Sweetwater Brewing launches in Ohio

Staff Writer
Columbus Monthly

Judging by recent expansion announcements from Four String Brewing, North High Brewing and Columbus Brewing Co., there's a definite thirst for craft beer in Central Ohio. In addition to local brews meeting the demand, more national breweries are expanding distribution into the Buckeye State.

In 2012 Yuengling began sharing their flagship lagers with Ohio. 2013 welcomed Colorado-based New Belgium, and early 2014 introduced Oregon's Deschutes Brewing. (And here's hoping 2014 will see the announcement of a Stone Brewing facility coming to Columbus!)

Joining the ranks of Ohio beer options is Georgia's Sweetwater Brewing Co. Sweetwater expanded their Atlanta brewing, packaging and shipping operations in 2012, and since then has rolled out distribution to more states. Ohio marks their furthest reach north, where their beers are hitting shelves and filling tap lines starting today.

Sweetwater is sharing four of their flagship beers in Ohio, distributed by Superior Beverage Group. The 420 Extra Pale Ale is named after its first brewing date of April 20, 1997. It's brewed in a "West Coast style," which usually translates into an aggressive hop profile, so the beer is up front with strong citrus and pine hops. It pours a deep yellow, and despite the heavy hops it enjoys a balanced finish.

Sweetwater's unfiltered but clear India Pale Ale plays even more with the hops. Dry-hopping imparts very strong flavors without the accompanying bitterness, leaving a big sweet and citrusy profile. Fans of fruit beers may be attracted to the Sweetwater Blue, a honey-colored wheat beer flavored with blueberries. Sweetwater calls it their "breakfast beer," and the flavors of toasted grain certainly play into that.

The Take Two Pils German pilsner blends floral hops with bready malts. The hazy yellow lager is surprisingly hoppy, but it ends nicely with clean effervescence. All four beers will be available in 6-pack bottles and on draft; the 420 pale and IPA are packaged in 12-pack cans as well.

Beer drinkers eager to begin quaffing Sweetwater brews plenty of opportunities during the release week. Most restaurants and stores featuring tap takeovers will also serve Sweetwater's Georgia Brown Ale and Whiplash IPA.

A look at special Sweetwater Brewing events around town this week:

Monday, October 6 at 6 p.m.

Whole Foods Dublin will hold a food pairing with six Sweetwater beers.

Tuesday, October 7 at 6 p.m.

Woodlands Tavern hosts the official launch party with a tap takeover; they're joined by members of Sweetwater crew.House Wine is sampling four Sweetwater brews at the shop.

Wednesday, October 8

Pies & Pints, The Pint House and Park Street Tavern will host Sweetwater tap takeovers at 6 p.m., while 16-Bit Bar + Arcade will pair Sweetwater brews with special video game challenges starting at 8 p.m.

Thursday, October 9

Blacklick Wine and Spirits hosts a tasting of Sweetwater beers from6:00-8:00 p.m. The Daily Growler Upper Arlington (6:00 p.m.) and Bob's Bar feature tap takeovers (8:00 p.m.).

Friday, October 10 andSaturday, October 11

Brothers Bar will feature Sweetwater beers on tap all weekend.

Sunday, October 12

The Brewery District World of Beer will highlight Sweetwater all day.