For the first time in four years, Stoutmeister made it to the Stout Invitational up at Bathtub Row Brewing in Los Alamos this Saturday. This annual New Mexico Brewers Guild event brings stout lovers together from across the state in a unique setting atop the mountain in a perfect stout weather kind of day.
The winner of the public vote for this fun competition was El Choco by Lost Hiker Brewing from Ruidoso. It earned 24 votes, beating out Roosevelt’s Bull Moose Imperial Stout (18) and Blue Corn’s Whiteout Stout (16). The best performance by an Albuquerque brewery was Tractor’s Chocolate Milk Stout, which was fourth with 13 votes (it was my choice out of the group, FYI).
For Lost Hiker, it was the first major award for the young brewery.
“It’s just unbelievable, I’m blown away,” brewmaster Dan Carey said. “We’re so excited. There’s so much good beer in New Mexico for us to come out on top, I drank 16 different beers, and they were all fantastic. This was a great honor.”
Here are the final public voting totals:
- Lost Hiker El Choco 24 votes
- Roosevelt Bull Moose 18
- Blue Corn Whiteout Stout 16
- Tractor Chocolate Milk Stout 13
- Bombs Away Fat Man Stout 11
- Truth or Consequences Dark Skies 11
- Bathtub Row Imperial Stout 7
- Flix Brewhouse Rubus Nucifera 6
- Red River Midnight Meadows 5
- The 377 Mimosa Delight 5
- Blue Heron Prieto Real 2
- Chili Line New Mexican Hot Chocolate Stout 2
- Nexus Hot Chocolate Milk Stout 2
- Steel Bender Brickie American Stout 2
- Red Door Paint it Black Nitro Milk Stout 1
- Rio Bravo Barrel-Aged Grab ‘Em By the Putin 1
Unlike the Stout Challenge that the Brew Crew holds, the Invitational features all sorts of stouts, from imperials to coffee stouts to others with special adjuncts. The format is similar, though, with the beers numbered as a blind taste test. It lacks the competitive ferocity of the IPA Challenge, but still manages to be an entertaining event, as it shows the variety in what people want in a stout. Whiteout Stout, for instance, is a pale stout, and it truly stood out on the tray (not unlike that one year someone put a black IPA in the NMIPAC).
It was pretty packed inside the ‘Tub, but the staff kept things flowing well, with the Brewers Guild volunteers running the show in an efficient manner between the three separate judging shifts (noon, 2 p.m., 4 p.m.) due to the limited seating. It was also more than a bit cold outside, so unless you could find a spot along the fire pit, stays on the patio were short.
In the end, it was a good day atop the hill. Enjoy some additional photos of the event!
A huge thank you to John Gozigian and the Guild volunteers, the staff at Bathtub Row, and all the patrons. Raise those dark elixirs high in celebration of winter!