Home Beer Editor Blind tasting Shock Top Campfire Wheat

Blind tasting Shock Top Campfire Wheat

CATEGORIES: Beer Editor  

If I put a beer in front of you and told you it was from Heretic or Short’s and designed to mimic the flavor of s’mores, you’d probably be pretty excited to give it a spin. But what if I told you it was the newest release in AB-InBev’s line of Shock Top beers?

Last week, I had a panel of BJCP judges blind taste the new Shock Top Campfire Wheat, and the results were surprising: The novelty beer was pretty damn good.

I use the word “surprising” for a number of reasons. For a brewery that’s only dipped its toes into the large pool of beer styles, brewing a s’mores beer is like plunging into the deep end. Although the beer itself is only available on draft in limited amounts at four beer festivals this spring, the very fact that AB-InBev is letting a crazy beer like this slip out of its R&D brewery hints at what might be in store for the future. The other reason why this beer surprised me has already been well documented by others: The ridiculous and unhelpful media kit packaging didn’t suggest a quality beer experience.

So what made this beer so good? It delivered on its promise. The thing tasted exactly like s’mores: Slightly scorched marshmallow upfront, followed by easy waves of sweet chocolate and graham cracker. It was kind of incredible.

When I finally revealed the beer’s origin to the judges, the initial reaction was disbelief—followed by a few extra sips to make sure what they tasted was correct. But that disbelief quickly washed away: After all, AB-InBev has pockets deep enough for weird experiments inside its R&D brewery (I once heard a story about them making a carrot beer on a whim), state-of-the-art equipment and talented brewers when let loose. In short: They weren’t going to put something like this out there if it sucked.

Will we eventually see this beer on shelves? I have absolutely no idea. Would I recommend it to someone who likes s’mores? Yes.


Chris Staten is DRAFT’s beer editor. Follow him on Twitter at @DRAFTbeereditor and email him at chris.staten@draftmag.com.


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  • Derrick Affolder says:

    Its easy to nail a taste like smores when you make it using artificial flavoring and not actual brewing though..

  • Paul Talbert says:

    WTF? What beer connoisseur wants their beer to taste like smores? Seems like something that would be served at McDonalds.. Maybe I’m too old school, but this can not be good for the craft..

  • Lisa says:

    You mention four festivals this will be released at.. Can you tell me which ones? I would love to go!

  • Fred says:

    This is BS !
    High Water Brewing has been producing their Campfire Stout for a few years now. It is a fantastic brew that does remind one of liquid s’mores. Screw you AB !

  • Kari says:

    I agree with Fred… You want to taste a quality, delicious s’more brew made with quality ingredients, you must try the Highwater Campfire Stout.

  • Scott says:

    I have to laugh at people who bash a beer just because of the size of the company that brews it and what their mainstream beers are. Coors for instance has created a lot of specialty brews and yes Blue Moon. Blue Moon is actually a beer that in a blind taste would pass muster with BJCP judges as being a classic example of the style. Don’t forget Inbev owns Hoogaarden also that re-introduced the style 40 or so years ago. The article was spot on. If Short’s can make a smores beer than why cant AB? It’s all fair game.

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