Stout Challenge VII: The darkness overwhelms us again

Will another brewery take the Stout Challenge helmet trophy away from Starr Brothers this year? Or will we have our first repeat winner?

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.

Hey, it’s our 2016 Stout Challenge group photo again because apparently we forgot to take any pictures in 2017. Whoops.

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.

  1. Bombs Away Stockpile Stout*
  2. Bosque Driftwood (10th)
  3. Boxing Bear Standing 8 (11th)
  4. Canteen Dark ‘n Lusty (3rd)
  5. Cazuela’s Beer for my Horses (14th)
  6. Drafty Kilt Obliviscaris*
  7. Kaktus Oatmeal Stout*
  8. Kellys Sleeping Dog (6th, made at Chama River last year)
  9. La Cumbre Malpais (4th)
  10. Marble Oatmeal Stout (5th)
  11. Palmer Switch Stance Stout*
  12. Quarter Celtic MacLomas*
  13. Rio Bravo Oatmeal Stout (12th)
  14. Sidetrack Dark Engine* (Stoker Stout was 8th last year)
  15. Starr Brothers Foggy Monocle (1st)
  16. Steel Bender Blue Bullet*
  17. Tractor Double Plow (2nd)
  18. 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!

— Stoutmeister

4 Comments Add yours

  1. Antonio Fernandez says:

    Come and get a B.C.S.(Bernalillo County Stout) from Ponderosa!

    1. cjax33 says:

      We don’t include imperial stouts or specialty flavored stouts (e.g. coffee, milk, cream, chocolate).

  2. Matthew Bryant says:

    I’m surprised at how many of these I’ve had. My current favorite among them is the Bombs Away followed by the Bosque.

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