Greetings, everyone, on this snowy Friday. Do be careful out there tonight when in pursuit of beer. Stuff is melting but not evaporating, so that means sheets of ice. And New Mexico drivers are bad enough without ice under their tires, so go slow if you desperately need some nocturnal pints.

Scenes from the 2014 Stout Challenge shall be repeated this Sunday.

Scenes from the 2014 Stout Challenge shall be repeated this Sunday before the Super Bowl.

By Sunday, though, all should be nice and clear in time for the Dark Side Brew Crew to gather at Franz Solo’s house and resume our annual Super Bowl tradition, The Stout Challenge. As we have for the past three years, we will be rounding up every brewery’s “house” stout, be it oatmeal, dry, or this year even milk stout (no imperial stouts or coffee stouts is the lone rule). In a few cases, if a notable brewery has a seasonal stout that fits the criteria on tap, we might let them in as well.

Based on the most recent edition of The Week Ahead in Beer, this will be the stout lineup all of us (sans Brandon, more on that below) will be judging via the same blind taste test format as the IPA Challenge.

  • Bosque Driftwood Oatmeal Stout
  • Boxing Bear Standing 8 Stout
  • Broken Bottle Drunken Hobo Milk Stout (if available)
  • Canteen Dark ‘n Lusty Stout
  • Cazuela’s Beer For My Horses Oatmeal Stout (if available)
  • Chama River Sleeping Dog Stout
  • Kaktus Oatmeal Stout (if available)
  • La Cumbre Malpais Stout
  • Lizard Tail Smoot-tailed Oatmeal Stout
  • Marble Oatmeal Stout
  • Nexus Dry Stout (if available)
  • Red Door Paint it Black Milk Stout
  • Sandia Chile Grill Rio Negro Milk Stout (if available)
  • Tractor Double Plow Oatmeal Stout
  • Turtle Mountain Stauffenberg Stout

If Luke comes down from Santa Fe, we might add Blue Corn’s Gold Medal Oatmeal Stout and Second Street’s Cream Stout to the list. That is potentially a whole lot of stouts to sample, but we figure if our palates can handle 16 IPAs every summer, we can handle this.

We're gonna need a lot more cups this year.

We’re gonna need a lot more cups this year.

Rather than a total points score this year we will average out the beer scores, similar to what Untappd does (if everything averages out to 3.70, we apologize in advance to Bosque’s Gabe Jensen, who is convinced that there is faulty math on that app since almost every beer is scored 3.70). That is since Shilling and milk/cream stouts do not get along from a health perspective. And Brandon is out of the competition this year due to the fact his girlfriend Taylor just gave birth to the first Brew Crew baby, adorable little Bannon, back on Monday. I visited them last night with Budai Chinese food and a bomber of Chama’s De-cen-ni-ale. They’re a wee bit tired, to put it mildly. That bomber is going in storage for a while and I’m pretty sure if they had more than a pint of beer right now, both would instantly fall asleep for a few hours. And none of us are changing diapers.

The biggest question most will ask is “who will win?” Honestly, we have no idea. If you go back through the last three Stout Challenges, it was a different winner each time. Even the order of how the beers stacked up varied greatly from year to year. There will be a lot of new entrants this year, so it’s really anybody’s game.

To further prep you for what we’re in for and what you’ll be reading come Monday (provided I’m not too hungover to recap before I go to work at 1 p.m.), here are the links to the last three Stout Challenges.

We hope you all have a great weekend, regardless of who wins (unless it’s the Patriots, because f— that team). Be careful out there before and after the game. Hopefully wherever you’re watching will have multiple places to crash just like Franz Solo’s house does, should the need arise. Otherwise, find a DD, call a taxi, or Uber, or whatever you need to do.

We just want to make sure you’re all still around when we do post the recap so you can go, “What the hell? You guys are idiots, that’s not the best stout!” Hey, a little post-game debate about the virtues of great stouts is something we would look forward to, should you all wish to chat.

Happy weekend, everyone.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

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