Monday, January 23, 2012

Fireside Chat: Making You Feel Warm and Cozy Since 1933

It is finally wintertime. 

I know it technically has been since December, but it is actually cold and there is snow on the ground now. It is the perfect time of year to enjoy a Fireside Chat. 

Maybe enjoying it while chatting fireside? 

First of all, background. Fireside Chat is a 7.9% ABV winter ale (spiced dark ale) made by in California by 21st Amendment Brewery. 

Pop Quiz/Name Clarification: What is the amendment that repealed Prohibition?

If you don't know, Fireside Chats were a series of radio broadcasts by FDR from 1933-1944. They were intended to inform Americans of the dangers to the country and how they were being dealt with. The beer kind of does that, but more for the craft beer scene than America as a whole. 

Unlike most winter ales, Fireside Chat has a subtle spice that doesn't overwhelm the flavor. It is a well balanced: malty and a bit sweet, but also has good hop character to it. The hoppiness is typical of West Coast breweries, but the balance is what makes 21st Amendment stand out. 

Keep in mind, this is certainly not a beer for everyone. Winter ales are intended to be filling and warming. The 7.9% ABV will help to warm you up. In keeping with the style, Fireside Chat is a medium to heavy bodied beer and will hit you with a ton of flavor and a noticeable booziness. Be prepared for it, it is quite good. 

Apart from their great beer, I love 21st because of the artwork on their cans. If you happen to see them the next time you are buying beer, check them out. They also have fun, clever names: Brew Free  or Die IPA, Bitter American, Back in Black IPA, Monk's Blood, etc.

21st is also one of the pioneers of a new craft beer movement: using cans. Now, I could make a whole argument about how cans are environmentally better than bottles (they are) and how they provide a safer means of transport and consumption (no broken glass), but I frankly don't care. Those are just bonuses. Really, I like canned beer because it is convenient and helps the beer stay fresh. It's nice to be able to take good beer to outdoor venues and beaches (where allowed?). Plus, its much easier to carry a 12 pack of cans.

Other good beer in cans: Butternuts Beer & Ales (Porkslap, Moo Thunder, etc) and Oskar Blues Brewery (Dale's Pale Ale, Old Chub, etc).

Glassware: Pint, Mug, Simple Tulip (Although most canned beers are actually intended to be consumed from the can.)

Synonym Beer: Harpoon Winter Warmer (although Fireside Chat is significantly better).

If you want me to look at a particular beer, drink, place, or have anything to say to me, email me at You can send me cool photos too, if you like.

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