Much to the delight of dessert beer geeks, craft brewers have bombarded their lineup of Stouts, IPAs, and Sour Ales with every marshmallow concoction imaginable.
It wasn’t long ago that marshmallows in beer were not a thing. The first style to embrace the ooey-gooey adjunct was the Stout, and the first one ever seen at Tavour was High Water Brewing’s Campfire Stout — released in 2012!
Here’s a little tidbit about that lip-smacking brew, and seven more that helped awaken a marshmallow renaissance:
High Water Brewing (Lodi, CA) - Campfire Stout - With 2 GABF Gold medals, High Water’s Campfire Stout was not only one of the earliest marshmallow marauders to steal dark beer fans’ affections, but it was also one of the best of its time.
It oozes with rich, chocolatey, marshmallow flavors in every sip. The brewery takes us straight to the campsite by blending roasty, toasty chocolate malts, real graham crackers, and molasses. Savor it slowly to discover notes of honey drizzled cookies and coffee-soaked marshmallow fluff that mingles with dark cocoa powder, smoky char, and a mallowy sweetness in the finish.
Base Camp Brewing (Portland, OR) - S’more Stout - For many local Oregonians, Base Camp’s S’more Stout was the first brew served with an actual toasted marshmallow wedged onto the rim of the glass. It was a turning point in many creative minds as to what craft beer was and what it had the potential to become. And for some, it was just a delicious, liquid dessert fit for a Michelin starred restaurant.
Off Color Brewing (Chicago, IL) - Dino S’mores - Whoever said s’mores are just for kids has never tried Dino S’mores, the brainchild of a former Goose Island (Bourbon County) brewer, now running Off Color. This bittersweet, dark chocolate-dunked, 10.5% ABV, boozy marshmallow Russian Imperial Stout is made strictly for sophisticated tastes.
Pipeworks Brewing (Chicago, IL) - S’more Money, S’more Problems - The Ancient Egyptians were the first folks ever to enjoy marshmallows. However, only royalty got to chomp down on the gooey treat. Pipeworks stuffed this Imperial Stout with thick, chewy decadence from ‘copious amounts’ of chocolate malts and crushed graham crackers. Then, in addition to natural marshmallow flavor, they swirled in lactose, cinnamon, cacao nibs, and vanilla beans for an ultra-velvety take on the dessert sandwich. It’s packed with enough richness to make a beer nerd feel like King Tut.
Neshaminy Creek Brewing (Croydon, PA) - Leon Russian Imperial Stout - The brewery made it with 50 pounds of homemade marshmallow fluff, 16 pounds of bakers chocolate, and 30 pounds of graham crackers in each 15 barrel batch. The result? Neshaminy Creek’s Leon Russian Imperial Stout is the quintessential marshmallow beer of the greater Philadelphia Region.
New Holland Brewing (Holland, MI) - Dragon’s Milk Reserve - S’mores Bourbon Barrel Aged Stout - New Holland’s Dragon Milk is a craft beer hall-of-famer. The legendary Milk Stout that was once many people’s first encounter with the style became their introduction to adjunct and Pastry Stouts, as well. For much of the beer world, Dragon’s Milk Reserve S’mores was their first taste of what marshmallow can do for a brew.
Cycle Brewing (St. Petersburg, FL) - S’mores - Doug Dozark went from a Starbucks coffee slinger to a Cigar City intern, to the founder and headbrewer at one of the most sought-after dark beer-focused breweries in craft. Those looking for a marshmallow beer as thick and rich as the actual treat won’t want to pass up a taste of Cycle’s S’mores Imperial Stout.
Prairie Artisan Ales (Oklahoma City, McAlester, and Tulsa, OK) - Weekend - Prairie is famous for their Pastry Stouts. Their beloved Bomb! topped ‘best of’ charts before anyone even coined the term ‘pastry stout.’ The Prairie crew brews Weekend Stout with coconut, cacao nibs, and HEAPS of marshmallows! It’s totally smooth, with a subdued roastiness to balance out the richness — so it tastes like fudgy, marshmallow brownies in every sip!
If you’re half a cup of hot cocoa-deep into a marshmallow beer binge, don’t forget to pay homage to the Stouts that set the mallow movement afloat.