As the cold chill creeps across the windshields of our state, we Nuevo Mexicanos tend to head indoors, finally abandoning the patios we’ve held onto through the fall. Winter is finally here, and the eves of pumpkin beers and brut experiments are soon behind us, and only the memories of wet-hop and Oktoberfest beers remain, buried deep down on our Untappd lists.
As winter closes its icy talons around our hearts, something changes. A lever inside is pulled. A switch of self-preservation is flipped for many of us beer drinkers. Now bundled in our warmest coats and our touchscreen-friendly gloves, we belly up to the bar to navigate a new menu of wonderful winter offerings of delicious dark-ish delights. Gone from our minds (and even menus) are the liquid-sunlight lagers, fruit-basket bubblegum beers, and lawn-gnome-wrecking porch pounders. Instead, we find dark spots on our beer lists, voids, blackholes of boozy goodness during this, the darkest of daylight savings times.
Yes, Stout Season is upon us, and to some of us in the Crew, it’s beginning to look a lot like Festivus. Oh, my friends, Stout Season is a wonderful time of the year when we turn down the lights, curl up in front of the fire in our warmest plaid pajama banana hammocks, and get ready to Netflix-and-Chill with a snifter of Bourbon Barrel-Aged Tweak.
In celebration of the season, the Santa Fe kings of the collab, Rowley Farmhouse Ales, are bringing us lucky folks yet another edition of Blackest Friday, a hit parade of beer’s darkest and most doom-fully metal beer, with a cosmically colossal collection of big barrel-aged stouts.
On Black Friday, November 23, RFA will be tapping nearly 20 rare and barrel-aged stouts for all those who aren’t afraid of the dark. Such an event promises to test the mettle of even the most intrepid spelunker. It will pummel the palate, trounce the taste-buds, and just make our inner stout monsters sit up and chuckle a deep, bellowing and satisfied laugh. Mm-hm-hm-hm-hm-hm!
“It started out as a F*** AB(InBev) party,” chef and co-owner Jeffery Kaplan said. “We wanted to have a bunch of barrel-aged beers on. We wanted to see how many barrel-aged stouts we could get. So, instead of waiting in line all day at a liquor store to get this beer, or go to another bar to get this one beer on draft, we decided to get as many rare barrel-aged stouts as we could get (through distribution).”
Last year, for the first Blackest Friday, RFA served up 11 stouts into pints and tasters. This year RFA is aiming to acquire around 18 or 19 kegs.
“We have 14 in our possession right now, but we have verbal commitments from a handful more that are going to show up in the next couple of weeks,” Kaplan said. “It’s basically an all-day event where we just have as many barrel-aged stouts for people to try as we can.”
They already have quite a few impressive and exclusive beers on the list, everything from 2017 Founders Kentucky Breakfast Stout AND Canadian Breakfast Stout, Avery’s Tweak, Oskar Blues Barrel-Aged Ten Fiddy, Marble’s Imperial Stout, Firestone Walker’s Coconut Rye Parabola, and Rowley’s own Colkegan Barrel-Aged Sin Barreras. Most important and interesting on this year’s list, Kaplan said, is a keg from Perennial Artisan Ales.
“Perennial Artisan Ales is a great brewery from St. Louis,” he added. “One of the best breweries in the country, and we have a keg of their Sump Coffee Stout, and the only kegs in the state are going to be sold here.”
That’s right folks. Rowley Farmhouse Ales has struck a deal with Perennial to sell their beers out of the brewery, and we’re always excited to see new beers from a new-to-us brewery in New Mexico. The total list for Blackest Friday is impressive, and there may be a couple surprises yet. There’s a rumor that La Cumbre may send up some La Negra, and we may also get a keg of Stone’s 2013 Russian Imperial Stout Mikhail’s Odd, one of eight kegs to ever leave the brewery. Period. That should be more than enough to convince you to head over to Blackest Friday. We in the Crew don’t need any convincing. We’re quite aware of the power of RFA’s dark side.
Stout List (as of November 9):
- Amager Hr. Frederiksen
- Avery Tweak
- Deschutes Black Butte XXVIII
- Founders CBS (Canadian Breakfast Stout)
- Founders KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout)
- Firestone Walker Coconut Rye Parabola
- Firestone Walker Velvet Merkin 2017
- Great Divide Chocolate Barrel-Aged Yeti
- Lagunitas Willitized
- Marble Imperial Stout
- Odell Jolly Russian
- Oskar Blue Barrel-Aged 1050
- Perennial Sump
- Prairie Double Dunk
- Rowley Colkegan Barrel-Aged Sin Barreras
VIP: Last year, some stout-festers were a little upset that they showed up later on in the day, and the super rare beer they were excited to try was already gone. Well, for those folks, Kaplan and crew created the VIP tickets. For $10, you get an extra hour to come in and order whichever stout your dark heart desires, well before the masses get their glasses around your pour. Tickets are on sale online right now. Only 30 will be available.
Who: Rowley Farmhouse Ales
What: Blackest Friday 2 (Straight outta Maclovia)
Where: 1405 Maclovia St., Santa Fe, NM 87505
When: 10:30 a.m. (with VIP ticket) – Close. November 23
Why you should go: As previously mentioned, if you like stouts, big bad-mama-jama Stouts, this will be your best opportunity to try so many rare, barrel-aged versions. If you like Stouts at all, and you’re not working, you have no reason to miss this fun event. But if you truly love special beers, hard-to-get beers, not-available-at-just-any-bar-or-liquor-store beers, this is your chance.
“If you’ve ever said, oh, I’ve always wanted to try KBS next to CBS, see how they taste, well now you can do it, side-by-side, and that’s really challenging to do, because they’re released at different times of the year,” Kaplan said.
Rowley Farmhouse Ales starts collecting barrel-aged stouts for Blackest Friday as soon as the last one ends.
This is a great local event well-worth your time and beer money. If there are any such events driving us towards a craft-beer-centric state with rocket-force propulsion, this is one of them, and you should mark it in your calendar, darkly. Beer geeks assemble! To hard-to-get goodness, deep dark deliciousness, and to a long and luster(less) Stout Season!
For more @nmdakrsidebc info and #CraftBeer news, follow me on Twitter @SantaFeCraftBro.