Named after the prohibition repealing amendment of the Constitution, 21st Amendment Brewery is situated in the heart of San Francisco very close to the Giants Stadium. Nico Freccia and Shaun O’Sullivan started the brewery in 2000 and for a long time had their two most reputable beers contract brewed in Cold Spring, Minn. That all changed on June 24, 2015 when their new production facility opened up in San Leandro, Calif.
In fact, today’s beer, Toaster Pastry, is the very first beer out of that new production facility and pays homage to the fact that the building used to belong to the Kellog Corporation. Gee, I wonder what Kellog made in that building? Toaster Pastry is an India red ale with a strength of 7.6 percent alcohol, 74 IBUs, and recently earned a silver medal from the Great American Beer Festival in the Double Red Ale category.
Here is the history of the beer as told by the guys at 21st Amendment:
Toaster Pastry was a secret project that Brewmaster Shaun O’Sullivan started brewing the summer of 2014. He cooked up three homebrew batches at his house in Berkeley. We then brewed a version at the pub that was called “Ales for ALS,” then took it out to Cold Spring and brewed a draft version called “Blah Blah Blah IPA,” always tweaking it and refining before we brewed and canned it out here in San Leandro. The goal was to brew a beer that gave the perception of biting into a Pop Tart. It’s brewed with Munich and biscuit malts giving it a crust like character together with the late kettle hopping and the abundance of dry hops for the sensation of a jammy fruity character. Five different hops were used for dry hopping: Citra, Chinook, Simcoe, Mosaic, Azacca and Calypso all totaling over 2lbs/barrel of beer. That is a lot. Also, no Pop Tarts were hurt or used in the making of this beer.
Out of a hefty and attractive 19.2-ounce can and into a Spiegelau IPA glass, Toaster Pastry shows a nice clear crimson red with burnt orange highlights. The sand colored head peaked at two fingers in height and seems to be sticking around for the long haul. If ever there was a beer in which to peer into and appreciate its appearance, this is it. The aroma is complex and consists of glazed donuts, boiled peanuts, breadfruit, graham cracker pie crusts, and lemon candy. For a beer with 74 international bitterness units and a boat-load of late hops the aroma is dominated by sweetness, although I’m not getting any strawberry jam as indicated on the label.
Going bottom up coats the palate in malty biscuits covered in dark honey. The bitterness shows up on the back end in a stealthy assassin-like manner, smooth as all get out. Some alcohol heat is present but doesn’t detract from the experience too much. The feel of the beer is fairly heavy but the carbonation level seems to have been boasted to balance that factor. Still, I can’t seem to find any of that jammy fruit character. The sweetness is more honey than fruity. To the point where it almost tastes like a braggot, not that I’m complaining about it.