It’s that time of the year, and for the days of October 6-8, 60,000+ beer lovers will descend upon the Colorado Convention Center in Denver, for The Great American Beer Festival. As some may know, this event is more than a giant beer festival, but also a grueling competition for the hundreds of breweries that attend. For each of the 92 beer-style categories, a panel of judges will blind-taste a series of beer to eventually identify the three beers that best represent each beer-style category.
We were able to snag a meeting with head brewer and owner of Loveland’s Verboten Brewing Company, Josh Grenz, to get a sneak peek of one of their GABF medal hopefuls: Mountain Man. This barrel aged beer will be available in their taproom on draft and in bottles on October 1. We are certainly excited for this beer, and wish them the best of luck! Read below for the inside scoop.
The Pint: What is Mountain Man?
Josh Grenz: Mountain Man is a Bourbon barrel aged strong ale with rye. It has a lot of dark malts, caramel malts and chocolate malts, and a portion of flaked rye. It sits in bourbon barrels 3-9 months depending on when each barrel is done.
TP: What was your inspiration behind the beer?
JG: It is inspired by our Kentucky Common, Angry Banjo. It is similar in recipe, except it is higher in alcohol. There are some slight differences but there is a little more rye. It’s 12% ABV when it comes out of the barrel. I just wanted to make this big, strong beer that was designed with the idea that it would go into bourbon barrels. I built this beer thinking about bourbon and what would go good with it. With the caramel and chocolate malts, and the rye to add in with what the bourbon barrel is going bring, with the oak flavors: the vanilla, caramel and coconut flavors.
TP: How are you hoping it will perform at this year’s Great American Beer Festival?
JG: It has never medaled at the GABF but it has made it to the medal rounds. It is a difficult category because it’s entered in the Bourbon Barrel Aged Strong Beers. That category now is like the 4th or 5th largest category now. It will be competing against are the barleywines, all the Belgian styles: quads and trippels, and doppelbocks aged in bourbon barrels. It’s a broad category; now, we’re up to 130 plus entrants. I think it’s a good beer and it’s only a matter of time before it breaks the top three.
TP: What other beers are you entering?
JG: We are entering our bourbon barrel aged imperial stout called, Little Nonsense, which will be released in November. We are taking Angry Banjo our Kentucky Common, entering it as a rye beer. Then, Laze About, our peach habanero, and Silent Guardian.