Super Bowl weekend is upon us, which means it is time for the Dark Side Brew Crew’s annual Stout Challenge. Our fingers are crossed that we will be able to return to the House of Sturm for our 12th annual blind taste test of local stouts.
The last two years we held this on the road, so to speak, with our friend Dan volunteering his humble abode in 2021, and then we took over Andrew’s condo in 2022. If we cannot return to Franz Solo’s place, then Erin and Stevo have generously offered to be our backup hosts.
Regardless of the where, a majority of the Crew is aiming to gather around the warm glow of some delicious stouts. For those who have not followed us in years past, we treat this similarly to the New Mexico Brewers Guild’s IPA Challenge. We all collect stouts in crowlers and growlers, bring them to one location, and an official pourer of the stouts will divide them into a numbered order, so we have no knowledge of which stout we are drinking at any given time. We have worksheets where we jot down our thoughts on the categories of aroma, flavor, mouthfeel, and finish, scoring them from zero to five points (with half-point scores allowed). At the end of the competition, all scores are added up, and a champion is crowned.
Last year, with a record 23 stouts on hand (plus one accidentally-poured-for-us coffee porter), Marble’s Cholo Smooth became the second stout from that venerable brewery, the original Oatmeal Stout won back in our inaugural edition in 2012, to claim the top prize. Kilt Check’s Obliviscaris Stout and Harmon Lane’s Tin Cup Stout earned the silver and bronze, respectively.
No brewery has ever won back-to-back titles, and Cholo Smooth is not on tap this year to defend its crown.
We have a tentative list of 20 stouts this year. Our rules are that a stout must be adjunct-free (no coffee, vanilla, chocolate, nuts, lactose, etc.) and be under 8-percent ABV. In the past we required a stout to be a year-round offering, but over time, most breweries have moved to having their stouts only available in the colder months of the year. Here are the stouts we believe will be available for pickup between now and Sunday afternoon, though usually a few run out before we can acquire them, or even another brewery offers us a late “we have one, too!” before it is too late. If you are one of those breweries not listed here and have a stout that meets our criteria, email us ASAP at email@example.com, or message us on social media.
- Bombs Away Blacked Out Stout (T-17th in 2022)
- Boxing Bear Standing 8 Stout (10th in 2022)
- Brew Lab 101 Event Horizon Oatmeal Stout (21st in 2022)
- B2B Grande Oatmeal Stout (7th in 2022)
- Canteen Dark and Lusty Stout (T-4th in 2022)
- Ex Novo Penguin Tuxedo (9th in 2022)
- Harmon Lane Tin Cup Stout (3rd in 2022)
- Hidden Mountain Oatmeal Stout (T-4th in 2022)
- Kaktus Oatmeal Stout (6th in 2022)
- Kilt Check Obliviscaris Stout (2nd in 2022)
- La Cumbre Malpais Stout (13th in 2022)
- Lava Rock Boca Negra Stout
- Lizard Tail Black Bearded Oatmeal Stout (11th in 2022)
- Marble Oatale (it was Cholo Smooth last year)
- Palmer Switch Stance Stout (it was Export Stout last year)
- Quarter Celtic Mac Lomas Stout (T-15th in 2022)
- Sobremesa Oatmeal Stout (it was Lullaby Dry Stout last year)
- Steel Bender Brickie American Stout
- Thirsty Eye Bruiser the Pitbull American Stout (T-17th in 2022)
- Tractor Double Plow Stout (14th in 2022)
Oh, and because we figure some people might be curious, here are the past winners: Marble Oatmeal Stout (2012), La Cumbre Malpais Stout (2013 and 2020), Tractor Double Plow Oatmeal Stout (2014), Boxing Bear Standing 8 Stout (2015), Chama River Sleeping Dog Stout (2016), Starr Brothers Foggy Monocle (2017 and 2019), Canteen Dark and Lusty Stout (2018 and 2021), Marble Cholo Smooth (2022).
Wish us luck with all of those stouts, and yeah, we will probably have to take it pretty easy on Monday, just like everyone else in America.
Keep supporting local!
3 Comments Add yours
Hello Dark Side Brew Crew, We have our Lush Stout in cans. You are welcome to come and pick up a 4 pack at no cost if that is appropriate? Is it too late? Ken Carson Nexus Brewery 505-480-4960 4730 Pan American Fwy East, NE Suite D Albuquerque, NM 87109
The rules of the Stout Challenge are no adjuncts, no imperials, so alas, Lush Stout falls under the latter. We do love it, but it wouldn’t be fair to pit it against stouts in the 5-7% ABV range.
Oh ok, got it. Thanks for the response!
div dir=”ltr”>Ken Carson
Nexus Brewery, LLC