11/25/16: 21st Amendment Brewery's Fireside Chat

4:36 PM

Well, here we are. It's the official start of the Christmas shopping season. It's exactly one month out from Christmas. You know all of this because I'm about to crack into my first Christmas beer post of the season. Hold onto your seats, boys and girls. We're about to get festive.

Before we go any further, let me say this: I've had this beer before. Quite a few time before, in fact. But this is the only post of the season that isn't about a new-to-me beer. That means that for the next five posts you read here (if you read all of them) will be completely new experiences for me. That's fun stuff.

Now, without any more ado, 21st Amendment's Fireside Chat.

In 2000, 21st Amendment founders Nico Freccia and Shaun O'Sullivan started a brewery that they began dreaming about five years before when they met in in San Fransisco, CA. Both guys had non-beer track careers going for them when they moved to the city and desired to expand its brewing culture--which, by the way, is exactly what they did. As for the brewery's name, it comes from the amendment responsible for repealing Prohibition, which expanded American brewing culture. Read more about company and its founders by visiting 21st Amendment's website.

Fireside Chat, the official page of which can be found here, is named after the method used by Franklin D. Roosevelt to address the nation in layman's terms. It's a English-style Strong Ale brewed with cocoa nibs and spices. It boasts seven different malts, two hop varieties, and an ABV of 7.9%.

It smells like an excellent winter warmer--deep, dark, and roasty. I'm not picking up many of the added spices, but the cocoa is there in spades. Purrl, to her credit, gave the beer a good five whiffs before turning away. Considering how this is one of her preferred styles to smell, I'm a little surprised the ale only garnered five whiffs.

That deep, dark roastiness is still present in the beer's flavor, as is the chocolate (still in spades). I'm getting just a pinch of spices (while there's no way I can suss out which ones, I'm willing to bet there's some nutmeg and some cinnamon here), but the cocoa takes center stage with this ale. With the 7.9%, you may expect some booziness to be present in the taste, but this isn't really the case. Sure, there's a little alcohol warmth, but it's a pretty decadent (not sweet, though) brew.

Fireside Chat has a big mouthfeel. It's full and creamy--not fizzy in the slightest. It's absolutely the perfect fit for the ale's aroma and flavor; exactly what you'd expect.

This reminds me of helping Michelle's family make the biscotti they bake for Christmas every year. I'd never had biscotti until I started dating Michelle. I say that I helped her family (including her) make it, but that's not really the case--what I really did was drizzle chocolate over the biscotti once, and, so far, only once.

Anyway, they make one batch of plain biscotti with chocolate on top and one batch of chocolate biscotti with chocolate chips and chocolate on top. They then share these with friends and family during the holiday season. The chocolatiness of Fireside Chat brings the memory of helping to ready that chocolatey Christmas treat to my mind.

I don't know if you can tell, but I like 21st Amendment Brewery's Fireside Chat. I've had a some this year and a few more times over the last two years and I have been consistently impressed with its quality and flavor. Pick up a sixer of this stuff when you can--it nets a 9.5/10 from yours truly.

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