This time of the year is often fraught with different definitions of what comprises, the Winter Ale (or Lager). For some the Winter Ale or Winter Warmer, is a variation on the Old Ale. Chances are you have wrapped your lips around a pint (or schooner) of Double Bastard, Alaskan Winter Ale, Maritime Jolly Roger, Deschutes Jubelale, Full Sail Wassail, or even Bridgeport’s Ebenezer. Whatever your source of warmth, there is a certain anticipation that comes with this time of year, much like adolescence of old must have felt with the Sear or JC Penny’s Gift catalog.
Today we are happy to announce a beer that arrived on our doorstep, that breaks outside the limitations of a traditional ale or lager. 21st Amendment Fireside Chat, is an ale that breaks the norm in regards to what comprises a Winter Ale or Winter Warmer. With elements of ginger and sourness, this was a complex beer to be sure. But we stridently took on the task of reviewing this beer. Because this is the reason you keep checking this site, right?
21st Amendment’s Fireside Chat is a Winter Spiced Ale that pours dark like a sunset in Autumn, without much light passing through. As it settles, an initially strong off-white foamy head appears before receding leaving little in the way of lace.
A waft of lemon zest, ginger, cinnamon, and dark fruits is evident in the nose, before one even considers taking a sip.
As you swallow your first taste you pick up an initial tangy citrus quality that recedes leaving bit of ginger and sour bitterness behind, midway through you pick up the previously detected dark fruits before a finish of lemon peel makes its encore.
Overall this beer produces a light to medium weight on the tongue and without any stickiness.
Fireside Chat hearkens back to the Golden Age of Radio when the Great Depression held the country in a pincer grip, and people longed for better times. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s fireside chats, which often began with the words, “Good evening, friends,” were hugely popular and his message was one of reassurance and hope.
Fireside Chat is a subtle twist on the traditional seasonal brew. We begin with a rich, dark ruby brown, English-style ale and then improvise with spices until we know we have a beer worth sharing with the nation. During Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s, Fireside Chat will brighten the faces of those who enjoy it, near the hearth or at the table. Its subtle blend of spices balances the malty ale and will make this a foodie’s favorite, as it pairs perfectly with holiday meals.
Nico Freccia and Shaun O’Sullivan, 21st Amendment co-founders, are proud of their winter ale. “I hope everyone will have fun giving Fireside Chat a try,” says Nico.
“It’s brewed to be a beer to share and to celebrate the warmth and aromas and flavors of the season,” adds Brewmaster Shaun. 21st Amendment Brewery has brewed various winter specialty beers since shortly after the brewery first opened ten years ago. To make it unique each year, Shaun personally selects a special blend of spices for the beer, based on the moment’s inspiration. In the tradition of the holidays, it’s only available now through December.
Fireside Chat’s can and six-pack graphics feature FDR relaxing by the fire and having a chat with an elf. The retro style is familiar and inviting and conjures up Norman Rockwell images of American families gathering around a big boxy radio or the fireplace (with a wry twist).
You Should Try It. Although the realm of Winter Ales / Winter Warmers is vast, this beer sets itself apart with its elements of sourness, and dark fruits. Want to try something interesting, then consider this with a rum raisin pie, or maybe some sour dough raisin muffins with some butter.
About the photo’s author
Paul “Fruit Trees” Orchard, is an amateur craft beer enthusiast and amateur photographer. Throughout the many years in craft beer he is always carrying a camera (smartphone, digital, traditional) and is invites you to see that beer can also be exciting even if you can’t drink the photo.
In accordance with new FTC regulations regarding bloggers and endorsements, the aforementioned company has provided me a free sample that was used for research prior to writing this review.