Super Bowl Sunday is almost upon us once again, and while folks will pick between the old (Denver and Peyton) and the new (Carolina and Cam), all of us in the Crew will choose something even more important. Namely, who has the best stout in the ABQ metro area.
As we have done four times before, we will hold a blind taste test of the best regular or “house” stouts. Be they oatmeal, foreign export, American, or even cream/milk stouts, these are the ones available (almost) year round, their darkness calling to us whether it’s warm or cold outside.
Every year the Stout Challenge gets a little bigger with more and more breweries opening. This year we project to have 15 stouts, one more than last year. There are a few stouts gone from last year’s 14 — Drunken Hobo Milk Stout (Broken Bottle, which closed), Dry Stout (Nexus, unavailable this year), KC’s Traditional Irish Stout (Twisted Chile, unavailable this year). Those stouts finished ninth, fifth, and third last year, so they will be missed. Here is this year’s projected lineup, with last year’s finish in parentheses.
- Albuquerque Brewing’s Handlebars Stout (new)
- Bosque’s Driftwood Oatmeal Stout (12th)
- Boxing Bear’s Standing 8 Stout (1st)
- Canteen’s Dark & Lusty Stout (2nd)
- Cazuela’s Beer For My Horses Oatmeal Stout (7th)
- Chama River’s Sleeping Dog Stout (10th)
- Kaktus’ Stout (8th)
- La Cumbre’s Malpais Stout (6th)
- Lizard Tail’s Oatmeal Stout (in a mix-up last year, we got the Rye Stout, which was 13th)
- Marble’s Oatmeal Stout (14th)
- Ponderosa’s Zaftig Oatmeal Stout (new)
- Rio Bravo’s Black Angus Stout (new)
- Sidetrack’s Dark Engine Stout (new)
- Tractor’s Double Plow Oatmeal Stout (4th)
- Turtle Mountain’s Stauffenberg Stout (11th)
Assuming are available, we will face quite the challenge this year. Part of that has to do with only six of us being available to drink these obsidian elixirs. Porter Pounder is on a cruise ship with heavy metal bands (no, really, he is), E-Rock is playing music on the other side of the country, and Kristin is the only member of the Bullpen who can make it over Sunday. That leaves her, plus yours truly, Brandon, Shilling (he lives!), Franz Solo, and Mrs. Solo. If anyone asks why we’re going to mostly only fill half-growlers, well, now you know why.
As we have done in the past, it will be a blind taste test. We rank the stouts on a point system in different categories, then total up the scores.
This could be the first year we have a repeat winner, or even a second-time winner, or perhaps someone different will take the fifth crown. To recap the previous years’ winners:
2013: La Cumbre conquers all
We shall see who claims top honors this time, and then we will stack up our results against the upcoming Stout Invitational at Bathtub Row on Feb. 20.
So many stouts, so little time. Viva Super Bowl Sunday!