I wandered Bozeman in a thirst-fueled haze. The heat waves baked off the main thoroughfares, and even the shade seemed to scream that it was uncomfortable.

I needed a cold beer.

Heading towards home, I noticed a store tucked into the new Katherine Building - The Craft Beer Cellar.

I was first greeted by the sign on the door: “The Beer Geeks Are In.” I walked in and beheld a craft beer paradise before my eyes.

Everywhere the eye could see was unique labels and unusual beers littering the shelves. I was so excited, I almost missed the second greeting: “Hi, is there any beer I can help you find, or answer any questions you have?”

Behind the counter was the owner of Craft Beer Cellar, Reid Mikkelson. My curiosity already piqued, I decided to chat with Reid about his store and what it means to the beer culture in Bozeman.

“I was in the corporate world. Having to go to a ton of different places to find really unique beers, I found that Bozeman needed something like that,” Reid said. “What sets us apart is the brand, the customer service, the knowledge of our beer geeks. We are very passionate about our craft beer.”

So passionate, in fact, that each employee at the Beer Cellar is certified level one beer server through Cicerone, which “involves quite a bit of studying and research knowing different styles of beer,” Reid said. “You learn how to treat the beer correctly.”

Probably one of the greatest attributes (and something I’ve been searching for since the beginning) is the ability to mix and match.

“You can buy one of anything in here. [You are] able to try anything; you are not committed to a full six-pack or four-pack,” he said.

Taking him up on that, I purchased two individual beers: Tamarack Brewing’s Hat Trick Hop IPA (from Missoula, Montana) and Sierra Nevada’s Ovila (which is made in collaboration with monks from the Abbey of New Clairvaux.

Let me first say that both beers were amazing in their own rights, but Ovila is simply the best beer I have ever tasted. So good, in fact, that I refused to drink it quickly, and instead, I savored it for as long as possible.

Needless to say, my sizzling adventure almost ended with a limited selection and an unquenched thirst. However, the Craft Beer Cellar, with its large variety and knowledgeable beer geeks, gave me a new favorite beer and a restored hope for Bozeman’s bottled and canned craft beer selection.