When Four String first opened its brewery on 6th Avenue, you could swing by for some beer, but there wasn’t exactly a tap room. When you walked in the door, you came into a small room with a bar/counter that was quickly thrown together the day the brewery opened. You couldn’t sit down and you couldn’t order a pint. It was get a sample, get a growler, and get the hell out, and your choices were limited to the brewery’s initial two offerings, Brass Knuckle and Backstage Blonde.

Luckily, within a couple years, the thriving young brewery modified the space and built a nice little tap room at the front of the building. It wasn’t huge, as at the time Four String was still brewing on 6th and most of the space was devoted to tanks, but it was a fun little space with about ten seats at the bar and a handful of tables. The crowds started off a little small, as people were still learning of the tap room’s existence, but before long, you had to arrive early to make sure you got a seat.

Four String Taproom

This year, Four String’s continued overwhelming success allowed it to complete a huge expansion and move all of its brewing operations over to an amazing production space on Hague Avenue. That’s good news for us beer drinkers because it means more beer, but it’s also good news for those of us who like to sit in tap rooms, as the tanks were cleared out of the Sixth Avenue location and the entire space was built out for our evening and weekend drinking pleasure.

Nowadays you walk into the tap room and see that it has transformed from small to sprawling. The bar has been moved to the right side of the room and has doubled in size. Where there were originally two taps, and then maybe six when the tap room opened, there are now twenty five taps flowing with Four String beers. Tables line the entire left wall and fill the back, all the way back to the vintage pinball machines and Pac Man machine. It’s a good thing there are more seats too, because these days crowds regularly pack into the tap room for everything from the standing-room-only Wednesday trivia night to casual hanging out on Saturdays.

Four String Brewing Taps

I’ve written in several recent posts about different breweries having light and airy tap rooms. That’s not what Four String’s going for, though. The space is dark, with dark tables, stools, and bench seating. It has a deliberately unpolished feel about it, with concrete floors and a concrete bar top. It feels more like a rock and roll club than anything – and that is exactly what they’re going for, given owner Dan Cochran’s history as a bass player. The space is lit partially with stage lights and a stage has been installed in the back for future live musical acts. Rock posters are intermingled with Four String beer posters. Motörhead is blaring through the speakers. There is no mistaking that this is the hardest rocking brewery in town.

Four String Brewing Cask

We came on this Saturday for the annual release of Big Star White IPA, a spring seasonal. Four String probably does more infusions than any other brewery in town, which allowed us to get a sampler of four different Big Stars. On cask was a Big Star dry hopped with whole cone Citra and Columbus hops with a fruity and slightly sweet flavor. The blackberry and coriander infusion was my favorite with a subtle tartness. Habanero and grapefruit zest Big Star punched me in the face with its heat, but had just enough zest to balance it out a bit. Chai-infused Big Star tasted like…chai. (I don’t drink tea and am bad at describing it. Let’s just move on.)

We got a backstage pass to see the Big Star White IPA firkin being tapped on the day of the release before open.

Because I like drinking beer (duh), I also got another sampler to try a range of Four String’s other offerings. As the brewery has grown, it has expanded to a wide range of beers clocking in from light-bodied lagers to an imperial stout. The entire set, from the cans in the stores to the tap-room-only specials, is really solid. The Helles lager is clean and light and is one of the beers that is making me come around on the style. The Brass Knuckle is a nice pale ale that I could happily drink all day. The vanilla porter was my favorite of the bunch. Smooth and sweet, it is the best vanilla porter I know of that you’re going to come across. The imperial stout packed a boozy wallop to the end of my sampler with notes of bitter black licorice and a slight sweetness in the finish. If you haven’t stopped by since Four String finished its tap room expansion, definitely stop in for a pint.

{In our efforts to spotlight each Columbus-area brewery, we’re sending Doug Oldham to visit every brewery’s tap room. In the coming months, he will attempt to regale you with his experiences. Doug’s opinions are his own and do not necessarily reflect those of the CCBA.}