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Built for competition: 16 New Mexico breweries set to battle in Stout Invitational in Los Alamos

In World
February 24, 2024

Feb. 23—Sixteen New Mexico breweries will battle it out in a double blind taste test to see who makes the best stout.

Stout Invitational 2024, presented by the New Mexico Brewers Guild (NMBG), will take place from noon to 6 p.m. Saturday, March 2, at Bathtub Row Brewing Co-Op, located at 163 Central Park Square in Los Alamos. There will be three sessions at noon, 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. Each session will last 90 minutes.

“The Stout Invitational is basically a blind tasting or a double blind tasting to figure out who made the best stout,” said Ebbie Edmonston, NMBG executive director. “The lineup is chosen by a lottery so it’s fair across all of our members who want to participate. And then in regards to the double blind, only myself and two board members who don’t have a beer in the competition will know which beer is on which line and that gets decided day of as we’re setting up. That way the brewers don’t know which beer they’re pouring and the customer doesn’t know which beer belongs to which number on their tasting sheet.”

This year’s competitors are Bathtub Row Brewing Co-Op, Bonito Valley Brewing Co., Bosque Brewing Co., Canteen Brewhouse, Milton’s Brewing, Nexus Brewery, Nuckolls Brewing Co., Piedra Blanca Brewing, Ponderosa Brewing Co., Quarter Celtic Brewpub, Rio Bravo Brewing Co., Sobremesa Brewery, Steel Bender Brewyard, Three Rivers Brewing Co. and Tractor Brewing Co. More information is available at nmbeer.org/events. Tickets are $35 per person, plus fees, for each session and $5, plus fees, for designated drivers at eventbrite.com.

“Piedra Blanca (in White Rock) is super small and this is one of the events that they try to participate in every year so we love having them,” Edmonston said. “It is the first year for Nuckolls Brewing. They’re the newest brewery from this list so we’ll see how they compare. (They are) from Santa Fe. They’re (located) in the Railyard.”

Eventgoers will receive trays filled with 16 samples from the participating breweries. Attendees will then be able to cast their vote for the favorite.

“It’s really up to your palate,” Edmonston said. “Everybody has a different palate. Some people like dark coffee things and some people might like more of a cream style that has a little bit of sweetness. It varies.”

After guests cast their ballots they will be able to enjoy a pint of their choice even if it is not the stout they voted for.

“Sometimes people get a little stouted out,” Edmonston said. “They’ve just had too much dark beer for the day. Even if you say you don’t want a stout after that, we’ll buy you a beer from Bathtub Row because I know that I will get stouted out. It’s really not terribly much. When we’re talking sample sizes, we’re talking about one or two ounces per sample, so if you finish all of them, good for you, but it’s not necessary.”

Ballots will counted at the end of each session and a final tally will be done at the end of the last session. The brewery with the most votes will take home the title of 2024 Best Stout.

“I’m really excited to see what stouts come out on top,” Edmonston said. “You know some of these breweries have really well known stouts and some of them I don’t know very well. That’s why I love the double blind. You really don’t know whose is who until the end. And we will be releasing which breweries were which beers on the tasting sheet as well as what beers were entered. But that’s going to be when we announce the winner.”

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