Four Strings, a local Columbus brewery, recently started canning their flagship Pale Ale, Brass Knuckles. Local canned beers are pretty rare around here, so when I visited the Four Strings Brewery last weekend I bought some to bring home for a proper review. Four Strings partnered with a mobile canning company called Buckeye Canning out of Amherst, Ohio to get their beer into cans. Buckeye Canning have previously worked with Elevator Brewing Company (I have a four pack of Bleeding Buckeye in my refrigerator to prove it), and Business First Columbus reports that Seventh Son has plans to work with them in the coming months. So it appears there will be options for local canned beer as the warm summer months approach.
- Brewery: Four Strings (Columbus, OH)
- Style: American Pale Ale
- ABV: 5.8%
- Price: $8.99 per 6 pack
Brass Knuckles is a hazy deep amber color. A vigorous pour yields a big, creamy white head, that is probably 4-5 cm high, and settles out quite slowly, demonstrating impressive head retention. The aroma is mostly bready, slightly sweet malts with a touch of citrus. Given the reticent nature of the hops in the nose, I was surprised to be greeted with a healthy dose of bitterness on my first drink. The can does say a “Hard Hitting American Pale Ale” so maybe I shouldn’t have been surprised. The malt base reminds me quite a bit of Dortmunder Gold from Great Lakes—bready and a little sweet. Add to the equation piney flavors and the aforementioned bitterness from the hops (I wonder if they use Chinook hops) and that pretty much sums up the taste. I get very little in the way of citrus or tropical fruits in the flavor. The mouthfeel is medium bodied and moderately coating.
The combination of a German Lager type maltiness and piney, bitter hops grew on me as the glass emptied. The hops do keep the sweetness of the malts in check, but I was disappointed that they don’t add more in the way of fruity flavors and aromas. It’s not a bad beer by any means, but given the competition I would probably go in a different direction the next time I’m looking for an American Pale Ale. In terms of local options Columbus Brewing Company makes a nice one, and I still have fond lingering memories of the Three Floyds Alpha King that I reviewed last week. However, if you need the convenience of a canned Pale Ale and you would like to support local breweries, which you should, Brass Knuckles is a good option.
P.S. – I read in the Business First Columbus article that Four Strings plans to release Big Star White IPA in cans soon. That beer is more to my taste preferences, so I will look forward to that release.
Rating = 6.0
Rating Scale: 10 = perfection, 9 = excellent, one of the top beers in the world, 8 = very good, one of the top beers in its style category, 7 = good, a solid beer I’m happy to be drinking, 6 = average, not bad but not something I’m likely to buy again, 5 = below average, 3-4 = poor, should be avoided, 1-2 drainpour.