This is the hardest part of the year for me. I am not a huge fan of the long, dark days that highlight the winter months. I’m not an outdoorsy, winter-sports type of person. I’ve never gotten past the idea of strapping boards to my feet and hurling myself down a mountain, or found ice skating to be much fun (although I do enjoy watching a good hockey game and look forward to heading back to the arena when all this COVID is done).
One of my favorite things to do once the weather warms up is to build a nice, cozy fire in the backyard, sit in a rocking chair with a beer in my hand and gaze up at the night sky. I cannot wait for spring when it’s just right for enjoying a nice fire again.
With that in mind, I found an excellent-sounding beverage from the minds behind Dogfish Head Craft Brewery called Campfire Amplifier, added to the brewery’s repertoire in 2020. The bottle’s label caught my attention in the store immediately (the artwork is outstanding). The beer is a concept brew based on the ever popular campfire snack — the s’more. It is a milk stout brewed with graham crackers, cinnamon and marshmallows with cocoa powder and vanilla beans added.
After trying the vanilla porter I reviewed in my last column, I guess I was going for a similar experience, but maybe kicked up a notch. This particular brew sounded interesting, and I enjoy many of the beverages Delaware-based Dogfish Head produced. I typically buy and drink the brewery’s products during the summer months, especially the Namaste white Belgian-style beer, but also am a fan of its fall brews. I’ve been known to pick up some of Dogfish’s Pumpkin Ale around Halloween.
Campfire Amplifier poured into a glass as a jet-black, inky liquid with a tan head. The aroma was interesting, with chocolate definitely hitting the senses first, followed by the mix of vanilla and marshmallow.
The legs were a bit thin for a stout, but overall that did not diminish what turned out to be an enjoyable experience. The first sip was intense — not alcoholic but very full of flavor. And that flavor was a layered experience: first came the chocolate, followed by the spiciness of the cinnamon, which the graham and marshmallow flavorings mellowed out. It had a sweet aftertaste despite the brew coming in on the International Bitterness Units scale at 35, with little to no bitterness present during the session.
With a smooth, enjoyable mouthfeel, this beverage went down smoothly from start to finish. And at 6.5% ABV, you can enjoy multiple glasses during a session. I enjoyed this beverage very much and would highly recommend it.
Brian Hazlak lives in Kingston and reviews beers for the Liquid column. He holds a master’s degree in history from University of Scranton and works as a licensing supervisor for the Office of Children, Youth & Families in Scranton and as an adjunct professor of history at Luzerne County Community College. Contact him at email@example.com.