Happiest Hour 

Bottled Highland Beer in store

Breaking beer news: Highlander Beer, Missoula's century-old beer brand, which disappeared in the 1960s and was revived in 2008, will be available in 22-ounce bottles in August.

Plaid pride: I recently bellied up at Sean Kelly's for a pint of Highlander with trademark attorney Bob Lukes, who led the effort to bring the beer back. "I think it's really cool that you can go to a bar like this now and order a Highlander," Lukes said. The beer tastes quite different than it did back in the day. Lukes, in partnership with Whitefish's Great Northern Brewing Co., reinvented Highlander as a Scottish red ale. It's very drinkable, a little malty, and, as Lukes says, "it doesn't have the smokiness or heaviness of Cold Smoke," The Kettlehouse's popular Scotch ale.

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Bring it home: Highlander will be available in a bottle for the first time since 1964. Lukes says to look for its distinct red-and-black-plaid label in convenience and grocery stores around western Montana and in Bozeman.

Road bowling?: For more Celtic flavor, check out the annual Celtic Festival Missoula, on July 30 in Caras Park. Lukes and his wife Shannon launched the celebration of Celtic culture last year. It features Irish road bowling, Celtic Zumba dancing, music, storytelling, and, of course, plenty of Highlander.

Happiest Hour celebrates western Montana watering holes. To recommend a bar, bartender or beverage for Happiest Hour, e-mail editor@missoulanews.com.

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