The Columbus Microbrewery scene is very rapidly expanding these days with a new brewery being announced every few months. Hoof Hearted Brewing is the latest to join the tidal wave of new drinking options, and has plans to be up and running in early 2012.
We recently spoke with Trevor Williams, co-founder of Hoof Hearted Brewing to find out more about what type of beers we can expect them to be producing and what got them interested in craft beers in the first place.
Q: First, can you tell us a bit about the background of the team involved at Hoof Hearted Brewing?
A: Sure. I have a Communications degree from OSU and I have been in the wine distribution business for eight years. My specialty is selling to independent restaurants and retailers, which are precisely the type of accounts we are going to be targeting with this new endeavor.
My business partner Jarrod Bichon has a Welding Engineering degree from OSU, which happens to come in handy when starting your own brewery. Jarrod has designed and welded our pedal-powered grain mill as well as designing and producing our keg washer.
As far as brewing experience goes, we are on a triple-A team that is looking to go pro!
Q: So what got you interested in beer, and what led you to the decision of opening your own brewery?
A: We got into craft beer early on in our drinking careers around 1995 when we were freshmen at OSU. We had a friend who was working at the Viking Carryout, which at the time was one of the best beer shops in Columbus. Another friend of ours was working at Barley’s so we had a pipeline to the good stuff.
I got inspired by visiting great beer towns like Portland, Seattle and San Diego. Most recently Jarrod and I went skiing in Colorado where there are endless amazing breweries. Those vibrant beer scenes really made us want to start something and help make Columbus a real beer geek destination.
Q: Where did the name Hoof Hearted come from?
A: Hoof Hearted Brewing, like most successful businesses, took it’s name from a fart joke. We wanted a brand name that reflected our personalities, that was fun, and didn’t sound corporate. The name has also allowed us to connect with 80’s Heavy Metal, Dungeons & Dragons, and Clash of the Titans type imagery which is totally up our anchor. Hooven animals like goats have been associated with German Bock beers forever.
Q: Speaking of imagery… you’ve got quite a unique logo, and fans of Dirty Frank’s Hot Dog Palace should easily recognize the artwork of Thom Lessner. Can you tell us a bit about your relationship with Thom and about the development of your brand?
A: I have been friends with Thom since the second grade, and we have been in a bunch of bands together and continue to collaborate on songs for his current band Sweatheart. Jarrod, Thom, and I used to be roommates in the late 90’s along with Ramble Krohn, better known as RJD2. There was no question on who we wanted to design our labels. Thom’s art makes you feel like you’re in middle school every time you see it and that’s where we are at maturity-wise so it’s a good fit.
Q: So, what types of beers will Hoof Hearted specialize in?
A: We are going to start out with three or four flagship brews. ”Musk of the Minotaur” IPA (A potent aroma, strong enough to wake you from a coma). ”Permafrost” Wheat Porter (Pitch black and smooth as sin. Inspired by the Athens Ohio Metal band Skeletonwitch). ”Calibös” Lager (A California Common style beer, popularized by Anchor’s Steam Beer. It also happens to be the first original American beer style). We also have a hop forward brown ale that we haven’t named yet.
Q: Can you tell us a bit about where your brewery is located, and what drew you to that location?
A: The brewery is located in Marengo, Ohio. It’s a little north of Westerville and completely rural. We are solely a production brewery, not a brew pub, so we don’t have a tasting room. For us, getting out in the middle of nowhere is pretty inspiring. Jarrod is friends with the owner of the building so it was an easy decision. There is also a Black Angus Farm on the property so that solved the issue of disposing of thousands of pounds of spent grain.
Q: Do you think Columbus is on the cusp of developing a larger microbrewery scene and if so, what role do you hope to play in that?
A: I think Columbus is becoming a lot savvier on a number of different food and drink fronts. Some examples include the rise of farmers market CSA’s, micro coffee roasters, micro distilleries, food trucks, and the support and growth of Dine Originals restaurants. Columbus is for sure on the cusp of being a beer hot spot with Rockmill just freakin’ killing it with their beers, Born Brewing coming soon, Zauber coming soon, Barley’s, Elevator and CBC. There are also great beer bars like Bob’s, Surly Girl, Bodega, Hal and Al’s, and World of Beer to name a few that are really promoting quality beers. I hope that the new Columbus breweries reclaim some tap handles from all the West Coast, Colorado, East Coast, and especially Michigan breweries that seem to have taken over our bars.
Q: Are there any other types of products that you are looking to develop more long term?
A: We are going to start with kegs and work our way into 22oz bottles shortly thereafter. Additional releases will be wild experimental one-off releases but appropriate for their particular season.
Q: And last but not least, when will your products be ready for consumption, and where can our readers find them?
A: In a perfect world we would start production at the first of the year. All of our permit applications have been submitted and paid for, so now we’re just waiting. But to start off we will be served at Elizabeth Lessner’s restaurants and sounds like MoJoe Lounge too. We are starting small because we are going to be self-distributing and we want to get a handle on the logistics before we over-commit ourselves.
More info can be found online at Facebook.com/HoofHeartedBrewing.