Hopped-up and ready to blow your beer-loving mind…

In Abu Dhabi, picking your next pint used to be about choosing from the same old lineup of established brands on tap. Not so at CRAFT by Side Hustle, the game-changing brewery that’s finally opened on Al Maryah Island.

CRAFT by Side Hustle stands as the first in the region to brew and pour their concoctions right on the premises. Here, day drinking is elevated to an art form. Sunny days are spent on the glassed patio under a retractable roof, and craft brews are sipped while pontificating about the finer points of IPAs, Golden Ales, and Belgian Witbiers. Ready to have your first fling with a craft ale? Done. Into aggressive hops? No problem. And when you’re ready to pair all that liquid goodness with some of the finest Louisiana-style smokehouse grub this side of New Orleans, Craft by Side Hustle has your back. Welcome to the ultimate space for suds-soaked revelry in Abu Dhabi.

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Chad McGehee, one of the masterminds behind this sudsy venture, and dressed hat-to-toe in Side Hustle merch, beams with pride, “So much heart and soul has gone into this place, from the fit-out to the food to the beer.” With co-founders Adam Davis, Peter Samaha, and Nadim Selbak, they’ve soft-opened Craft by Side Hustle at the beginning of the year and have already amassed a legion of loyal fans.

Inside Craft by Side Hustle’s sprawling 5,000+ square-foot space – the former home of Roberto’s – in Galleria Al Maryah Island, 29 taps pour a tropical IPA, mango-tinged double IPA, a hazy-meets-citrusy Belgian Witbier and more creative beer concoctions by seasoned brewmaster Mitch Dougherty. His love for the art and science of brewing has seen him win prestigious medals at the World Beer Cup and the Great American Beer Festival.

To complement the libations from the small batch brewery, Craft has enlisted UAE chef extraordinaire Troy Payne to whip up a menu inspired by Louisiana’s smokehouse delights. Gourmand beer guzzlers are met with small plates that skew fine dining: blue spanner crab beignets, crispy cornmeal fritter hush puppies, and a knockout shrimp queso topped with chicken chicharron. If you brought your second stomach, also hit the chef’s smokehouse platters. We’re talking kitsch metal trays filled with juicy brisket, ribs and chorizo sausage where everything, from the rubs to the sauces and marinades, are made in-house. Serve that little lot with a flight tray of mini Side Hustle brews and you’ll likely never want to leave.

Side Hustle’s brewmaster Mitch Dougherty shares the 5 drinks you need to try…

Sip Happens

Kölsch, 5.2%

“This traditional Cologne beer is really refreshing. It has a light maltiness to it and the yeast we use is distinct for a light beer. It’s definitely up there as one of my current favourites.”

Elbow Grease

Session IPA, 4.3%

“Light in colour, but full of flavour. Elbow Grease is a Session IPA and that means it’s low alcohol but full of depth. It has a good aroma, too.”

Cloudy Wit

Belgian Wit, 5.2%

“Cloudy Wit was one of the first beers Side Hustle made. There are distinct yeast flavours and we’ve added coriander and orange peel to complement the beer and give it a citrus flavour.”

Seeding Clouds

Golden Ale, 5%

“New to craft beer? This should be your gateway ­– a great introductory craft beer. Caramel malt, with a little bit of fruitiness – it’s a really well-balanced beer.”

Long Journey

American Pale Ale, 6%

“I’ve worked on this beer for a long time, really refining the recipe over the course of 15 years. A little bitterness, but still fruity and piney with a lot of dry hops.” 

Craft by Side Hustle, below Rosewood Abu Dhabi, The Galleria Al Maryah Island, Abu Dhabi, Sun to Thur 11am to 1am, Fri and Sat 11am to 3am. Tel: (0)2 631 9855. @craft_by_sidehustle

Images: Jade Wills (jadewillsphotography.com)