The pandemic has been hard on many businesses, and Kilt Check Brewing Co. is no exception.
Owner and brewer Mike Campbell, trying to make light of the situation, created a beer to commemorate the current state of affairs. “Brewed in isolation and cold quarantined for your protection,” is his slogan for Lockdown Lager.
Lockdown Lager is a Prohibition-style beer, similar to those that were a precursor to the American lagers we know today. The beer is made from corn grown in Los Lunas and barley from a company in Monte Vista, Colorado.
“It has barley from a new company called Proximity Malt, and they supplied all the barley,” he said. “The corn comes from Los Lunas. It was this giant cracked corn. It looks like the old corn nuts. Kind of sweet. It’s real nice, real light, real crisp, and it’s not really hoppy. It’s just enough to add a little bit of a slight pepper tinge to it. It really goes down easy in the sun.”
Lockdown Lager was to be a one-time deal, but Campbell has teamed up with distributor Favorite Brands to get the beer into restaurants and bars for more people to enjoy.
“Here’s another thing also: I have the recipe and I can brew it again, but it’s kind of a pain in the ass because it’s a separate yeast from what I usually use for my other beers,” he said. “So although I can make it again, I was kind of thinking that this would be a one-time seasonal, and now that we’ve named it Lockdown Lager, I would like to sell it to other bars and restaurants and let everybody else drink it and let’s just blitz through it, you know, commemorative beer, and drink to putting the end to lockdown.”
Campbell always has fun with naming his beers.
The Campbell-Toe IPA is one of the more malty IPAs in town, according to Campbell. It uses the same hops that are in Sierra Nevada Pale Ale.
Obliviscaris oatmeal stout was named after Campbell’s family crest. It uses the same recipe that won Campbell a bronze medal at the 2013 World Beer Cup.
“It’s a Latin word, and it means forget,” Campbell said. “My family crest, its motto is ‘Don’t Forget,’ ‘Ne Obliviscaris.’ I don’t know what kind of grudge I’m supposed to be having after 500 years.”
Groundskeeper Willie, a cream ale, is the brewery’s perennial bestselling beer. The beer is made using an Old World method of dropping hot stones into the wort to caramelize the sugars. It has a low hop bitterness and a slightly malty, sweet corn taste. The Royal Redhead, an Imperial Red, is popular among patrons who are looking for a more intense hop aroma and flavor. It is full-bodied with a caramel malt flavor and citrus fruity esters.
Wee Beastie is a Scottish Ale that features barley smoked over peat moss in Scotland. It has a cigar, Scotch smoky flavor and aroma.
Patrons can purchase 32-ounce or 64-ounce growlers of their favorites and buy Kilt Check T-shirts. Regulars have been supportive and stopping by often to grab a growler or two.
“I need to keep my chin up when it’s hard to keep your head above water,” Campbell said. “But I can’t complain. My customers have been generous, they’ve been frequent, they’ve been often.”