“We had a potential investor who took three months to figure out the name, and then he was dead set on changing it,” said Jared Bichon, co-founder of the Hoof Hearted Brewing Company, launching soon in Columbus. (They didn’t change it; he didn’t invest.)
The name – spoiler: it’s a fart joke – has been a popular joke between Bichon and co-founder Trevor Williams for some time. Since most successful businesses involve scat humor, it seemed like a good fit when the two decided to launch a commercial brewery.
“Well obviously the quality of the beer has to be first, but we like to have fun, and I can’t imagine myself coming up with a brewery name that was serious or pretentious,” said Williams.
Williams has spent the past ten years working in the wine industry, but always fostered a fondness for beer, so when the two came back from Colorado, inspired by the thriving brewery scene, they decided to go for it. Bichon is a welding engineer by trade, which, it turns out, comes in handy when you’re starting a brewery.
“Jared is pretty much building everything from scratch,” said Williams. “I don’t think we could ever do this without him. It’s like getting into skiing or something – everything is so expensive and they know that they have you because you don’t have a choice but to buy this expensive equipment.”
Bichon has personally designed and welded not only the entire brewing system, but also a grain mill, the tap handles, and a keg cleaner that is fully automated to wash, sanitize and fill the kegs with CO2, which alone they estimate would have cost $13,000 more to purchase than to build.
Hoof Hearted is currently located on a cow farm in Marengo, about 15 miles from Westerville, for the simple expedient that they are able to lease that space from a friend for free (well, for beer.) One benefit of being on a cow farm is that they are able to recycle their spent grain to feed the cows. They do plan to re-locate closer to Columbus to open a tap room once the business is off the ground.
The first beer will be available May 1 at Dirty Frank’s, which is fitting since Thom Lessner, who created the recognizable paintings that line the walls of the hot dog joint, is also behind the brewery’s artwork. “[The designs] go along with our name in that they are kind of silly, fun, goofy,” said Williams. “Childish,” added Bichon. The first beer is an IPA called Musk of the Minotaur.
“For an IPA for me, you need to be immediately engaged in the aroma,” said Williams. “Musk of the Minotaur is kind of earthy – you imagine a half-bull, half-man mythical creature minotaur has got to be pretty stinky. So we wanted something that was over the top aromatic with some of those earthy aromas but also some great grapefruit, green citruis, stonefruit… we did also pay pretty close attention to the malt build, but we want the malt to be the convertible and the hops are sticking their heads out of the convertible.”
Other beers in the Hoof lineup include Permafrost, a wheat porter whose name is derived from heavy metal band Skeleton Witch, and Calibös “with an umlaut over the O”, a session lager fermented at ale temperatures and named after a character from Clash of the Titans. “We have a lot of beers with an umlaut – probably because we listened to too much Mötley Crue growing up,” said Williams. For all of their beers, they developed the name before the recipe – they clearly don’t take themselves too seriously which (hopefully like their beers) is refreshing.
The grand opening party for Hoof Hearted will take place May 19 at Ace of Cups, featuring “Scranton’s #1 party band Kock 107.” You can keep up with the progress of Hoof Hearted on Facebook.