Distilled: Sideswipe Brewing’s beers are straightforward, solid

  • Photo by Tim Johnson
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From the January 16, 2014 edition

All right Columbus brewers, you need to stop bottling beers. Keeping up with — and trying — them all is getting taxing. Oh, who am I kidding? I love seeing the local bottles on shelves, and sampling them even more.

The latest locally bottled brews I sampled are from Grandview-adjacent outlet Sideswipe Brewing. By currently offering three bottles, it’s obvious owner/brewer/operator Craig O'Herron is working hard to carve out a place in the ever-expanding local brewery scene. The Sideswipe website states that O'Herron, a black-belt MMA fighter, “Likes two things: drinking craft beer and kicking guys in the face,” which parallels O’Herron’s aggressive approach.

While O’Herron embraces the unexpectedness of kicking guys in the face, Sideswipe’s beers do not. The three styles are solid, fairly straightforward examples of a saison, stout and IPA.

The Fisticuffs IPA is the most clear-cut. The 7 percent ABV brew is like many IPAs out there. It has an initial hit of brawny hops, balanced by some citrus and a fairly crisp finish. If you like IPAs, and I know there are many of you out there, it’s worth a shot.

The Coop Looter Saison also sticks very close to the norm. The Belgian malts are clearly present, as is the fruit followed by a hint of clove spice. Coop Looter is a sticks-to-its-guns example of the style, with the exception that it’s bigger on the banana notes and lighter on the spiced ones.

The Elegant Hoodlum Smoked Stout is the most unique of the brews, and was a pleasant surprise for me. (I’m not a big fan of smoky beers — if I want that flavor I’ll just puff a Newport.) But the Elegant Hoodlum sticks to its namesake and arrives elegantly with the smoky, roasty malts; a subtle hint of smoke followed by an even subtler hint of spice all encapsulated in a typically robust stout.

Sideswipe may not have beers that are going to blow you away, but they are respectable recipes. Hopefully something extraordinarily different or downright weird — you know I like my weird — is coming, but these are good enough for now.