In case you missed it, last Saturday, 16 New Mexico breweries met at Bathtub Row Brewing Co-op in (an almost no-holds-barred) three-round battle royale, where only one contender of thicc, chewy darkness emerged victorious from the 2023 Stout Invitational.
And boy, was it a great day for a showdown! The sun was out, the air was crisp, and yet the weather was barely worthy of a coat.
We arrived at the event for the final round, just early enough to take some photos, chat about beer and life and dogs with some of the brewers, and grab a plate of delicious food prepared in the back by the good folks of the brewing co-op.
The Guild and volunteers were in fine form that day, checking IDs and e-tickets, handing out wristbands and glassware, each with big grins on their faces as they did so.
It wasn’t long after the third session was seated, that trays and trays of deep dark pours begin circulating throughout the taproom.
With 16 stouts in front of you, it was tough to choose favorites, as flavors of cinnamon, red chile, coconut, chocolate, and straight-up booziness could all be extracted, with one favorite stout slightly edging out the next. And, after a long session of careful consideration and much deliberation, when the votes were turned in and counted, one stout was crowned the winner.
And, a sweet victory it was for Justin Cole, owner and brewer at Roosevelt Brewing Company out of Portales.
“It feels excellent,” he said, smiling ear to ear, as he helped the Guild pack up gear, when I finally reached him for comment.
The winning stout was an imperial stout that Roosevelt Brewing has had on their menu for quite a while, Cole told us. They had entered a previous version of the imperial stout back in 2019, and it had reached as high as second place in the popular vote.
“They did a BJCP tasting that year, and we won that, and so, I don’t know, I thought it’s got to be beginner’s luck, you know?” Cole joked.
With 18 votes, Raton-based Blü Dragonfly wound up in second place. I spoke with owner Colin Tawney briefly at the event, who was pleased with how well their biscochito stout did, and just thrilled in general to be a part of the event.
“We want to do as many of these as we can,” he said, going on to mention upcoming Guild events like the IPA Challenge and other local festivals like Red River Oktoberfest.
Below are the final voting results, with the number in parentheses denoting the number on the tray.
- Roosevelt Brewing, Imperial Stout (#8) 28 votes
- Blu Dragonfly Brewing, Biscochito Stout (#13) 18
- La Cumbre Brewing, Malpais Stout(#12) 17
- Steel Bender Brewyard (#1) 16
- Milton’s Brewing (#9) 15
- Gravity Bound Brewing, Dawnest Before the Dark Coffee Imperial Stout (#4) 13
- Red River Brewing (#5) 13
- Boxing Bear Brewing (#15) 12
- Truth or Consequences Brewing (#16) 9
- Thirsty Eye Brewing(#2) 8
- Hidden Mountain Brewing, Oatmeal Stout (#6) 8
- Flix Brewhouse (#10) 6
- Rowley Farmhouse Ales, Finan Dry Irish Stout(#7) 4
- Harmon Lane Brewing (#3) 3
- Bathtub Row/Sobremesa, Tub to Table Stout (#14) 2
- Piedra Blanca Brewing Co. (#11) 1
This was NM Brewers Guild director Ebbie Edmonston’s second event with the Guild, and she was more than just relieved after the event.
“I’m extremely happy with how this event turned out. There are always a couple bumps in the road, when event-day comes, but I over-planned, and we were able to pivot as those bumps occurred,” she said.
Even with some over-planning, it didn’t hurt to have a bit of experience to lean on.
“We had four out of the seven board members in attendance, and I was really looking to them for a lot of guidance with this event,” Edmonston said. “After all, it was my first Stout Invitational ever. They are pros. From setting up the jockey boxes and pouring beers, to checking in tickets and selling merch, the board was a huge help.”
“But, the help didn’t stop there,” Edmonston added. “All the reps from their respective breweries were helping. They ran flights and got pints for guests. We had an assembly line in the back. It was great to see everyone work together to help make this event such a success.”
Edmonston left us with a shout-out to all the members of Bathtub Row.
“They are the epitome of good hosts! There was so much food provided for the breweries and volunteers; they really took care of us. I can’t wait to go back when it’s warmer, and really enjoy their outdoor space,” she said.
We in the Crew couldn’t agree more.
Thank you to everyone in attendance. Thank you to the Guild and volunteers, and of course to Ebbie. Thank you to Bathtub Row Brewing. Thank you to all the good folks that came together to make this event one heck of a party up on the hill. I will not soon forget the hospitality nor the amazing Irish bangers, crumble-in-your-fingers corned beef, and shepherds pie. Til next time, because, oh yes, I will be back for another round!