Holy Mountain Brewing

The most anticipated Seattle brewery opening in 2014 was Holy Mountain Brewing. The three guys who started it were all industry vets, and the brewer had worked at a couple other local breweries, where he’d earned a great reputation. The timing on their licensing was very auspicious — the first beer they released was a Fresh Hop Pale Ale, and since then they’ve been producing all sorts of fascinating small batch concoctions that are barrel-fermented or foudre-aged or house-wild-yeast-blend fermented, as well as really solid IPAs, Pales, and other standards (and less-than-standards). Their grand opening party at The Pine Box in October 2014 was packed (they were still building out their taproom) and featured the only keg of their “Un-Oaked” Midnight Still Imperial Stout, the rest of which went into barrels (and which are still barrel-ing away). I knew I’d be visiting their taproom when it opened, so I started scribbling down my tasting notes from the start. I still somehow managed to forget to take notes on their Astral Projection Double IPA and The Ox Farmhouse Ale when I had them, but at least I remembered when trying the brett-fermented and brett-conditioned versions.

holy mountain, look so tasty

A couple of pours at Holy Mountain Brewing — Seattle, WA

    Rob’s Picks

  • Om – 4.3% – Brett table beer. Peachy aroma. Pretty smooth, with peach and tropical fruit flavors. Very light funk.
  • Ritual (Citra fresh hop) – 4.2% – Brett pale ale. Big citrus, tropical fruit aroma with a light funky edge. Same with the flavor, but also some melon. Hint of bubblegum sweetness. Fairly dry finish with some citrus peel bitterness and funk.
  • Choir of the Sun (bottle conditioned) – 5.2% – The bottle conditioning really amped up the fruity aspect. Bottle was a bit lively. Pretty big fruitiness, fairly dry, some straw, with lemon and light sweetness on the finish.
  • Amarillo Fresh Hop Pale Ale – 5% – Sort of has a Juicy Fruit gum flavor with a bit of melon, too. Good supporting malt. Fairly restrained for a fresh hop, but pretty solid.
  • The Augur – 4.7% – Spelt saison. Light and dry, with straw, light lemon, and a touch of breadiness.
  • Citra Extra Pale Ale – 5% – Awesome citrus aroma and flavor. Very juicy. Touch of pine on the finish.
  • Gose (Fall 2015) – 3.8% – Great tartness and good amount of salt. Bit of lemony flavor up front, then briny, lightly bready finish.
  • Cherry Bourbon King’s Head – 9% – Aged for 7 months in rye whiskey barrel with sweetheart cherries. Cherry, chocolate, bourbon aroma. Fun mix of those flavors plus coffee and some rye spice.
  • Witchfinder Saison – 5.5% – Dry, spicy and peppery. Light hay, lightly tannic, hint of lemon. Underlying nutty maltiness. Dry, lightly bitter finish.
  • Grapefruit Saison – 4.8% – Made with zest and juice from several hundred pounds of grapefruit. Big grapefruit aroma and flavor with underlying funk/hay. Fairly juicy, lightly grainy, with some grapefruit peel bitterness.
  • Barrel Fermented Celestial Lineage – 9.5% – Fermented in a 4th-use Westland Whiskey barrel just emptied of Deadfall (see below). Whole lot going on. Fairly big chocolate/coffee, some caramel, hint of citrus. Touch of smoky whiskey and some oak. Smooth but a bit spicy. Pretty great one-off.
  • Fellowcraft – 5% – Made for The Masonry’s 2nd anniversary. Amarillo pale ale base barrel aged with brett then dry hopped. Fruity, with light citrus and herbal hop flavors, some biscuity malt, light oak, decent bitterness. Hint of sweetness on finish.
  • The Ox (brett conditioned) – 6% – Farmhouse ale brewed with citrus zest and dry hopped with Cascade. Big citrus flavor, underlying funk, and dry finish with some citrus peel bitterness.
  • Mandarina Table Sour – 5% – Single keg of forthcoming batch of Table Sour dry hopped with Mandarina Bavaria hops. Mandarin aroma. Big lemon and mandarin flavors with fairly high level of sourness. Lightly dry finish. Sour citrusy goodness.
  • Kiln & Cone (Batch 5) – 5% – Nelson Sauvin and bit of Galaxy hops. Big fruity character with resinous edge. Some underlying honey sweetness and juicy mouthfeel. Fairly bitter finish.
  • Le P’tit Gris – 4.5% – Light, grainy, with a touch of hay and a touch of lemon. Very dry finish.
  • Mosaic Extra Pale Ale – 5% – All the tropical fruit flavors in Mosaic I like and none of cattiness I don’t. Very juicy. Bit of orange, too. Touch of breadiness as it warms up. Light citrus peel bitterness.
  • Pyrokinesis – 9.6% – Double IPA. Big earthiness, light citrus, and piney hops over solid caramel base. Hint of herbal hops, too.
  • Blackberry Table Sour – 5% – Really nice blackberry flavor and light aroma. Great tartness, from fruit in addition to wild culture. A little dry on the finish.
  • Choir of the Sun – 5.2% – Barrel aged brett saison. Light, fruity, dry, a little grainy. Some lemon, hint of tartness. Bit of white wine aspect, a touch tannic. Fairly restrained.
  • Barrel Aged River of Ash – 6.8% – Wine barrel aged with brett for five months. Dark fruit, cherries, oak, touch of dryness, touch of funk. Wonderful aroma and lingering flavors. Pretty great.
  • Apricot Table Sour – 5% – Great apricot flavor, medium-light sour, quite dry.
  • Spelt Saison – 4.4% – Light toasty maltiness, with lemon, light fruitiness, and light herbal flavors. Subtle funk and hint of bubblegum. Pretty dry, with a touch of bitterness on the finish.
  • Helmsman – 3.7% – Dark mild. Chocolate/coffee aroma and flavors. Some caramel and light brown sugar, too. Touch of herbal hops on the finish.
  • Brett-Fermented Astral Projection – 9% – Huge fruit aroma and flavors. Peach, tropical fruit, grapefruit, touch of earthiness. Bit of underlying caramel amps it all up. Great citrus peel bitterness on finish. Amazing. Fermented in oak barrel entirely with brett and dry hopped in barrel with Citra and Galaxy.
  • Bourbon Barrel-Aged King’s Head – 9% – Aged six months in Kentucky bourbon barrel. Prominent bourbon aroma and flavor. Coffee/chocolate flavors around the edges. Kinda spicy, with light vanilla. Not quite as creamy as original King’s Head, if I remember correctly.
  • Kiln & Cone (Batch 4) – 5.2% – With Mandarina Bavaria and Centennial hops. Big citrus, mandarin orange aroma and flavor. Grapefruit bitterness. Lingering flavors. Pretty cool batch.
  • Three Fates – 4.8% – Czech-style pilsner. Light, bready, and crisp, with a light spicy hoppiness and bitter zing on the end.
  • Silent Sun – 4.7% – Dry-hopped tart wheat ale. Light, with medium tartness. Light lemon, underlying breadiness, somewhat citrusy, with a hint of herbal hops and tannins.
  • Watchman’s House – 6% – Common lager, Batch 2. Fermented in stainless rather than rye whiskey barrels like Batch 1 (below). Smooth big caramel nuttiness to light herbal bitter finish.
  • Grisette – 4.8% – Tank fermented then wine barrel aged with Brett and lacto. Light lacto tartness that plays out nicely. Juicy citrus with a mix of bubblegum and light white wine, and a touch of funk and dryness. Some underlying breadiness as it warms. Ridiculously good. [This was the first batch. Second batch was not as complex, but still quite good.]
  • The Goat (brett conditioned) – 5% – Fruity, oak, rye spice with smooth underlying funk. Bitter edge and light smoke on the finish. Some bubblegum but other flavors kinda twist it around. Unique and fascinating.
  • The Arrow – 3.5% – Lightly tart and lemony. Light underlying wheat with a touch of funk. Lemon tartness sticks around all the way to the finish.
  • Kiln & Cone (Batch 3) – 5.2% – With Galaxy and Centennial hops. Piney, resin, citrus, earthy hop tour de force. Solid caramel malt backbone. Some bitterness on the finish.
  • Celestial Lineage – 9% – Imperial rye milk stout. Sweet, chocolatey, creamy, with underlying subtle rye. Dark chocolate bitterness on the finish. A thick, chewy stout that makes you think.
  • Lager Beer – 5% – Honey flavor with floral hops, some lager-y alcohol flavor, and a hint of spiciness. Bit of a bitter zing on the finish. Really drinkable.
  • The Third Nail (draft) – 6% – Dry-hopped barrel aged Belgian pale ale. Citrus floral aroma. Mix of citrus, floral, and some earthy hops with a fairly big malt profile. Light fruitiness. Strong bitterness throughout, with lingering floral notes. Some brett funk comes out as it warms.
  • Heartwork – 5.5% – Fruity, wine aroma and flavor. Herbal spicy hops that mix well with the other flavors. Some oak and a lightly bitter finish.
  • Five of Swords – 6% – IPA collaboration with E9. Big hops. Citrus, earthy, bit of melon tang. Solid underlying caramel. Fairly bitter finish but blends back in well with the citrus peel start.
  • White Lodge Wit – 4.8% – Eggy and lemon aroma and flavor. Breadiness and tons of flavor – cinnamon, coriander, honey, light citrus peel. Fun.
  • The Goat – 5% – Foudre fermented. Crystal clear. Light honey flavor, with rye edge, some funk, and light oakiness. Light, dry, and crisp, with nice little bitter bite on the finish.
  • Ceremony – 6% – 100% brett fermented with Citra hops. Huge grapefruit citrus aroma and flavor, as well as some earthy hops. Juicy mouthfeel. Good citrus peel bitterness on the finish.
  • River of Ash – 6.66% – Barrel fermented dark farmhouse with cherries. Interesting. Dark fruit, malt, hint of tobacco. Light cherry finish. Smooth underling oak.
  • Watchman’s House Oaked Lager – 6% – Fermented in rye whiskey barrels. Sweet alcohol aroma and flavor. Oak takes a bit of the edge off the alcohol flavor. Honey, caramel, with light herbal hops and light bitter finish.
  • Kiln & Cone (Batch 1) – 5.2% – Big citrus, herbal, earthy aroma and flavor. Honey and caramel malt backbone. Good earthy bitter finish. Awesome.
  • Wayward Black Beer – 4.7% – Roasty aroma. Roasty flavor with a bit less chocolate/coffee malts. Light on the tongue. Dark chocolate and subtle orange peel bitterness.
  • Double IPA – 9.5% – Citrus, piney, tropical fruit, touch of earthiness. Solid caramel malt backbone. Big!
  • The Gray Tower – 5.2% – Barrel blended saison. Some funk, light tart edge, earthy, light lemon, bit of oaky smoothness, hint of coriander.
  • Un-Oaked Midnight Still Imperial Stout – 9.99% – Pretty intense coffee/dark chocolate aroma and flavor. Roasty malt, too. Bit of alcohol, smoke, and molasses. Bit of interesting graininess, as well. One and only keg. Rest going into barrels.
  • Gose – 4.6% – Light sour aroma but not much sourness. Light, with lemon and subtle salt that’s noticeable at the very end of the lingering lemon flavor.
  • The Seer Hoppy Saison – 5% – Big citrus and tropical fruit aroma and flavor. Some grainy dryness, light funk. Bitter finish that blends back in well.
  • King’s Head Double Oat Brown – 8% – Creamy with big dark chocolate flavor and bitterness. Bit of toffee and caramel, too. Not very brown-like, which is good…
  • Fresh Hop Pale Equinox 2014 – 5% – Really good citrus flavor, with underlying earthiness, to light bready finish. Some citrus peel bitterness on finish.
    The Rest

  • Deadfall – 9% – Westland whiskey barrel aged stock ale. Whiskey, raisin, and candied orange aroma (the latter from the info sheet). Interesting mix of flavors. Whiskey, caramel, raisin, brûlée sugar (sheet again), bit of spiciness, light citrus. Very complex and interesting, but not what I’d usually drink.
  • Amarillo Pale – 4.6% – Single hop. Earthy/herbal/citrus hop flavor mix. Caramel and bready malt. Good balance. Fairly bitter finish.

As you can see, I’ve been visiting their taproom quite often. All the small batch stuff they do just keeps me coming back. The Kiln & Cone is their house pale ale, only available at the brewery, and they brew each batch with a different hop profile, hence all the “Batch #”s for it. They’ve started doing occasional bottle releases, as well, and yes, I’ve hoarded a few in my fridge and storage closet. They’re mostly bottle conditioned versions of draft beers they’ve made, and I’ll most likely be doing the nerdy thing of writing separate entries above for them. All I have to do is start opening them up and drinking them.

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