10800 NW Rex Brown Road, Carlton, 852-7378, firemountainbrewery.com. Tasting room is open on Sundays, call for times.
The path to Fire Mountain is dotted with signs pointing you down winding roads and gravel paths into the back country outside Carlton. You’ll know you’re there when you spot mustachioed, 50-something brewmaster Henry Gorgas standing next to a mountain of empty kegs. The first thing you’ll notice while stepping inside is that Fire Mountain Brew House is primarily a production facility. There’s only a small tasting area with ceramic glasses and pamphlets listing the brewery’s offerings, including the Steam Fired Stout that tastes so much like coffee you’ll be surprised by the lack of beans. Lined up along the counter, you’ll also undoubtedly notice a bottle with a Old West-styled label reading “Wanted Outlaw Brew House.” This is Gorgas’ second label, created with an eye toward self-distribution. Cold Cold Billy, the current offering, is a powerful double IPA. Fire Mountain is not a large operation. There are no taps to fill taster trays, so Gorgas pours the samples from of 22-ounce bottles. Instead, you get the rare opportunity to have a conversation with a production-scale brewmaster while sampling experiments you’ll never see in stores. JOHN LOCANTHI.
DRINK THIS: Bogart Northwest IPA. Don’t let the IBUs fool you, the Bogart isn’t a hop bomb. Instead, it’s a pleasantly malty IPA with a citrusy taste.