Beer Review 0303: 21st Amendment Fireside Chat Winter Warmer


Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s thirty evening radio addresses, delivered between 1933 and 1944, left a big mark on United States history. Affectionately known as “fireside chats,” this was one way the President addressed the country and led through the Great Depression and World War II.

Since Roosevelt’s “fireside chats,” each president after him has delivered a weekly address, discussing current issues and using the platform to advance his agenda. But no addresses were more successful than the fireside chats, and none left a bigger mark on history.

Now, getting to beer: 21st Amendment’s (San Francisco, California) Fireside Chat is a Winter Warmer, which they say has a subtle twist: they brew a traditional English-style ale, and then spice it up — the brewery improvises various spices until they have something they consider tasty. Another wrinkle on this beer is for a Winter Warmer, the ABV (alcohol by volume) is a little higher than normal, coming in at 7.9%. The IBUs (International Bitterness Units) are 45.

Roosevelt is featured on the can; 21st Amendment can all of their offerings. In the brewing business since 2000, the company is fittingly named after the 21st amendment of the United States Constitution, which repealed prohibition.


The pour issued an average size, creamy off-white head, lasting in duration. The beer was ruby red when held to the light; offstage it’s a murky river water brown. The liquid was clear in body, translucent, and free of particles and sediment. There was plenty of sediment at the bottom of the can, which made the beer cloudy and opaque when I poured the remainder into my glass. The lacing was excellent, leaving behind ample thin and solid sheets as I sampled.

On the nose, all the typical winter warmer flavors are accounted for — plenty of cinnamon, ginger, clove, and a smidgen of orange peel. There’s also some roasted malts that lend sweetness; some caramel and toffee. Think Christmas spices, and you’ve got the profile. The higher ABV is absent in the nose…


…and on the taste. Big notes of cinnamon and ginger lie in wait up front, with a touch of subtle orange peel and some clove. The middle of the taste, while not quite sugary sweet, is sort of like a honey sweet, in that it is a faded and coating sweetness. The finish is big on the ginger, washing in some cinnamon and bread notes, along with subtle chocolate as well. The remainder of the taste brings on some hop bitterness, which seems to grow more and more as the beer warms and with each swallow. Fireside Chat is medium-bodied, with a medium mouthfeel and a creamy, drying texture.

This seasonal from 21st Amendment plays within the Winter Warmer style well; the most remarkable thing is for a higher alcohol content, it is expertly hidden. The flavors are all there and are good, if a bit monotonous. A solid offering, but the growing bitterness on the finish made this hard to want another. Perhaps a great beer to close the evening with.

21st Amendment Fireside Chat Winter Warmer, 89 points. Price: $9.99 US for a six pack.



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