Days are getting shorter, and also colder, so that only means that the beer is getting darker. This time a year is a special time for beers, due to the fact that almost every single craft brewer throws out their special “Winter” seasonal brew. 21st Amendment Brewery is no exception to this rule, enter their Fireside Chat.
Winter ales are usually a tad heavier in general, but this beer is a pleasure to drink. I have to admit, what sold me on the beer itself was the packaging. On the six pack cardboard holder, and also the can (more on that later) is a nice artist rendition of F. D. Roosevelt sitting in a comfy chair, smoking a cigarrette, and doing his depression era radio addresses. This picture made me happy when I first laid eyes on it. Such a good image. The other thing that I found interesting on this beer is that it is in cans.
Cans just make sense for beer. Especially craft beer. With a can, you get lighter shipping loads, which makes it easier for smaller craft brewers to turn a profit. It also packs easily, for taking your beer along for the trip. For example, it worked pretty well in the Xtracycle freeloaders. Another perk is that when it goes empty, you crush the can, and have less bulk leftover to pack back out. That is nice, with no clanking around, the can keeps that horrible sound at bay. But, the biggest perk in my opinion when dealing with cans is that there is ZERO light pollution. In a can, you are probably not going to get the dreaded skunky beer that reaches this point from being exposed to too much sunlight during the shipping process. This essentially gets you, the consumer, the beer in the intended state that the brewer would prefer. Seriously, who likes skunky beer? Not I.
Lets get down to the beer itself. I have been nursing a sixer of this brew for around a week. Due to a current cold that I have been struggling with, I have had to take my sweet time just so I could get the full effect of this beer without a ruined sense of taste. I will admit, my first taste of this beer with a cold made me think I was drinking a Spice Girl. Let your mind ponder that for a second.
After my taste buds returned to normal, I have grown to appreciate this delicious beer. Here is the rundown: 7.9% alcohol, which there is not as much of an alcohol taste in this beer. I feel a larger alcohol after-burn would probably ruin it, but that’s just an opinion. Lots of spice flavor going on in here, which when mixed with all of the various malts that are used, it keeps the spice in check. Maybe that was the issue with Anchor Steam’s Christmas ale last year. That was the only beer that I poured out in 2010, it made me feel like I had done a line of ginger. Back to 21st though, the beer finishes nicely, and makes you head to the fridge for another.
Hats off to 21st for making this beer. Winter, spice driven ales are not my forte, but this one is definitely one that I will remember for next season. If you are intrigued, run fast to your local grocer due to the season for this beer goes from October to December.
I have a feeling that FDR himself would approve…