Dan Cochran of Four String Brewery knows that he’s ruffled a few feathers in the craft beer world by embracing the American Adjunct Lager with Hilltop Heritage Lager. He doesn’t seem to care.
“It’s a style I’ve enjoyed and respected all my life,” he said.
Now, he has doubled down and introduced Hilltop Light.
To be fair, it’s not that much lighter than the original. However, embracing the “light” gimmick, thus perpetrating the fitness-conscious demographic—has some of his peers wondering if he’s gone too far.
Dan shrugs, regardless of how the “light” category was born into existence, the fact remains that it exists and millions of people spend billions of dollars exclusively on beers branded as “light.”
Four String is simply offering those consumers a well crafted local option and he’s doing it at a fair price that shaves Four String’s Margins to the nub.
“I’m in this for the long haul,” he said. “I’m looking 20 years down the road.”
Hilltop and Hilltop Light are brewed right here in Columbus at the Hague Road Brewery—the name is a nod to the once vibrant neighborhood sitting above the Scioto flood plain.
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The neighborhood has endured more than its share of hard times and has the scars to prove it. But Four String calls it home and wanted to pay homage to the working class people who live there with a working class beer they can call their own.
The beers are good. There’s nothing mind-blowing here. This is beer meant to be consumed cold, and fast.
Nobody at Four String is going to belittle the craft beer tradition of swirling and sniffing a fine, dry-hopped IPA, but they will acknowledge that there are times when you just want to slam a 16oz can of easy-drinking beer after busting your ass in the the hot sun.
Whether that was at work or play is your business. Hilltop and Hilltop Light don’t care.
These beers are priced to compete with the “premium domestics” but they’re better.
Four String limits the adjunct grains to corn. They aren’t adding rice, or other fermentable extracts to lower costs. Four String puts the same thought and care into these beers that they do the traditional “craft” products. They just dialed back on the pretense.
“People tell me all the time that they want to buy local beer, but they can’t find a beer that just tastes like beer,” Dan said.
Hilltop and Hilltop Light is for them. And you.