21st Amendment Brewing Co – Allies Win the War!

It’s actually been a few months since I sat down to do a review of a beer produced by 21st Amendment.  I have probably reviewed most of the items they have in their line-up right now.  I can’t help it!  I have different breweries I tend to gravitate towards when I go to the beer store.  I get an email once a week, and random Facebook updates during the week, of things that will be available at the beer store on Saturday.  The Facebook emails give me an idea of what rare things will be there.  Every time I get suckered into the same breweries.  In a way I feel bad about it.  I don’t want to throw Stone, Dogfish Head, Mikkeller, and other major brewery reviews up here all the time, but I can’t stop myself.  As I speak, I still have a Stone to review and a Dogfish Head collaboration to review.  So, while I try to keep the variety up here, I do tend to repeat a lot of the same breweries.  I guess that bodes well for those breweries.  Even if I don’t adore what they have produced every time, they at least got me to buy a bottle.

While I’m apt to buy certain breweries concoctions pretty often, I am definitely guaranteed to purchase collaborations all the time.  I almost don’t need to know about the breweries at all.  I hear collaboration and I interpret that to mean rare.  This isn’t always true.  I can go to the beer store week in and week out and see the same brews sitting on the shelf that I jumped at right away.  Regardless, they manage to hook me right away.  This particular brewery collaboration is with Ninkasi Brewing Company.  I have become quite frustrated with Ninkasi as of late.  It’s not that they brewed something I didn’t like.  It’s that I can’t find them anywhere in the Washington DC area.  Thankfully, I have a visit from brother this weekend who lives in Astoria Oregon.  He has agreed to check a bag so he can bring me a couple of beers, and I have requested Ninkasi to be on the list.  Fingers crossed!

This beer is considered an English-style strong ale brewed with dates and all Northwestern aroma hops.  The style gets me slightly worried before even consuming it.  I tend to not enjoy English style beers.  If anything, I think I may need to look into giving them a really fair chance.  Regardless, it is the names on the can that got me interested.

This one pours out a dark brown color with a little reddish hue in it as well.  There are lots of nice fluffy brown head that develops on top of the beer.  I didn’t really think it would be quite as ample as it ended up being.  When I think of an English style ale I tend to think of something that is void of carbonation.  Like I said earlier, I think I need to give this style a little bit more of a chance.  When you hold the beer to the light you can actually see through it, so it seems like it has pretty good clarity for a really dark beer.  You also can actually see the carbonation in it as well.  Swirling the glass results in a ton of lacing, but it doesn’t have much sticky residue left over at all.

The beer has a very sweet aroma to it for sure.  You can pull out lot of sweet caramel dark malts.  It has an almost sticky sweet aroma to it overall.  You can definitely smell the rich dark fruits.  There are a lot of fig and raisin aromas that come out of here.  There is a little surprising coffee aroma that I wasn’t quite expecting.  You can also pull out some really slight hops as well.

I was quite pleased with the well-balanced flavors.  The malts definitely overpower the hops in the flavor profile.  You get some really big sweet flavors at the start of the beer.  The malts have a kind of rich caramel and molasses quality to them.  As the malts invade your palate, you get a big surprising hit of a little bit of clove and yeast.  I typically expect to get this more out of Belgian beers, but I like the little spicy addition here.  It’s light, but it is there.  The hops come in closer to the end of the flavor profile.  The fig, dates, and raisin flavor comes in at the end of the tasting.  It is definitely ample, and it mixes with some really soft roasted coffee notes.  Some of these flavors sound a little bizarre to put together, but I promise they somehow blend well.

The mouthfeel is pretty syrupy overall.  You get some big carbonation and yeast in the middle to help mellow out the syrup in the middle, but it comes right back in for the finish.  All of the flavors work really well together, so you don’t really have any lingering off tastes to throw you off.  I also appreciated the slight warming quality it had.  It was nice for the chillier weather we have had lately.

21st Amendment hasn’t really managed to disappoint me yet, and while I do really like this beer, I wouldn’t say it’s at the top of their line-up for me.  I couldn’t imagine having too many of these, but I think one every once in a while is great.  If nothing else, it has inspired me to give some English beers another chance.  I think this collaboration is still available, so you should check it out if you happen to come across it.  You’ll be happy you did.

Teacher Grade: B+

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5 Comments

  1. Nice review. I think I feel similarly about this beer. If there was something in between a B and a B+, I would give it that.

    • Yeah, I loved Fireside Chat, Back in Black, and Monk’s Blood for sure. I didn’t think this quite measured up to those, but I thought it was still a good beer. I would pick a few of the aforementioned before I got this one though. Of course, that doesn’t make this one bad though.

  2. I enjoyed this beer, but I thought it is a huge departure for Ninkasi, not that it’s a bad thing. Ninkasi is locally known for being masters of all things hoppy and true blue NW beer. It’s really too bad that they aren’t distributing to the east coast (yet). They’re only 5 years old and currently the fastest growing microbrewery, so I’m sure it won’t be long. If you’re looking for any west coast to east coast trades, let me know!

  3. […] a beer that is fully their own creation.  I have had their collaboration with Stone Brewing and 21st Amendment, but I have never been able to have one that they brewed.  A couple of weeks ago my brother […]

  4. […] Since this one isn’t for me, I’d recommend hearing these other folks out: Beer Geek Nation (video) the New School Lyrics Libations and Life […]


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