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Home Bass for Beer: Four String Brewing

Four String Brewing, launched in late 2011, got its name in part from owner
Dan Cochran's background as a bass player with the Columbus music scene
On our recently taken Columbus Brew Adventures Grandview Brewery tour, as detailed in this blog post), we had in fact had visited all three breweries prior. However, unlike Zauber and Smokehouse, where we had logged numerous visits over the years, we had logged only one visit just a mere couple weeks prior to the tour to Four String Brewery, and we figured it would be only appropriate to give them a separate blog post.

Prior to this visit, our lone experience with Four String beers had been out on tap at various restaurants and via six-packs bought at local beer-selling establishments. Our taste of beers like their Brass Knuckle American Pale Ale and Big Star IPA were generally favorable - definitely not knock-your-socks off brews, but solidly in the "keep-a-six-pack-in-the-fridge for-after-work" category. However, we had not actually visited their taproom to try to get a better idea of their offerings after all this time, mainly due to their somewhat hidden location on 6th Avenue behind the Shoppes on 5th strip mall.

We finally got the motivation to get over there through a unique food-related event: the Ajumama Food Truck, well-known in the Columbus area for chef Laura Lee's take on Korean favorites, was hosting a special pop-up featuring Chef Sean's take on Filipino favorites. With our radar constantly on the lookout for that cuisine, we decided to make it a night, and sampling Four String's offerings would be the proverbial bonus sundae cherry to top it all off.

On our first visit, the combo of Ajumama's takes on Filipino favorites
and flights of Four String brews really hit the culinary sweet spot
As it turned out, the Filipino menu that Ajumama offered that night proved with mostly untraditional (exception: the Puto steamed rice cakes were pretty traditional and spot on very good) but really fun takes on staple items such as the Bacon Cheeseburger Lumpia, grilled Adobo Ribs, and the Chicken Afritada Sandwich (perhaps my favorite of the mains, with a taste profile reminding me of my parents' versions of Menudo and Mechado.) '

Meanwhile, the appropriately music-themed Four String taproom provided a dimly lit but otherwise nicely intimate setting to enjoy our eats. We also got a much higher appreciation of their beer offerings in the process, especially with Skeleton Red Rye IPA (the spouse and I are both fans of rye beers in general; this ended up as our second pint for the day) their new Devilock Hazelnut Stout, part of their ongoing Solo Series of limited-quantity releases (this nicely chocolaty, nutty stout was our actual favorite on this visit, but the hot & humid weather made the rye IPA the more appealing choice for a second brew.)

Columbus Brew Adventures helped provide some history to Four String's
emergence in the local craft beer scene, including their "Frankenbrewing"
beer production and their decision to go with canning their brews. 
During that first visit, it was quite noticeable that Four String Brewery's equipment certainly did not look like the traditional-styled brewery vessels we were used to seeing on other brewery and taproom visits. Indeed, on our return visit to Four String during Columbus Brew Adventures' Grandview Brewery tour, our host Jim Ellison as well as our brewery hostess provided us a fascinating history behind owner Dan Cochran's efforts to successfully transform Four String into one of the more prominent players in Columbus' current craft brew scene.

We learned all the equipment still remaining in the 6th Avenue taproom was designed for other purposes; Cochran bought the equipment for pennies on the dollar and with outside assistance adapted those device to brew beer instead. This "Frankenbrewing " method of brewing beer came with its challenges: one particularly revealing visual was their brick-lined boiler (as pictured above.) The heat generated from the brewing process was so intense, it was melting the container's legs off  - the rather clever installation of a rope around the rim provided just enough of an heat escape to tone the heat down without affecting the brewing process.

Other interesting fun facts we learned were the decision to can versus bottle their beers (Cochran found that mobile canning would be the most inexpensive way to get his product to the market, especially with a host of volunteers who would help package the cans in return for pizza and beer) as well as the fate of the 6th Avenue taproom. While Four String is nearing completion on a new larger production facility on the west side of the Columbus metro, the 6th Avenue taproom would still remain open and become the home for the brewery's more limited and experimental brews.

Of course, we tour-goers were treated to samples of their beer, and in a way it was like deja vu all over again from our first visit, as Chef Lee from the Ajumama food truck brought over some tasty spicy pork mini-sandwiches. These little toothpicked bites were welcome as we sampled beers that we had had on our first visit (including the rye IPA and hazelnut stout we so enjoyed) and are sure to have again on some future trip to Four String.

Four String Brewing
985 W. 6th Avenue (Grandview Heights)
Columbus, OH 43212
(614) 725-1282
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