Holiday Stress Relief, Verboten Style

By: Ali Owens

I’m going to be real for a minute, ladies and gentlemen. It’s time to face the facts. I mean, we all – most of us, anyway – appreciate the holiday season. What’s not to love, after all? It’s the season of giving, of twinkling lights, of coming together in celebration. The season of boughs of holly, sleigh bells a’jingling, joy, happiness, and love. The season when people bring plates full of decorated cookies to your office. The season of peppermint ice cream. PEPPERMINT ICE CREAM, you guys.

However, it is also the season of stressed-out shoppers, sold-out items, and long-ass checkout lines. The season of having to be nice to the extended family members who come to visit and start talking politics while you smile and nod and grind your molars into dust. The season of attempting to wow the guests with a beautiful berry panna cotta that would have Martha Stewart weeping with envy, only to end up with a sludge pile of what looks suspiciously like grits and ketchup. The season when you develop a twitch in your eye every time you hear a Mannheim Steamroller song. You know what I’m talking about.

No doubt about it, the holidays, festive and all as they are, can be cringingly, headache-inducingly stressful. Fortunately, we here in microbrew country have very effective ways of combatting the seasonal blues! I stopped by Loveland’s very own Verboten Brewing to try out a selection of soul medicine that’s sure to keep your stress level from escalating beyond the boiling point.

>> Angry Banjo Kentucky Common

Rich mahogany in color, this intriguing beer boasts warm and spicy scents of clove, sourdough, crabapple, and persimmon. On the tongue, you’ll find a beautifully balanced mélange of rye bread, toasted walnut, and sun-warmed hay.

>> 5 O’Clock Rust Red IPA

On the nose, enjoy the hop-laden aroma of dense pine, along with hints of banana bread and spiced cider. The hop structure is bracing but velvety smooth, with a bitter bite that compliments the brew’s roasty and toasty flavors.

>> Killer Boots Caramel Porter

This brew is a lot of things, but none of what you’d expect. Sure, it smells equal parts sweet and savory, just like a salted caramel chocolate bar, but don’t be fooled – there’s more here than meets the eye…er, nose. At the first sip, you’ll be met with intense notes of bitter almond and coffee, with woody tones and a fabulously tannic dryness throughout.

>> Pure Imagination Oatmeal Stout

Stick your nose in the glass and prepare yourself for the homey scents of saddle leather, damp forest oak, and chocolate chip cookies baking in the oven. On the palate, tantalizing flavors of cacao, malt, and creme brûlée dance in a beautiful, rich medley that will have you coming back for seconds. And thirds.

Happy holidays, everyone! Keep calm, carry on, and drink up. Because Crazy Uncle Myron’s latest alien conspiracy theory is a lot easier to swallow when paired with a taster flight.