Four String Brewing Co. founder Dan Cochran is happy to zag.

While other craft breweries pursued sours, his Columbus brewery focused on Hilltop Heritage Lager, releasing the American-style lager in six-packs of 16-ounce cans. The 4.2 percent beer has become Four String's best-seller, unseating Brass Knuckle Pale Ale.

And now, with other craft breweries fixated on hazy IPAs, Four String is zagging again with the release of Hilltop Light, an American-style light lager that's 3.8 percent. It's also available in six-packs of 16-ounce cans.

“If you look at what we’ve done in the last seven years, we were the first Columbus brewery to can," Cochran said. "We were the first Ohio brewery to put out a mainstream American lager as a core product in this market and we’re going to be the first one to do it with a light. We like to zag. When everybody is zigging, we’re going to zag. We’re not focused on the trendy style."

No one would argue that light lager is a trendy craft style -- although the mainstream Bud Light, Coors Light and Miller Lite are the best-selling brands in the U.S. Cochran knows that while many craft beer drinkers look down their nose at those national brands, many also enjoy the style.

"But it’s like forbidden to say that," he said. "I love IPA and I drink IPA all the time. IPA is not refreshing. American-style lager and light lager are refreshing."

American-style lagers got a bad rap early on with the craft beer movement, especially when branded by Stone Brewing Co. co-founder Greg Koch as "fizzy yellow beer."

"I've never seen the beer style as the quote, unquote enemy," Cochran said. "It was big beer. The monopolized big beer industry was the enemy. I don't understand how anyone can legitimize one beer style over another. The bottomline is American light lager can be a craft style of beer as much as a double IPA can be."

Indeed, light lager is a recognized category at the Great American Beer Festival and World Beer Cup.

"We straight up like American light lager," Cochran added. "We drink American light lager. We enjoy American light lager. We wanted to make our own for Ohio. It’s a style of beer that everybody is accustomed to. That everybody has at least enjoyed at one point in their life. And it’s a style of beer that we see as a legitimate style just like IPA is, frankly."

Hilltop Light has the same characteristics of Hilltop Heritage Lager -- and that was important in producing it.

"What we enjoy about Hilltop Lager more than the big American breweries’ lagers is the fact that it has a far lower percentage of adjuncts in it," Cochran said. "Corn. It’s closer to 5 percent whereas some of the big boys use close to 50 percent. So the result of that is Hilltop has more of a cereal, bready flavor to it that tastes like barley. Keeping that flavor in the lighter version of the beer was the most important thing to us. It tastes just like Hilltop but a little lighter."

Hilltop Light is available in the Columbus market and is making its way to Athens. There also are plans to start distributing it in Northeast Ohio this summer. Six-packs retail for $8.99.