From what I’ve read about Holy Mountain Brewing Company, the folks that started the brewery seem like my kind of people: Metal heads on a quest to make stellar beers. I actually discovered them because the artwork and branding was featured on the suds-focused design blog Oh Beautiful Beer last fall. The clean iconic illustrations drew me in and I could hardly wait for a chance to see if the bottles’ contents were as high quality as the packaging.
The backstory of Holy Mountain is one similar to other breweries: Two fellow homebrewers met while working at another brewery. The pair decided to focus on mixed-fermentation Saisons and wild ales that use a mix of Brettanomyces and local microflora. A good example of this use of mixed cultures is a beer called The Goat: a rustic Brett Saison that spent three months aging in oak foudres. It’s also under 5%, which makes gives it potential to be a solid choice for warm weather drinking.
The Goat pours a hazy gold with a thick and puffy white head. That head fades over the course of a couple minutes to a thin layer across the top of the beer, but it remains a bit thicker around the outside. When I bring the glass in to take a sniff, I discover that the nose is loaded with Brett fruitiness and some of the yeast’s trademark funk. I also get peaches, passion fruit and some slight pepper notes in the aroma. There may be even a hint of Granny Smith apples as some of the beer’s subtle tartness comes through in the nose.
Flavors of fruity Brett funk are what primarily hit my palate and there’s a slight tartness and dry finish. If you told me this beer was brewed with some kind of fruit, I would believe you. In a blind tasting, you would probably swear it was. Some of that trademark Saison earthiness lies underneath, but the wild yeast is mostly what’s on display here. It offers some really great fruit flavors that were present in the nose, too. This is a really nice change of pace as far as Saisons go, offering a range of flavors that straightforward farmhouse styles sometimes lack. The Goat offers quite a bit of depth to be a 4.7% beer, something that not all low-ABV brews can claim.
If you’ve never had one, try a Saison before the end of the summer. In fact, this one is a great introduction if you can nab a bottle. The fruity character and slight tartness is different from the earthiness and Belgian characteristics of regular Saisons. I discovered that there’s quite a range when it comes to the farmhouse ales, perhaps more so than other styles. If you take the time to look and taste around, you’ll find one you like and then you’ll likely be hooked. You might have to do some work to find The Goat right now though, as it’s a beer Holy Mountain plans to only release once a year. Even if you have to wait until the next release, you’ll want to keep an eye out for this one, especially if you’re a fan of Saisons.
Brewery: Holy Mountain Brewing Company
City: Seattle, Washington
Style: Saison/Farmhouse Ale
Availability: 750ml bottles in Western Washington with limited distribution in New York City and Washington, DC.
Billy is the host of The Brewcast, a beer podcast that never records on a regular schedule. You can follow his drinking habit @beardbrews on Twitter.