Beer: Fireside Chat
Brewer: 21st Amendment Brewery
Style: Winter Warmer
Description: Fireside Chat pours a deep hazel brown with a big frothy tan head that has fantastic retention and leaves a nice sticky lacing on the glass as it recedes. The aroma is very malt-forward, with notes of roasted malts mixing with warm cocoa and cinnamon to create a very inviting smell. The taste is fairly malt-forward, but not as much as one might expect with this style. The malts hit the palate first with a roasted sweetness that is followed quickly by the cinnamon and cocoa for a touch of bitterness before a warming dry finish takes over. The medium body and light carbonation create a very smooth and easy-drinking beer; the hidden 7.9 percent ABV can quickly sneak up on you. I cannot think of a better way to warm up on a cold winter evening.
Food pairing: The smooth body and notes of chocolate direct this beer towards the dessert end of a meal; however, there are a lot of complexities within this beer that make it great to pair with a wide variety of rich dinner selections. A simple pairing would be with a bowl of fresh chili, preferably made with black valentine beans if you have them available. The spices have met their match against the rich malty backbone of Fireside Chat, but the two combine for a wonderful layer of complexity to a relatively simple dish. If you are looking for a meatier dish, try Fireside Chat with either rabbit, duck, or even venison. You can, of course, have Fireside Chat with a wide variety of desserts; I highly recommend trying it with crème brûlée, white chocolate mousse, or a simple dish of ice cream.
The final word: The winter warmer style can be a bit too malty for some not used to it, but Fireside Chat manages to overcome that hurdle and is extremely smooth and enjoyable. The point behind the style is to be a beer that “warms” you on cool evenings, and this beer is certainly one that you can see yourself enjoying while sitting with friends around a warm fire on a cold winter evening. The straightforward yet complex flavorings within this beer make it one that you can enjoy long into the evening. Fireside Chat is yet another fantastic beer from a brewery that is consistently producing amazing and drinkable beers and is also the perfect beer to have before settling in to a long winter’s nap!
Rating: W W W W
Where can I get it? Currently available in 12 oz. cans at: Aurants, Duryea; Backyard Ale House, Scranton; Joe’s Six Packs to Go, Dunmore; and The Bog, Scranton
Remember, enjoy responsibly! Cheers!
-Derek Warren is a beer fanatic, avid homebrewer, and beer historian. Follow Derek’s beer blog at idtapthat.org.