Fireside Chat | 21st Amendment Brewery

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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 BEERMILER12
3.59/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a dark mahogany color with 2+ fingers of head that fades down to a nice cap that leaves some good lacing

S: Malty with quite a bit of Christmas spices going. Cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice to name a few. Fairly straight forward

T: Follows the nose. Very malty with a mix of the Christmas spices thrown in. Alcohol adds a little kick. Finishes with lingering semi-bitter malt and spices

M: Medium-full bodied with moderate carbonation

O: Could use a little sweetness, as the spices take over even with the big maltiness. Alcohol starts to interfere as it warms up as well. A good sipper as long as it doesn't warm up too much, which kind of detracts from that point. Interesting to say the least

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Photo of glass_house
3.49/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. can poured into a snifter

Pours a deep dark brown with maroon accents when held to the light. One finger of loose off-white head quickly fizzles to a thin collar with minimal lacing. Aroma is dominated by ripe dark fruit, molasses, and spice. Raisins, figs, prunes, clove, and a bit of toffee present an intriguing blend.

Taste starts with more fruit. Sweet plum and concord grapeskin lead off, then yield to a warm spicy middle. The toffee comes out again with subtle chocolate notes before a dry finish alongside some burnt black coffee, which leaves a lingering mild bitterness. There seems to be an out-of-place cola sweetness throughout. Medium, slightly sticky body is complemented well by just enough firm carbonation to make it lively. Pretty smooth, given the abv.

Overall, probably not one I'll try again. Just feels like it starts to go in so many directions, but doesn't follow through on any of them. Does it want to be a doppelbock? Eisbock? Porter? Belgian strong dark? Not terrible by any means, just seems a little disjointed.

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Photo of dar482
3.56/5  rDev +4.1%

The beer comes in a reddish dark brown.

The aroma offers red cherries, candy sweetness, almost a Belgian quality of spiciness.

The flavor hits in the front of toasted malt and caramel sweetness towards a brown ale. The sweetness carries on through the mid palate, but then the beer dies down slightly aggressively to a strange aftertaste towards the spices, phenolic, or just abrasive.

The beer is decently better than the rating suggests.


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Photo of Shikitohno
4/5  rDev +17%

Certainly better than Harpoon's winter warmer, this one almost suffers from the opposite problem: not quite enough spices to it. It's there, but could use a little bit more oomph. Still, I prefer the more lightly spiced option.

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Photo of Antikythera
3.75/5  rDev +9.6%

This is a tasty, substantial brown ale for winter. It tastes distinctly... warm... but if I didn't know there were spices I might not notice them. Certainly can't identify them. A little too easy-drinking for something that's almost 8% abv. Nice to find something new that isn't overwhelmingly hoppy against style.

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Photo of Roser
3.5/5  rDev +2.3%

A- semi clear/opaque (dark but let a little light through). Dark Amber, mahogany brown. Big bubbly mocha head that lasted a good bit. Nice lacing.

S- clean, malty, spices and clove. Dark chocolate.

T- bitter, toasted malt, spicy (and sweet).

M- light body (surprisingly). Smooth and creamy. Very little carbonation.

O- so so/ok. After seeing and smelling, the taste and mouthfeel disappointed. Was expecting more. Not a bad beer, but nothing noteworthy.


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Photo of brongladest
3.5/5  rDev +2.3%

A: deep amber, transparent
S: malty, grainy, bit spicy
T: malty, spicy, a bit grainy, mild bitterness, lingering alcohol
MF: medium to big body, creamy
Overall: a,solid brew, i would quaf a few with pleasure

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Photo of dank203
3.79/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

really dark, almost pitch black with frothy, light brn head. aromas are slightly boozy, fig, raisin, coacoa, vanilla, cinnamon. taste of brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, coacoa, vanilla, fig, all blended with a kiss of black cherry. feel is solid, just enough carbonation and smoothness

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Photo of Kimchi270
3.75/5  rDev +9.6%

Poured out of a 12oz can into a pint glass. Fireside chat pours a dark molasses brown with a prominent off white head about two fingers I length. It leaves a light lacing with a head that dissipates quickly. Smell is an upfront sticky sweetness with a hard spice undertone. Heavy clove and nutmeg with a molasses finish. Taste is of upfront spice and molds into a nice sweetness, in the middle I'm picking up aged fruit, dried figs or currants with a light alcohol astringent at the end (not at all bad for a 7.9% beer). Mouthfeel is slightly syrupy with a mild carbonation that I feel really suits the style. Overall this is the first beer in the "winter warmer" category I have ever tried and I will be returning! A very smooth spiced beer that won't overpower.

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Photo of fscottkey
3.37/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

A: [4.5] Deep gorgeous red to brown color. It looks a lot like a craft root beer in the glass. Forms a 2 finger head when poured. The head is dense off white foam. The can lists the best by date 01/07/15) and the IBUs 45 and the ABV 7.9%(+1 for the trifecta!)

S: [3.00] The smell is sticky spiced candy.

T: [3.25] Not like other beers I have tried before. The spices are not overpowering but they do cover any traditional beer taste. This is like a beer with cider spices in it. I can't discern individual flavor notes.

M: [3.75] Decent body and carbonation. No sense of alcohol even at 7.9%

O: [3.50] This is a new variety and taste to me. It was not like any beer I have had. It is not bad - but it is not something I would seek out again. The nose was a tad weak and I couldn't pick out individual flavors. As the beer warms I feel like it is tasting more like a Scotch Ale with spices.

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Photo of Jeffreysan
4.75/5  rDev +38.9%

12 oz. can, 2014 edition poured into a goblet

Appearance: Pours a beautiful, deep, dark, completely opaque, mahogany color with two full fingers of white head that dissolved away into a thin lacing of foam that completely covered the top of the beer.

Aroma: Strong notes of toasted malt, dried stone fruit, winter spices such as clove, cinnamon, nutmeg, orange peel, ginger, dark molasses and a touch of dark chocolate. Smells great!

Taste: Exactly like its aroma. Strong flavors of toasted malt, followed by strong flavors of dried stone fruit such as prunes, raisins, figs, apricots and dates, followed by candied sugar and Belgian yeast, and finally, some great flavors of spices such as clove, cinnamon, nutmeg, orange peel and ginger. Delicious!

Mouth feel: Medium to slightly chewy and pretty smooth, as there is very little in the way of carbonation. With an ABV of 7.9%, there is just a slight touch, a hint really, of alcohol on the palate.

Overall: Wow! Another great beer from 21st Amendment!! Tons of malt, stone fruit and spices! Delicious!!

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.26/5  rDev -4.7%
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 BigBry
3.55/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

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

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Photo of watermelon
3.81/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Photo of superspak
3.88/5  rDev +13.5%
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 Reidrover
4/5  rDev +17%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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

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Photo of Mojo
3.83/5  rDev +12%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

12 ounce can -> snifter glass

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mouthfeel: Medium to full bodied.

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

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Photo of jhartley
4.1/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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

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

S: Spices, cinnamon, burnt sugar, ginger.

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

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

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Photo of nittoh
3.63/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

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

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Photo of CFHMagnet
3.84/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

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

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

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

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

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Photo of Nugganooch
3.77/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Photo of thecheapies
3.51/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

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

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

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

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

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

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Photo of GarthDanielson
3.7/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

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

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Photo of JamesMN
2.98/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Canned on 10/7/13.

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

Aroma: Pie crust and holiday spices.

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

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

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

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