The smell of beard oil and beef jerky is hanging in the air; if you listen closely, you can hear the sounds of woodcarving and someone choking on hot sauce. This can only mean one thing: The men are here. Today more than eighty male vendors (and some co-ed teams) will fill the Forney Museum of Transportation for the fifth annual Holiday ManCraft presented by InkLounge. Here are our picks for ten of the best and manliest booths to check out, including one Best of Denver 2015 winner.
10) K-Sauce (Keenan’s Killer Hot Sauce)
It’s a proven fact that hot sauce goes well with everything, and Keenan Lee Adams is using that to his advantage. His K-1 sauce deserves to be on every table, in every fridge, in every marinade and also rolling around the bottom of every woman’s purse for meals on the go. Fair warning: you might burn your mouth and you’ll definitely purchase at least one bottle after you sample this stuff.
9) Eddy’s Beef Jerky
Mancraft is please to meat you. Go for ghost pepper beef jerky from Eddy’s Beef Jerky; it's local, made of pure Angus beef and is 100 percent gluten and soy free — basically everything Coloradans love. Eddy’s Beef Jerky could make for great stocking stuffers this Christmas.
8) Hidden Gnome Woodworks
They may not be elves on shelves, but these gnomes know how to build some damn good wooden toys. Hidden Gnome Woodworks specializes in cutting boards, knife holders, bottle openers and traditional holiday toys. Stop by its booth at ManCraft to see its handiwork, and maybe talk about custom building something on your holiday wish list.
7) Humble Monster
If you haven’t made it to Ink Lounge to see Humble Monster’s clothing brand, be sure to stop by the booth at ManCraft and check out their recent creations. Humble Monster is a small screen printing and limited run clothing shop, all in the hands of two Denver dudes. You can also pick up some snarky holiday greeting cards here.
PopCultPins has the who/what/where/when thing covered. AJ Obando’s pins are inspired by everything from He-Man to the Smurfs, and he’ll have a wide variety to choose from at ManCraft this Friday. The Elemental Bacon pin is a particular crowd-pleaser.
5) Pie in the Kisser Studio
It’s not exactly what you think — but it’s definitely more. Pie in the Kisser Studio offers a little bit of everything, including tiny treasure boxes, puzzle boxes and fortune-telling boxes. Rumor has it that owners Barbara Hudson and Thomas McKay have been working on unadvertised products for ManCraft, so this is one booth you won’t want to miss.
4) Two Little Fruits Arts Studio
Derek Cadena and Brent Rodgers are bringing everything from magnets to color print gel transfers to ManCraft this week. The two are inspired by almost everything and have a wide variety of artwork, which makes the Two Little Fruits booth a must-stop if you want to pick up a dinosaur print for your nephew and a whale print for your friend who still can’t stop watching Blackfish.
3) PB Love Company
After you’ve used a beer from Ratio Beer Company to wash down the “man snacks” that ManCraft is offering, stop by the PB Love Company for a palate-cleanser. You’ll be able to sample some tasty nut butters and learn about the YumBox; for $35, you'll get a big gift box for the “nut” in your family.
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2) Dying Breeds
This is the booth where printmaking meets blacksmithing. Dying Breeds creates functional and wearable works of art, which means you can purchase handcrafted goods like belts, iPad cases, bracelets and more. Use ManCraft as an opportunity to ask about custom metalwork, as well.
1) The Eddie, Jason and Chris Show
Winner of Westword’s Best National Podcast Based in Denver, the Eddie, Jason and Chris Show will be camping out at ManCraft to interview attendees, vendors and, apparently, taste-test hot sauces while live on the air. Holiday ManCraft will feature a 300-pound tattooed Santa, drinks in gas cans and about a million manly activities, so if you’re unable to check out this holy man mecca, you'll want to listen to the live broadcast starting at 7 p.m. on idobi.com.
Holiday ManCraft runs from 4 to 10 p.m. Friday, December 4, at the Forney Museum of Transportation, 4303 Brighton Boulevard. Visit inklounge.com for a complete list of vendors.