One of the things that makes beer different from wine — apart from the fact that people don't wear funny hats to a wine tasting — is the range of flavorings that can be added to it: fruit, nuts, spices, coffee, chocolate; the list goes on. To make this beer, High Water Brewing throws 100 pounds of graham crackers into the brewing kettle.
Yes, graham crackers, which may sound a bit gimmicky but, in fact, are quite successful. This is a stout, so expect caramel and molasses flavors, and like a lot of present-day stouts, its mash includes chocolate malt, so there's a trace of that. The graham crackers reinforce the caramel so much that you might hallucinate a little vanilla flavor from your childhood memories of s'mores.
It pours opaque dark brown with a tan head and a strong chocolate and molasses nose. On the palate it's rich and medium sweet with a bittersweet finish. If you're looking for a beer to pair with spice cake or gingerbread, here's your answer. Otherwise, it might go with richer meats, but it's really for drinking by itself in a contemplative (or nostalgic) mood.
Style: A campout in a bottle
Price: $7 to $8.50 for a 22-ounce bottle
Where to find it: Beverage Warehouse in Los Angeles, (310) 306-2822, http://www.beveragewarehouse.com; Wally's Wine & Spirits in Los Angeles, (310) 475-0606, http://www.wallywine.com; Total Wine stores, http://www.totalwine.com; and Beverages and More stores, http://www.bevmo.com.