Verboten Brewing: Beer for All

Nitro Handle and Verboten Brewing’s 32 oz growlers

     Travel enriches the soul.  It teaches us something about ourselves, opens doors to new opportunities, enlightens by giving us a new perspective, refreshes and soothes in a very unique way.  Friendships too can do the same.  While on our recent adventures, our last stop was to Colorado to see some friends that we had not seen for 10+ years.  Time and distance can be a great separator but there are special friendships that always seem to bridge the gap.  Our friend Andrew explained such friends as lifelong friends.  These are truly the friends that neither time nor distance can separate and when such things do place themselves in between it does not create a gap, but instead things are picked up where they were left off and there is just an abundance of catching up to do.  It is a beautiful thing. 
     Our friends in Colorado are such examples.  These are the people whom we grew up with, who knew all our silly secrets and possibly too our biggest mistakes.  They are the kind of friend you don’t just discard.  Nowadays while it is a little easier to keep in touch via social media tools, nothing beats real personal communication and better yet a real visit.  We were blessed with such an opportunity and possessed the wisdom to take the opportunity when it presented itself.  Our friends were willing to have us stop by and stay awhile which is the greatest compliment.  The icing on the cake of this epic visit was the fact that they recently opened their very own brewery.

Antique Cooler in Taproom at Verboten Brewing

     Craft Beer has become wildly popular.  If you are reading this from a place where craft brewing has been popular for years this comment may sound a little out of touch.  However it has had to trickle down as it were to the small towns such as ours across the nation.  Most recently our local grocer has stocked the shelves of our beer section with craft brews from Vermont, Washington, Colorado, Maine, Ohio, Utah, and other such states.  For someone that has appreciated craft beer for a while now this was a welcomed addition to the formerly mediocre beer selection.  I was now able to enjoy some of the quality brews at home that I had once only had the privilege of tasting while I was traveling to these destinations.
     My love of craft beer is one of the reasons I also watched excitedly via facebook as friends of ours announced their plans to open a brewery called Verboten in Colorado’s Loveland area.  Over the months that followed we got to see the progress of their plans from construction to opening night.  After that we salivated as Angie announced the beers for the week that one could taste in their tap room.  My mind started thinking ahead and forming a plan, another trip was in the forecast not only to see our friends but to literally taste some of their success.  After less than 3 months they had already been selected by Bon Appetit as one of the top 10 nanobreweries in America!
     Verboten is a German word that means “forbidden” or “prohibited”.  How does this relate to beer?  The Reinheitsgebot or German Purity Laws stated that only water, barley and hops could be used as ingredients in its production.  These laws were formed prior to the understanding of yeast!  Later these laws were repealed, yet still remaining strict in listing only 5 ingredients as what was allowed.  For Verboten Brewery nothing is forbidden in their brews.  Most of their beers play outside the purity laws with such ingredients mixed in the mash as strawberries and rhubarb, coriander and sea-salt, and homemade caramel.  I asked Josh Grenz, one-fourth of the Verboten team where he gets some of the inspiration for his unique blends.  He said some combinations are pulled from his childhood, favorite recipes his mom made, but inspiration also comes from conversations they (he and other brewer Joe) have with the wives in the partnership, his wife Angie and Joe’s wife Keri.  

Josh and Eric discussing beer making over some homemade caramel for “Killer Boots” Verboten’s Caramel Porter
Brewing beer is hard work!

     Eric and I had the privilege of spending the afternoon with Josh Grenz on one of his brewing days, while we were on a recent vacation.  It was a wonderful experience that we both will treasure for years to come.  Watching Josh work was like seeing a master artist.  Josh started out as a home-brewer and paired up with fellow home-brewer Joe Akers to open Verboten to the public this January.  Eric and I were both extremely impressed by Josh’s knowledge and understanding of the science behind brewing.  I never realized until that day just how much of a science beer making was.  Other than the science, there is a lot of hard work, precise timing, imagination, and dedication that goes into beer making and it is those qualities that I feel makes Verboten’s beers so great.  There is a lot of passion and life that goes into their signature brews.  The deliciousness shines through.  They are also very creative with the beer names taking them from favorite movies.  My favorite Verboten beers are “A roll in ze hay,” their take on a Gose style salted beer (love me my salt), and “Killer Boots,” a caramel porter.

     Many have already been inspired by Verboten.  We of course were inspired to make the trek out to taste the fine drink, but others have made barbecue sauce with the beer, beer pairing menus have been concocted by Chef Bill from Wapiti, and I am sure Verboten will continue to inspire. Verboten’s motto is Beer for All, and it shows in their variety of fabulous beers and in the welcoming and helpful way they reach out to the community.  Stop by the tap room someday and try it out for yourself!  Check out Verboten’s facebook page to keep up to date on the current hours, taproom offerings, and all the happenings in and around the tap room.

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