Review: Shock Top Campfire Wheat Experimental Beer

There’s no picture to this review because this beer is not for sale. You can try it — available on tap only — in extremely limited quantities at beer festivals around the country this year. Want to find this stuff? Try the San Francisco International Beer Festival on April 27, or the American Beer Classic in Chicago on May 11, 2013. Check Shock Top’s Facebook page for more info — and information on two more festival-only exclusive beers coming out later this year.

Campfire Wheat is perhaps the most outrageous beer I’ve ever encountered. An unfiltered ale, it is brewed with graham wheat, chocolate malts, and marshmallow flavor. It is then aged over cocoa nibs before being sealed into kegs. What’s this all mean? Well, if the ingredient list doesn’t tip you off, think harder: It’s s’mores. S’mores beer. S’mores, turned into a beer.

Describing this stuff is nearly impossible. Bizarre from start to finish, it starts with big marshmallows on the nose, and a touch of smoke. On the palate, it’s huge with sweetness — clear marshmallow flavor and some caramel notes, a touch of cookies, then a big, ashy, smoldering campfire finish. Honest to God if you really wanted to taste what s’mores liquified and turned into a beer would be like — including the fire in which they were made — you have found it.

I expect most beer enthusiasts will find this both terribly intriguing and completely undrinkable for more than a few sips. I was alternately mind-blown and grimace-faced throughout my experience with the stuff. That should not, however, dissuade you from trying a sip when you encounter the Shock Top booth. If you’re able to finish a full glass, please leave a comment to that effect below.

D+? / shocktopbeer.com

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