21st Amendment Brewery — Fireside Chat Winter Spiced Ale — 7.9%

This winter warmer from San Francisco’s 21st Amendment pours reindeer brown with an inch-think eggnog-colored head. In the pint glass, the brew looks black as a winter’s night, due to a hearty mix of Munich, wheat, crystal, aromatic, chocolate, and black malts.

Its nose betrays the Chat’s 7.9% alcohol and the hearty English-style backbone. There is a sour note mixed with seasonal spices, kind of like a gingerbread man that ran afoul of the gingerbread mafia and has been rotting in a field for a few days. But in a good way.

As it warms, the Magnum and Golding hop aromatics wake up and start to balance out the cereal bill. For such a weighty grain profile, I would have expected more of a bready mouthfeel, but the Chat is thin enough to be followed by another without feeling stuffed like the proverbial Christmas goose. Feliz Navidad.

Grade: B+

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