As more and more breweries open around the Albuquerque metro area, more and more stouts keep getting added to our annual Stout Challenge. Luckily, this year for the seventh edition, we should (hopefully, maybe) have more Crew members present than ever before to drink them all.
For those who have not followed us for long, every Super Bowl Sunday the Crew gathers at Franz Solo’s house, armed with as many house stouts as we can fit into growlers. With the lovely Ms. Margaret as our volunteer pouring guru, we try them in a blind taste test not dissimilar to the IPA Challenge. Our goal is to try the stouts that are on regularly throughout the year and determine which one is our personal favorite, based around the categories of aroma, flavor, mouthfeel, and finish.
For anyone who thinks that this probably just means we are ranking the same top four or five stouts every year, er, well, no. In fact, in six years of doing this, we have never had a brewery win twice, much less even repeat. Here are the past winners.
- 2017: Starr Brothers claims the title in its first year with Foggy Monocle
- 2016: Chama River’s last great feat is to win with Sleeping Dog
- 2015: Boxing Bear lands a knockout with Standing 8 Stout
- 2014: Tractor doubles down to win with Double Plow
- 2013: La Cumbre ascends to the top with Malpais
- 2012: Marble gets us off to a great start with its classic Oatmeal Stout
This year the field is wide open. We could have as many as 18 stouts to choose among, which would easily be the record. We may even have a special “celebrity” guest judge this year, but we won’t spoil his identity in advance.
Here are the potential 18 stouts that we will be sampling. Any marked with a * would be a first-time participant. The others have numbers in parentheses for their finish last year.
- Bombs Away Stockpile Stout*
- Bosque Driftwood (10th)
- Boxing Bear Standing 8 (11th)
- Canteen Dark ‘n Lusty (3rd)
- Cazuela’s Beer for my Horses (14th)
- Drafty Kilt Obliviscaris*
- Kaktus Oatmeal Stout*
- Kellys Sleeping Dog (6th, made at Chama River last year)
- La Cumbre Malpais (4th)
- Marble Oatmeal Stout (5th)
- Palmer Switch Stance Stout*
- Quarter Celtic MacLomas*
- Rio Bravo Oatmeal Stout (12th)
- Sidetrack Dark Engine* (Stoker Stout was 8th last year)
- Starr Brothers Foggy Monocle (1st)
- Steel Bender Blue Bullet*
- Tractor Double Plow (2nd)
- Turtle Mountain Stauffenberg (9th)
We will share some pictures and the like on social media Sunday, but the full results will wait until Monday. Enjoy the game, if you can, or at least the commercials. Please remember, if you do go past the limit, Lyft and Uber are there for you as options, or make sure there is a designated driver if you are leaving home to watch the game.
Cheers to the darkness!