Words & Photos - Matthew Curtis
Thankfully, although the title may be a little off putting, this piece has nothing to do with Shed Seven. Cast your minds back to the cold, dark month of February, my Dad and I were driving through the snow towards the town of Loveland, Colorado. Our friends Kevin and Michelle from that most righteous of bars The Mayor of Old Town had arranged a brewday at the recently established Verboten brewing. Once there we met with the owners and brewers Josh and Joe and I got stuck in to what would be my first experience of assisting with a commercial brew. Of course by 'assisting' I mean taking photos, trying everything on tap at least twice and generally getting in the way. The style we were brewing was a new one to me too, a Kentucky common ale is apparently something similar to what we in the UK might refer to as a cream ale and today we would be brewing a pumped up, imperial version. I won't bore you with details of the brewday, you can bore yourself by reading all about it here!
Xmas pud in a glass
Sadly I never got to try the original version of 'I'm All Right Jack' as it came to be known but thankfully Josh and Joe had the sense to age half of what we brewed in a rum barrel for 6 months and so when I returned to Colorado this October I finally got to try this beer. I was sat outside the Mayor of Old Town in glorious sunshine and I stared into the glass of opaque, deep brown liquid which seemed to obliterate all traces of light that dared cross it's path. The nose gave away a few secrets, there was certainly rum there, brown sugar and black treacle too and perhaps even a little funk that was hidden inside the grain of that barrel. It was all chocolate, figs, sultanas and stewed fruit wrapped up in rich malt loaf with a gob full of booze which helped balance out the long sweet finish. I think my Dad's description of 'Christmas pudding in a glass' really hit the nail on the head. It was, quite frankly, superb and strong evidence that Verboten are a brewery that are really going to go places.
At a whopping 12% ABV it probably wasn't the most ideal beer for a Monday lunchtime but the Mayor had been selling this beer like crazy and I wasn't going to let the chance to try something I'd had a (tiny) hand in creating pass me by. I managed to briefly catch up with Josh and Joe when I visited the Great American Beer Festival a few days later, they had entered the beer into the competition but sadly it came away from this prestigious event empty handed. However this weekend I'm All Right Jack walked away from the All Colorado Beer Festival with a GOLD MEDAL in the Strong Beers and Ales category! I want to wish Josh, Joe and everyone at Verboten my heartfelt congratulations for deservedly picking up this award. It's a fantastic beer and I'm also thankful to Michelle and Kevin for inviting me along to have a small hand in its creation and making some great new friends in the process.
Verboten are brewing some stunning beers at the moment, their double IPA 'The Poser' was one of the best beers I had on my last trip back in October and if you're in the Fort Collins/Loveland area you would be doing yourself a serious injustice if you didn't head to their taproom and try out some of their brews. Just make sure you tell them I sent you.