2015 Seattle Rising Star Brewers Colin Lenfesty, Mike Murphy, and Adam Paysse of Holy Mountain Brewing

2015 Seattle Rising Star Brewers Colin Lenfesty, Mike Murphy, and Adam Paysse of Holy Mountain Brewing
November 2015

There’s no place better than Seattle to blossom as a brewer. From the teaming home-brew scene to the room for professional growth within craft breweries, Colin Lenfesty, Mike Murphy, and Adam Paysse have emerged as the real deal.

Lenfesty was an auto mechanic who dove into beer purely out of passion. He joined the ranks of brewers at Schooner Exact, where he met Murphy, who was a sales manager. He also was introduced to Paysse, a home-brewer with a penchant for all things fermented, who happened to share a home brew warehouse with Murphy. The three found common ground in their love for certain beers, and collectively started working on a business plan for their fully brewer-owned-and-operated brewery. Their paths would lead separate ways—Lenfesty to other Seattle breweries, Murphy to Westland Distillery, and Paysse to software engineering—only to cross again later.

After three years of planning, borrowing money from family and friends, and building the space from the ground up, the trio opened Holy Mountain Brewing in Interbay. There, the three are able to produce beers they love to make and drink—all without ever having to brew a flagship IPA. By thumbing their collective nose at trends, they're making room for new ones and flooding the market with ideas, brewing about 40 different beers in their first 8 months. With strong direction and willingness to take risks, these brewers are the next suds masters of Seattle. 

Interview with Seattle Rising Star Brewers Colin Lenfesty, Mike Murphy, and Adam Paysse of Holy Mountain Brewing

Sean Kenniff: The name Holy Mountain, what’s the story behind that?
Adam Paysse: It’s in reference to an album by the band Sleep; some of our beers are named after their songs. The band incidentally named the album after this crazy, weird, psychedelic movie by Alejandro Jodorowsky of the same name: Holy Mountain.

SK: How did you guys get into brewing?
Before Holy Mountain, I was just a home brewer. I was also into fermentation—making fermented sodas, foods, and I got into pickling. I was definitely self-taught, pretty much just read a lot of books on the subject.

Mike Murphy: I got my start working at Schooner Exact Brewing, I also worked a little over at Westland Distillery making their American single malt whiskey. But I mean, I got into beer because I love beer.

Colin Lenfesty: I was a home brewer for really long time and just got really involved in the scene. I started judging homebrewing competitions, and volunteered in local breweries. I was an auto mechanic, and then started working at Schooner Exact Brewing, and that’s where I met Mike.

SK: How did the idea for Holy Mountain come together?
When the idea of Holy Mountain coalesced, our idea was to brew beers seasonally, and to focus on the beers we were most passionate about brewing and drinking. We wanted to barrel-ferment and barrel-age, make a lot of farmhouse-style, mixed culture, and brett beers, hoppy pale beers, and clean lagers.

We are owner-operated, and all three of us co-founders spend time in the brewhouse and cellar, so we are a very small, hands-on brewery. We had no intention of starting out large enough that we needed to be obligated to brew anything we didn't want to brew, and we simply didn't have a desire to brew a year-round beer.

Not having a flagship was not and is not a statement, we are simply brewing and sharing the beers we enjoy and constantly striving to make better beer. That was and is the vision for the brewery. I absolutely understand that some folks are intrigued by the concept of not having a flagship, but it isn't a defining trait of Holy Mountain by any means.

SK: I recently talked to Holly and Ben over at Captive Spirits and she told me that you recently bottled a beer that was aged in their barrels.
AP: Yes, we did just bottle that; it's a very limited release in bottles and we expect it to sell out at the taproom in a few hours when it goes on sale, so it won't be available outside of that release. We love the collaboration, Holly and Ben are awesome.

SK: So, what’s the Holy Mountain five year plan?
We had a very deliberate conversation for three year about differentiating ourselves. The future for us is, try and make the beer we’re making now better. Our goal is not a 6-pack on every shelf, we're always going to be a small brewery.



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