Where you are: Big Head’s is a beer connoisseur’s dream, where more than 500 imported, Montana and specialty beers and hard ciders await your perusal.
Why you’re here: All these brews used to be available at Summer Sun Garden and Brew when the store was located on the Westside, but the whole operation moved to new digs out on West Broadway last summer. The retail alcohol side of the business has split off as Big Head’s, though it still shares a building with Summer Sun. Jared Robinson, Big Head’s owner, says he manages the homebrewing section of Summer Sun as well.
What’s in the cooler: The shop’s full menu is posted to the social networking site Untappd.com, so you can download the app and peruse the inventory by bottle size, country of origin, alcohol content, popularity, bitterness—you name it. Hop lovers, for instance, will note that Big Head’s stocks five brews with >100 IBUs, including the Mob Barley barleywine from Meadowlark in Sidney and a triple IPA from Moylan’s Brewing in Novato, California. Robinson stocks more than 60 Belgian beers, 27 German beers and even one each from China and Iceland.
What stands out: Robinson heads over to a cooler filled with bomber bottles, but a stash of brightly colored aluminum cans stick out. They’re the remaining crowlers from Imagine Nation Brewing’s latest limited-run milkshake IPA (Hyperspace Mango Milkshake New England IPA, to be precise), and Robinson says Big Head’s is the only place to get them (warning: There were only a couple left). Almost as hard to find in Missoula are three bombers from Thirsty Street in Billings, including an Oaked Up Plum Sour Ale, and cans from Lockhorn cider in Bozeman.
Where to find it: Big Head’s Bottle Shop is located at 3106 West Broadway Suite B. Open every day noon to 7 p.m.