On Saturday, December 17th, Holy Mountain Brewing had a special beer release at their brewery and tasting room in Seattle, Washington. If you haven’t heard of Holy Mountain before, that’s understandable… they’ve only been around since January 2015, and very rarely distribute their product outside of Washington (although they did make a sneaky appearance at this year’s Zwanze Day at The Drake in Victoria).
But Holy Mountain has come out of the gate as one of the best breweries in the Pacific Northwest. They specialize in farmhouse ales and sours, but also manage to make award winning hop-forward beers, and one of the best imperial stouts I (Matt) have had, period. They do have a series of farmhouse ales that you can regularly find on shelves around Seattle (with their distinctive white labels), or at the brewery, all of which are worth picking up. However, this latest release was special.
About once a month, Holy Mountain sells limited releases from their brewery. Here in BC, we haven’t seen many ‘big’ beer releases at breweries. Really the only time people arrived early to stand in line at a brewery for bottles was the Four Winds Edna release. That’s not so in Seattle. Every limited release is greeted with a line that begins to form about 2 hours before opening (noon). But, people are ready for the wait, and bring bottles to share in the line. Holy Mountain’s ready too: they always have a food truck or cart parked right beside the line ready to feed you.
The number of beers and styles can vary from release to release, but this time they were dropping 3 new packaged products: Wraith, Astral Projection, and Three Fates.
Wraith is a sour ale aged in oak barrels on raspberries and blackberries to create a beautifully tart, jammy, yet dry beer. It pours a deep, ruby red, and has a light, clean, natural fruity nose. The balance of raspberry and blackberry is perfect, and you can even pick up a slight woody/seedy character from the fruit. It is truly excellent, as are most Holy Mountain sours.
Astral Projection is an extremely juicy DIPA made with Mosaic, Galaxy & Citra. I could just stop there and you would know it’s good, but let’s continue. It pours a very hazy and saturated in warm yellow hues, like a glass of orange juice. And the nose is impactful: massively tropical, with touches of citrus and pine to real in the sweetness. The flavour picks up right where the nose leaves off, with a balanced, slightly bitter pine helping round out the juicy passionfruit and lemon characters. And while clocking in at 8.5%, it’s extremely easy drinking. The medium body and fruity hops come together to coat the palate and protect it from heat.
Three Fates is Holy Mountain’s take on a Bohemian Pilsner. I have to say, they nailed the style. Beautifully clear, crisp, and bright, with that classic spicy, grassy saaz hop nose, balanced by toasted, crackery grain. This really is an excellent pilsner, and would be a fantastic go-to beer (which it can be, if you live in Seattle, have a growler, and they keep making it…).
So why am I telling you about these beers that sold in Seattle? Because if you follow Holy Mountain on Twitter or Instagram, you can find out when they’ll be releasing their next special product. It’s always (at least so far) on a Saturday, so if you don’t mind the risk of duty, or can make a weekend of the trip (we’ll do Seattle beer guide in the future), you definitely should. Holy Mountain is the beacon of farmhouse style beers we need in Cascadia, and the fact that they can reach into other styles with proficiency makes them invaluable. Producing stellar beer after stellar beer, with lots of variety, and tons of care. Vermont has Hill Farmstead. California has Sante Adarius. Thankfully for us, Washington’s got Holy Mountain.