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Hilltop Rising: Popular lager making comeback this summer

Mike Thomas

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Four String Brewing Company’s Hilltop Lager hit the market in May of 2017, and was immediately welcomed into the hearts and livers of beer fans across the city. Finally Columbus had a crushable, refreshing, locally-brewed option to satisfy the IPA-averse masses.

Sadly, Four String’s flagship brew went the way of the dodo in October of 2018 when the company was forced to close due to financial hardships.

Now, thanks to an investment from a local “serial entrepreneur,” Columbus’ signature lager—as well as it’s light counterpart—will return to festival tents and store shelves this summer.

According to a press release issued last week, a group of Ohio investors lead by businessman Blake Squires have partnered with Four String’s Dan Cochran to launch Hilltop Brewing, which seeks to revive the Hilltop Lager and Hilltop Light Brands.

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“I felt it was important for those brands to live on. The response to Hilltop was incredible. Both the Hilltop Lager and Hilltop Light brands were still growing double digits the day we closed our doors,” Cochran said via the release. “I wanted to get it back to the market as quickly as possible.”

The new investors will work hand-in-hand with Cochran to ensure that the original Hilltop Lager recipe and brand ethos are preserved. Where the beer will produced is not yet known.

Your first chance to grab the newly-revived Hilltop Lager will be at this year’s Comfest, on June 28, 29, and 30 at Goodale Park. Cochran says cans should be appearing on store shelves by July 4.

For more information as it becomes available, visit www.hilltoplager.com

Excited to raise a glass of Hilltop again this summer, or have you moved on to another brand? Give us your thoughts in the comments.

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Rye In July: The Ward 8

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We partnered with Brown-Forman, Jack Daniels Rye Whiskey, and local bartender Ben Griest from Giuseppe’s Ritrovo to bring a fun twist to your summer cocktails. Rye in July is your go-to weekly drink feature to make while stuck at home for ideas of cocktails. We are featuring The Ward 8 in today's video! This thirst-quenching, summer-ready fresh cocktail is what you need on a hot day like today!

The Ward 8

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Barrels, get your whiskey barrels here!

Julian Foglietti

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Middle West Spirits has just announced a new sale program to unload their growing surplus of whiskey barrels. Barrels will be available for pickup and sale from their warehouse, 470 E. Starr Ave., Sat., July 18,  8 a.m. to noon.

Middle West will sell 30-gallon and 53-gallon barrels for $50 and $75 respectively. You may also pick up barrel staves for $3. 

The barrels for sale were used for either bourbon, rye, or wheat whiskey, and the barrel type can be specified upon purchase. 

Whiskey barrels, and bourbon barrels, in particular, have a long history of reuse in spirit aging internationally. This is a wonderful opportunity for home distillers to snag a barrel for their own experimentation. 

And if your skills lie outside of the world of homebrewing, there are more than enough craft possibilities in one of these recycled barrels.. With projects ranging from bars, to chairs and tables, the DIY-er will have endless options for creativity. 

Barrels will be available on a first-come, first-served basis and can also be reserved by emailing the barrel size and whiskey type to [email protected]stspirits.com

Barrel Bar

Barrel Chair

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Westerville’s Wine Bistro has a new name—reopens Thursday with makeover

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Even though City Brands announced that the Wine Bistro in Worthington wouldn’t be returning, there were initial rumors that the Westerville location also wouldn’t be making a comeback.

Original reports were wrong, and City Brands announced the return of the Westerville Wine Bistro, 925 N. State St.,on July 9 after a light remodel. You can find the (614) report on the City Brands reopenings and closings here.

The remodeling isn’t the only thing that’s going to be new about the Wine Bistro in Westerville, though. Or as we should we say now, NAPA Kitchen + Bar. With locations  in Westerville, Dublin, and Montgomery, Ohio,  NAPA Kitchen + Bar is a sister concept to The Wine Bistro.

“We feel the NAPA Kitchen + Bar concept will really appeal to a wide range of guests in Westerville. We wanted to undertake this conversion for quite a while but never found the right time to close down for the renovations,” Tim Rollins, President of The Metropolitan Companies and owner of NAPA kitchen + bar, said in a press release on Thursday.

The restaurant will be open Monday through Thursday, 4 to 9 p.m., Friday and Saturday 4 to 10 p.m., and Sunday, 4 to 8 p.m.

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