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Dark stars: Brewers go head to head in Los Alamos Stout Invitational

Los Alamos’ Bathtub Row Brewing Co-op will host the Stout Invitational 2020 on Saturday, Feb. 15. (Courtesy of Bathtub Row Brewing Co-Op)

Some New Mexico Brewers will battle it out during a friendly competition to see who has the best winter warmer.

Guests will taste samples of local stouts during a blind tasting session during the Stout Invitational 2020 on Saturday, Feb. 15, at Bathtub Row Brewing Co-op in Los Alamos. Attendees will then cast their vote for the best stout. They will receive a commemorative glass and be able to get a pint of their favorite stout after casting their vote.

The stouts on the sampling tray will be numbered. Eventgoers will find out what stout belongs to what brewery at the end of the event as well as learn which brewery gets to take home bragging rights for best stout.

“Everybody gets a tray with 15 different stouts on it, and they sample all these different stouts, and after each session – and there’s three sessions – we take and add up for each individual session and then total what beers everybody likes,” said Douglas Osborn, general manager at Bathtub Row Brewing Co-op. “It’s very casual. It’s more to celebrate the style of beer than it is any type of judging. We are nice and cold and up in the mountains, so a nice stout goes a long way for us. It is a very popular beer up here, for sure.”

Participants include Blue Corn Brewery, Blu Dragonfly Brewing, Boxing Bear Brewing Co., Canteen Brewhouse, Flix Brewhouse, Nexus Brewery, Palmer Brewery, Red Door Brewing Co., Red River Brewing Co., Rio Bravo Brewing Co., Rowley Farmhouse Ales, Steel Bender Brewyard, Three Rivers Brewery and Tumbleroot Brewing.

Brewers get creative with the stouts they enter in the competition.

“There’s some crazy stouts up here,” Osborn said. “We’ve had everything from barrel-aged stouts to milk stouts to just about foreign stout. There’s a lot of different kinds of that particular style. It’s a lot of fun, because they vary greatly.”

This is the fourth year that Bathtub Row has hosted the New Mexico Brewers Guild event.

“We’ve been very lucky that we got to host this four years in a row,” Osborn said. “It’s a big deal for us, so we go kind of nuts. We really do. We have a blast.”

Bathtub Row’s current and past members help out and help feed guests.

“We are a co-op, which kind of allows us to do some fun things,” Osborn said. “I’m thinking at this point we’re close to 1,000 members. So we get a lot of volunteers to come in and help to pour the beer and deliver the beer. People up here love to cook. We have current board members, old board members who bring all kinds of barbecue. One of our bartenders, Gus, is an amazing northern New Mexico cook, and she brings everything from tamales, enchiladas, everything.”

The event usually sells out and brings in people from all over the state.

“We have a really good group of people that come in from kind of all over the place,” Osborn said. “There’s obviously a lot of locals. We’re kind of on our own island up here. So this is a fun event for all of our locals and all of our members, and then we get a ton of folks from Santa Fe and a ton of folks from Albuquerque. And, of course, the Brewers Guild, anytime they do an event, they bring in folks from all over the state.”

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