La Cumbre Brewing ascends to the top of the 2022 NMBG Stout Invitational

The field of dark elixirs was strong at the Stout Invitational.

It was a close vote at the 2022 New Mexico Brewers Guild Stout Invitational on Saturday, but at the end it was La Cumbre who came out on top. With 29 votes, the longtime Albuquerque heavyweight prevailed over a field of 16 stouts in a blind taste test held over three sessions at Bathtub Row Brewing in Los Alamos.

It was the first full event planned out by new Guild executive director Tess Vidalis, who was all smiles afterwards.

“This was my first through and through event, (and) it went fantastic,” she said. “The energy was amazing. I am so thrilled to share the experience with everyone here, because Bathtub is some of the best hosts I’ve ever had to work with. The community here seems so supportive. It was all around a great event.”

Starr Brothers came in second with 27 votes, followed by Ponderosa with 22 and High and Dry with 19. Here are the final voting totals, with the beer’s number on the tray in parentheses.

  1. La Cumbre Malpais Stout (#8) 29 votes
  2. Starr Brothers Foggy Monocle (#1) 27
  3. Ponderosa Ooey Gooey Stout (#15) 22
  4. High and Dry No Stoubt Tour 2022 (#10) 19
  5. Piedra Blanca Chocolate Stout (#6) 15
  6. Tumbleroot Molé Stout (#2) 15
  7. Bosque Sunday Traffic (#15) 14
  8. Marble Cholo Smooth (#11) 13
  9. Nexus Lush Imperial Stout (#14) 12
  10. Bathtub Row Australian Best Extra Stout (#3) 9
  11. Red River Midnight Meadows Oatmeal Stout (#4) 8
  12. Sobremesa Lullaby Dry Stout (#12) 7
  13. Thirsty Eye Bruiser the American Pitbull Stout (#9) 7
  14. Red Door Mail Order Stout (#13) 6
  15. Quarter Celtic Mac Lomas Dry Stout (#7) 5
  16. Truth or Consequences Dark Chocolate Stout (#5) 3
Ignore the gray clouds, it was an excellent day in Los Alamos.

My personal pick ended up being Starr Brothers, which should not come as a huge surprise since Foggy Monocle is a two-time winner of the Brew Crew’s Stout Challenge. Others that were in my final four included Tumbleroot, which submitted its behemoth of a molé stout, and High and Dry and Marble.

As we noted in our preview story, the difference between the Stout Challenge and Stout Invitational is that the latter is everything goes, with imperial stouts, barrel-aged stouts, and adjunct-filled stouts are eligible (and dear lord, Red Door’s special version of Mail Order Stout was chock full of adjuncts, to the delight of some).

The event was a smooth affair from start to finish. With the temperatures dipping into the 40s, people were allowed to do their tastings indoors, as well as outdoors on the spacious patio. The Bathtub Row staff and volunteers from the Brewers Guild did an amazing job keeping it all together, so we raise a toast to all of them.

A big thanks to Tess and her team for taking care of us, for Rob and his Bathtub Row team for making sure we were well fed from the no-so-secret industry food stash in the back (whomever made the ribs and smoked chicken deserves a medal), and to everyone who attended in this love of all that is dark and wonderful about this style of beer.

Hails to the darkness!

Keep supporting local!

— Stoutmeister

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