Beyond the skies, Seattle is widely known for another kind of downpour in the most righteous form: beer. Its lively brewing scene is one that holds Seattle atop the ranks as one of the best cities in America for craft beer. With a little faith and a tireless work ethic, there is one specific location that offers cold one’s with a heightened divinity, one that makes the suds seem spiritual. It’s a tale as old as time: Make the endless trek to the top of the peak and the enlightened monk will be waiting to answer any question you’ve journeyed to ask. Except in this version, the monk is the almighty brewmaster, and after a few handle pulls, you might leave with more questions than you arrived with. (Damn! How does it taste that good?) Welcome to the peak above the Northwest cloud line, the cult leader of beer in Seattle – welcome to Holy Mountain.
It’s that grunge feeling, the one that, if you look closely, you can still discover in the Emerald City.
In any market, there is room for a new unique and adventurous mindset. Just think of Seattle radio; the game changes every few months when a different approach to sound fiercely charges into the scene. If the distorted vocals in this comparison are the methods of making beer, Holy Mountain is screaming at a high octave. Colin Lafensty and Mike Murphy are the revered minds collaborating behind the methods and mission of HM. Focused heavily on barrel aging and mixed fermentation with a Belgian edge, they make sure that each beer stands out. The styles found in the tap room aren’t ones you would find anywhere else in the city.
The setting is just as unique. An inconspicuous concrete-garage skeleton, stark, with a polished wood bar calling you in to convert you to a beer-devoted mindset. The taps are built into polished white tile, and when the beer comes pouring out, the white makes the color pop. One of the best parts is the back garage door that opens to a small bar for a view of Seattle’s industrial Interbay. Sip your beer while cargo trains pass. Let the day slow down. In a city that is developing in every corner, it’s a treasure to find solace in a view over a gravel road into a cargo yard. It’s that grunge feeling, the one that, if you look closely, you can still discover in the Emerald City.
Beer is sacred in Seattle. As the seasons change around Holy Mountain, so does the mission to continue to push the understanding of what it means to brew beer in the Northwest. The rules are out the window, and the craft is heightened. It’s visible in the brewery’s logo, an almost perfect triangle slightly bent at the top, confusing at first glance. It reflects the beer, the space, and the ideas, a continuous wonder in its most intoxicating form. Holy Mountain, like a ripping guitar solo from Built to Spill, is imperfectly perfect.