“There was a lot of people telling me, you won’t make it,” says Notch owner Chris Lohring. “Session beers? That’s going to fall on deaf ears. And after the first year it looked like it would be that way, but this year has proven that people have really come around.”
Inspired by the nuanced lagers of the Czech Republic, Lohring’s low-alcohol pilsners and pale ales were initially pitted against the public’s fixation with boozy imperial stouts and escalating levels of IBUs — not to mention the damning reputation of mass-produced lagers. Now business is booming thanks to beers like their American Session Ale and Left of the Dial IPA, drinkable brews with as much complexity as their high-octane counterparts.
Next up for Lohring? Battling the dogmatic misconceptions that have hovered around corn adjuncts. “We have antiquated notions of what craft beer is compared to the rest of the market. Craft brewers are heralded and celebrated for using any ingredient under the sun, but for some reasons corn and rice can’t be involved, and I just find that misleading. Corn is the most traditional ingredient in US brewing.” Expect The Mule, an American corn lager, made with local heirloom varieties from Western Massachusetts, to hit retail shops and bars later in August.