Just in case anyone out there missed it, Drafty Kilt Brewing became the 28th brewery in Albuquerque (33rd in the metro area) over the weekend when it officially opened for business. I finally managed to stop by and say hello to brewer/owner Mike Campbell on Sunday evening.
For those who missed our advance preview story, Drafty Kilt is located at 4814 Hardware NE, which is basically one block west of San Mateo, and a half-block south of McLeod. It is not far from the Movies 8. The taproom features a long bar and several tables. It does not serve food, though there are now some small snacks available such as pretzels and peanuts.
Mike has two of his own beers on tap, Groundskeeper Willie Cream Ale (5% ABV, 16 IBU) and Wee Beastie Scottish Ale (6% ABV, 20 IBU), with more beers coming in future weeks. The cream ale is darker in color than Nexus’ Cream Ale, but otherwise shares some similar characteristics. It is sweet, but not overly so. There is more of a malty breadiness apparent in the Groundskeeper Willie. It should do well whether it is warm or cold outside. The Wee Beastie is a smoky, peaty little beast, as the name might imply. It is nowhere near as sweet as many other Scottish ales around town, and that is a good thing. In many ways, it stands on its own.
Both are pretty darn solid for being the first two beers at a new brewery, but then again, this is hardly Mike’s first go-around. As a history lesson reminder, he brewed at the original Rio Bravo Restaurant Brewery downtown in the mid-1990s, followed by a long stint at Tractor in Los Lunas (1999-2007), and more recently at Cazuela’s in Rio Rancho.
Another bit of good news is that Mike and his wife, Sheryl, said they have been given the go-ahead to add a patio area outside in the spring. It will be located on the south side of the building, away from the parking lot. The metal garage door on that side will be converted to let people go in and out more easily. They also have secured more space in an adjacent building which they can use to store kegs, grain, and more, all of which has become needed as the current brewing area in the back has filled up quickly.
Overall, Drafty Kilt offers a comfortable, no-frills atmosphere. It is an old-fashioned taproom, with beer, a couple TVs, and quite the collection of old-school cans and bottles on the wall. It does not aspire to be anything fancy, just a relaxing place to enjoy a couple pints while winding away the day or night.
Stop by, check it out, and let us know what you think.