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A bittersweet toast: Drafty Kilt celebrates first anniversary as it looks for a new name

Drafty Kilt Brewing Co. first anniversary celebration is bittersweet.

The brewery must change its name by the new year but is still celebrating the year it spent as Drafty Kilt today and Saturday, Nov. 11.

“We’ve been served a cease-and-desist (order), and you know, so far we haven’t been sued, but we’re agreeing that they own the trademark and we’ll come up with a new name,” owner and head brewer Mike Campbell said. “We may make a contest or something. My creative juices have run dry. I can’t think of anything that ain’t already trademarked. It’s in Atlanta, they’re called the Monday Night Brewing Co. and one of their beers is called Drafty Kilt, but back in 2010 they trademarked the names of all of their beers.”

The brewery will have a different name soon, but Campbell, who has been brewing for 21 years professionally, said it will continue to have the “same great beer.” He also plans to add a patio and small kitchen next year, and that’s something to celebrate.

Tonight’s celebration will feature the band Secret Seven and the food truck Fork in the Road. A “Mix and Match Jam” will be held Saturday evening, with the bands Merican Slang, the Chuck Holly Group, The Goatheads and the Saturday Night Fever Blisters. Hungry patrons can enjoy offerings from Good and Thorough Foods, also known as G&T Foods.

Opening the brewery has been a satisfying experience for Campbell, his wife, Sheryl, and assistant brewer Kolton Huerta.

“Yay for us,” Mike Campbell said of making it to one year. “It’s been a long but sometimes hard year, but it’s been very satisfying, and we’ve made a lot of new friends and new customers. Living the dream.”

Brewery patrons can choose from several of the brewery’s beers on tap in a comfortable setting resembling a man cave with 1,300 beer cans, posters and signs.

“Our signature beer is Groundskeeper Willie,” Campbell said. “It’s a cream ale in which we drop red hot stones into it on the brew day. It super caramelizes the sugars and makes a nutty, kind of toffee kind of flavor to an otherwise bland beer. And then we also have the Wee Beastie Scottish ale and that uses barley smoked over peat moss like is used in Scotch whisky. It has a smoky characteristic. Our Hefeweizen, is banana clovey, it’s very authentic. Our Campbell Toe IPA, it’s got plenty of bitterness to it, but there’s still the malt behind it like a very balanced beer, easy to drink. And then we also have Oatmeal Stout. That recipe won a World Beer Cup medal a couple years ago when I was at Cazuela’s (Mexican Grill & Brewery in Rio Rancho).”

Huerta, who started a couple months before Drafty Kilt’s official opening last year, has enjoyed working alongside Campbell.

“It’s been a really awesome opportunity for me,” he said. “I was home brewing for about three years in Phoenix. When Mike and Sheryl were starting their own brewery, I asked if they would mentor me, and they called me up when they needed some help, and I came down. I love the opportunity so far. I’ve been learning a lot.”

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