Since its merger in 2019 with craft beer behemoth Boston Beer Co. (maker of Sam Adams), beachy brewery Dogfish Head has added several new offerings but also eliminated some of the old standbys from their initial craft lineup. Lighter pilsners and IPAs, like Hazy-O, have taken the place of darker beers like Burton Baton and Bitches Brew. Dogfish Head has assured its fans that there’s always a chance they’ll revive the beers of yesteryear, but I’m not sure I’d hold my breath. Those looking for a darker option among Dogfish’s summery 2022 lineup at least have a milk stout, Camp Amp. Released in 2020, it was originally dubbed Campfire Amplifier before the marketing folks took a second pass at all those syllables in 2021. At least on paper, it sits at the dessert-y end of the spectrum, brewed with marshmallows, cinnamon, cocoa nibs, and graham crackers. S’mores in a bottle isn’t exactly new in the beer world, but let’s see how the Dogfish version fares, shall we?
It pours an inky black with a light, coffee-colored head that dissipates quickly. The aroma isn’t huge or overbearing, like some similarly flavored stouts, with subtle, softly creamy notes of vanilla fluff, cinnamon sugar, dark chocolate shavings, and Golden Grahams. It’s well-balanced enough to keep my mind from jumping straight to the dessert cart. The palate is even more dialed down with the dark malt contributing just as much flavor, if not more, than the candy aisle additions. There’s a complete lack of bitterness here, which is good because it could easily overpower soft, toasted notes of cinnamon raisin bread, vanilla cream, and cocoa powder. It doesn’t exactly scream s’mores. It doesn’t exactly scream much of anything. While I’m left wanting more flavor out of this one, I still much prefer things be subdued than syrupy and overdone.
B+ / $14 per six-pack / dogfish.com