Summer is not over. Sure, school may be back in session in some places, but warm weather presses on and September 22—the official end to the season is still six weeks away. There’s plenty of time for campfires, backyard barbecues, and the natural companion to those two events: s’mores. Adults and kids alike look forward to the sweet melding of graham crackers, chocolate and toasted marshmallows. Recognizing the popularity of the summertime treat, American breweries have played with the base ingredients and developed some don’t-miss summer beer releases. It’s time to gather ‘round the campfire and sip s’more.
1. Perhaps the most well-known among s’mores beers is High Water Brewing’s Campfire Stout. This American stout is brewed in Lodi, California, and was brewed to “leave you wanting s’more.” Unlike most of its peers in this category, this release is available year-round. With four pounds per beer barrel (31 gallons) of graham crackers in the mash, chocolate malt, and a dash of natural toasted marshmallow flavor, it’s no wonder Campfire Stout is the brewery’s No. 1 selling beer.
2. On the other side of the country in New York and Pennsylvania, Southern Tier Brewing Co. offers what it calls “the ultimate indulgence.” Its Nitro S’mores is part of its Blackwater Series, a decadent line-up of dessert-like beers. This Nitro Imperial Milk Stout, infused with chocolate, marshmallow, graham cracker, and a touch of Himalayan sea salt, feels thick and creamy on the tongue and carries a hefty 10% ABV. It’s as black in color as the charred exterior of some folks’ toasted marshmallows.
3. For Even S’more S’mores, turn toward New York City, where Evil Twin Brewing crafts an Imperial Stout by that very name. Similar to S’more Porter, Even S’more S’mores goes beyond the usual chocolate, marshmallow and graham cracker. Forward flavors include baking chocolate, which is typically unsweetened, plus caramel, marshmallow, and pie crust. At 12% ABV, it is not a sessionable beer and is meant to be savored like any other rich dessert.
4. The novelty of these beers truly is in the recipes the brewers concoct. Each brewery adds its own touch, so no s’mores beer blend is the same as another. At Left Hand Brewing in Longmont, Colorado, its version is chocolate forward, thanks largely to the Cholaca pure liquid cacao that is foundational to the beer. S’mores Milk Stout starts with Left Hand’s original Milk Stout recipe, but the malt numbers are altered just enough to get the taste of graham cracker to come through. Then that liquid chocolate is poured in and finally a layer of toasted marshmallow. Its 6% ABV is lower than some of its peers, which is a bonus ‘cuz you’re probably gonna want more than one.
5. Atlanta-based Monday Night Brewing ups the s’mores ante by using maple scotch barrels in its process. The barrels lend a maple note to the aptly named Maple Scotch Barrel-Aged S’mores Imperial Stout, part of the brewery’s Situational Ethics series. The rest of the recipe stands on the shoulders of Ghirardelli milk chocolate, Ugandan and Madagascar vanilla beans, graham crackers, marshmallows, cinnamon, and coffee. At 50 IBUs and nearly 14% ABV, it’s the bitterest and highest in alcohol volume of the line-up. Yummy? Unique? Yes, indeed.
In addition to the ones mentioned above, try S’more Stout by Short’s Brewing Co. (Bellaire, Michigan), Double Dark Chocolate Biggie S’mores Imperial Stout by Three Notched Brewing Co., (Charlottesville, VA), and Dogfish Head Camp Amp by Dogfish Brewing (Rehoboth Beach, DE). S’more Stout highlights a smoky flavor (think toasted marshmallow), Double Dark Chocolate Biggie S’mores pushes the chocolate, and Dogfish Head Camp Amp adds some cinnamon and smoked malt. All different; all wonderful conclusions to summer 2021.