Winter is not loosening its grip on New Mexico just yet, so it seems like a perfect time for the annual New Mexico Brewers Guild Stout Invitational at Bathtub Row Brewing in Los Alamos.
This fun competition will be held this Saturday, with three judging sessions at noon, 2 p.m., and 4 p.m. As of Monday morning, Guild executive director Leah Black said tickets are about 69 percent sold out, so get online and get your ticket ASAP.
In addition to the 15 stouts that will be served up in the blind taste test, the folks from Rose Chocolatier from across the parking lot will be selling gourmet chocolates to pair up with the beers. Yeah, this is the kind of indulgence that we can always support (for the record, yes, I will be there for the second year in a row).
The competition works somewhat similarly to what the Crew does for our Stout Challenge, though like the summer IPA Challenge, pretty much anything goes in terms of the sub-styles of the beers. In other words, while the Crew sticks to adjunct-free, non-imperial stouts, the Invitational includes coffee stouts, chocolate stouts, imperials, pale stouts, and just about anything else that breweries can conceive.
We do not know the identities of each stout, since giving things away would kind of ruin the competition. For instance, if there is one peanut butter stout, that would stand out, and could skew the voting if people are fans of that brewery.
Here are the 15 participating breweries this year, drawn from a lottery by the Guild. If they participated last year, their finish is noted.
- Bathtub Row (7th)
- Blue Corn (3rd)
- Blü Dragonfly
- Boxing Bear
- Flix Brewhouse (8th)
- Nexus (13th)
- Red Door (15th)
- Red River (9th)
- Rio Bravo (16th)
- Rowley Farmhouse Ales
- Steel Bender (14th)
- Three Rivers
New Mexico towns represented by this list include Santa Fe, Cimarron, Albuquerque, Red River, and Farmington, a nice statewide selection. Sadly, it does not include Lost Hiker Brewing of Ruidoso, which won the competition last year (though we do not know if it was entered into the lottery).
Anyway, the weather looks clear for Saturday (as opposed to last year’s snow), and Los Alamos is a lovely town to visit regardless of any special events. If you love stouts, though, this is the time to drive up the mountain and have some fun.
See you all there!