than I was expecting (I was expecting a heavy liquid - don't know why) but rich nonetheless

D- your not going to sit down and finish a 4-pack off but a nice, rich end to a meal for sure... and if your not used to a rich, fruity beer I doubt your going to like this. If your a novice and interested in this beer I suggest finding a single can or find some friends to go in on a 4-pack.

Would think that a hot-out-of-the-oven chocolate brownie with hot chocolate sauce on it would be a perfect pairing for this...

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Photo of ccahoon22
2.66/5  rDev -22.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - Pours a thick 2 finger head. Dark reddish brown in color

S - Very light spice and some carbonation

T - Very carbonated but not much spice taste. I cant tell exactly what the flavor is I'm tasting. It's sweet with some bitterness. Not a great taste.

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Fireside Chat from 21st Amendment Brewery
3.42 out of 5 based on 1,225 ratings.
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