21st Amendment’s Fireside Chat

I have only once had a sampling from 21st Amendment Brewery, but they’re finally shipping to North Carolina. So, we win.

This is my initial taste of Fireside Chat, a winter seasonal from the brewery. It’s currently got a 74 on Beer Advocate.

What surpised me most about the beer was the difference in the first smell and taste and how both of those changed just a couple minutes into drinking the beer. While the beer is described as an English-style ale with spices, the first smell and taste actually reminded me of a toned down bourbon ale. The ABV is 7.9 percent, which is obviously higher than “normal,” but I suppose it was the spices that gave me that first impression.

After a few sips, that quickly changed, however. The beer mellowed out on my tongue and I definitely picked up aspects of regular winter beer spices – maybe some nutmeg or ginger. The brewery website says it’s brewed with cocoa nibs, which I could get a slight hint of at the finish. Overall it’s got a good, malty taste – the IBU level is listed at 45, which seems about right. The smell also eases out from the initial kick and takes on more of a clove flavor as the beer warms.

Overall it’s definitely a very smooth, easy beer to drink. I imagine I could go through a few of these before wanting to switch it up. What I like most about this compared to other winter-style beers is that it’s got a unique taste to it and I’m not bored after one. Above all else, 21st Amendment gets extra points for some amazing packaging, showing FDR himself sitting in a rocking chair talking to an elf. Bravo.

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