3/9/18: 21st Amendment Brewery's Tales from the Kettle 2017

3:30 PM

This post is a bittersweet one; it's the final John Likes Beer entry that will be written in my current apartment. Hell, it'll be the last John Likes Beer entry from the City of Cincinnati. Michelle and I are sprinting toward the closing date on our house. Next time you come around these parts, you'll have a whole new venue to be seen through the few pictures that accompany each post. (Please note that I'm taking a break from packing all of my miscellanea to type this up. That's how close we are to vacating our current living situation.)


What's the beer with which I'm opting to close out this chapter of John Likes Beer? Easy. 21st Amendment's Tales from the Kettle 2017. Truth be told, I'd meant to make this post last month when the beer was still pretty widely available. But, better late than never, right? And, according to this online beer locator, there are still cans of it to be had out in the wild!

Before you read on, I encourage you to go to battleforthenet.com and contact your congressional representatives about standing against the FCC's decision to dismantle net neutrality. Frankly, I'm tired of harping on this. I'm sure you're tired of reading about here. So, please push your representatives to fight to keep the internet free and open. It's important for everyone across all political lines. Unless you're the head of an ISP. If you're the head of an ISP and you're reading this, get out. Thanks.

All right. Now, let's focus on 21st Amendment Brewery. Founded by Shaun O'Sullivan and Nico Freccia in 2000, the San Francisco-based brewery takes its namesake from the amendment that overturned Prohibition. The founders met while studying brewing science at UC Davis and quickly cobbled together a plan for a brewery that's now housed in the city's center. Be sure to hit up their "The Company" webpage for the full story of their history.

Tales from the Kettle 2017 is an entry (it looks to be the inaugural entry) in a series defined by a homebrew competition. See, 21st Amendment hosts a homebrew off for its employees. The winners sees their beer enter production. Last years' winners brewed a tea-infused Scotch ale called Not Your Cup of Tea. We know it as Tales from the Kettle 2017. It's a hefty 9.0% ABV ale that, given its ingredients, should be roasty and slightly sweet. If you have the itch to learn more about it, head on over to it's official page.

True to form, Tales smells like a Scotch ale. Meaning its bouquet is roasty, smokey, and savoury. There's also a not-so-subtle hint of booziness lingering in each whiff. Speaking of whiffs, Purrl gave my can eight of them. That's a lot more than I thought she would! She's historically shied away from the boozier-smelling stuff. Do you think her palate is expanding like mine (albeit at a slower rate)?


The ale's flavor is intriguing. Sure, it's definitely a Scotch ale. It's a little smokey. It's roasty. There're coffee and meaty notes in each swig. But there's a sweetness that coats my mouth--I attribute this to the natural sweetness of black tea. Surprisingly, there's hardly any booziness here. Which is great but, at 9%, means that Tales from the Kettle is a dangerous beer.

Tales has a full body and a dry finish. It's more creamy that I'd've expected, but that creaminess works well.

Summers ago--I'm talking 2013 here--Michelle and I lived in a tiny Athens, Ohio apartment with Purrl and a newly-adopted Háma. She was in summer classes and I was struggling to make ends meet by working as a deli clerk at a grocery store (this was immediately after my BA and before my enrollment in my MA program). One rainy afternoon she was in class across town. I was in the apartment with cats. I decided to make some more headway in the book I was reading: Tolkien's The Return of the King.

I opened my bedroom window to let in the sound and the aroma of the summer rain falling outside. I settled into my bed and cracked open a can of ginger ale. I opened my book and lost myself in Middle-earth for a few hours while the cats slept at my feet. Eventually, Michelle came home and we made dinner before nestling down in front of the TV for some Netflix. I have no idea why, but, as I sit here drinking my can of Tales from the Kettle, I find my mind wandering to that enjoyable, rainy summer afternoon.

Regardless of why my mind's doing what it's doing, I can at least say something with complete certainty: 21st Amendment's Tales from the Kettle is a fantastic brew. I'm talking about an easy 9.5/10. You really should hit up the first link in the post and see where you can get some near you tonight. I'm sure it'll pair pretty perfectly with whatever you have planned for this evening.

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