The more of the beer world I’ve seen during my travels, the more dots I’ve been able to connect between certain kinds of breweries. Not just with the kinds of beers they make, like a Hazy IPA brewery, or a sour brewery, but broader than that—something that sort of gets to that phrase you hear so often amongst brewers” “like mindedness.”
Sometimes this phrase makes me queasy, as it sounds a bit familiar in the larger context of the monoculture that plagues craft beer. But when it’s used with intent to describe a deeper set of ideas and principles, it can do a good job of describing why some brewers find a near-instant connection with each other. Sometimes it’s the branding, or the tone. Sometimes is the design of the taproom or the part of town they’re in, even in separate cities. Every small business makes thousands of different decisions on their way to becoming a brewery, and some of those decisions are more self-aware than others. But in the end, you get a sort of gestalt—a combination of factors that add up to a vibe, or a presence. Brewers can recognize each other in a second. It’s a sort of love at first sight.
More often than not, this is at the root of brewing collaborations. A consummation of sorts that helps prove that initial inkling.
So it is with Solemn Oath Brewery in Naperville, Illinois—longtime friends of GBH—and Holy Mountain Brewing in Seattle. There’s plenty of commonality between these two beer makers on the surface. Anyone who’s been to both taprooms will see the connection. If you’ve seen the branding, you can get that attraction, too. And so it is that these two became fast friends.
The team from Holy Mountain was in Chicago, making a collaboration beer with Solemn Oath, so we got them all together, along with Solemn Oath co-founder John Barley, and dug into what these two see in each other.