Monday, December 18, 2006


I feel bad for this guy “Mumbly”, who read my review of 21ST AMENDMENT BREWING and their HOLIDAY SPICED ALE, and then decided to incorporate a visit to the brewery on my say-so alone. Then he gets there and reports that he was a bit underwhelmed, particularly after my enthusiastic review of the stuff, and the 9.5/10 score I gave it. Well Mumbly, I hear you, brother. I went to the brewery myself the other day to try and recapture the high, and ordered up a glass of the Holiday Spiced Ale on tap (astute readers from 3 weeks ago will recall that it was a 22oz. bottle that I bought on the brewery’s premises that got me so wound up). It was almost like drinking a different beer. The one on tap was a lot thinner and less bountiful in terms of flavors than the one in the bottle was. My pal who accompanied me had to slowly & painfully break it to me that he was unsure of what the hell it was I’d gotten so worked up about. So we asked the bartender what was going on, and her take was – and I quote – “it’s the exact same beer. There’s no difference”. So then I asked her to prove it by selling me another 22-oz. bottle, and she told me that they “were all out”. A-ha! You can’t put one over on me, 21st Amendment. I got your number. Anyway, all that aside, the beer was still not bad, but I dropped it down to a 7/10 on my scoresheet just because the on-tap version couldn’t hold a candle to the bottled version. Go figure. Sorry, Mumbly.

I next ordered up the 21A – I.P.A. on tap, their IPA of course, the one that’s getting all the hype for being available in cans (again, only available at the brewery). I’ve had it before, and had a consistent take this time: it’s just OK. It’s probably a little south of most west coast IPAs in terms of hoppiness and drinkability. I didn’t like the unusual almost “smoked malt” taste to it, very different than most IPAs I’m used to, and I found that with one half of my brain I was admiring its unique nature and the other half was wishing I’d ordered something I hadn’t had before. 6.5/10. Ah well, that’s the nature of the beast on a big Thursday night out in the big city. Rest assured that I will be back with further reports from this fine brewery in the future.


Bryan said...

Ok, now you've got me intrigued. Because when at 21A the other week, I enjoyed, perhaps not quite as much as your bottle, the tap version. And, I bought a bottle to take back east with me. Unopened so far, I'll need to do this by the end of this upcoming weekend, cuz now my curiousity is piqued!

Tim said...

No need to apologize (unless you wish to do so in liquid form). I was going to 21A in any case. I just chose to have the Spiced Ale first instead of the cask IPA. Hold on, maybe you do owe me.

Also, I'm not a huge spiced beer fan, though I'm always looking out for an exception. I try the Anchor Xmas each year (they are having a vertical tasting on Anchor Xmas at City Beer on Thursday, if anyone is interested), but am rarely blown away by them.

The best I can recall having have been my own (and I haven't made one in probably a half dozen years) and another homebrew that I judged at a competition (the comp was held at Anchor Brewing and after the judging, me and the other judge took the remains of the bottle and tried it side by side with Anchor Xmas, where it still dominated).