Trevor Williams is the public face and brewer for the wonderfully named Hoof Hearted brewery, but he couldn’t have gotten this far without longtime friend Jarrod Bichon, the brewery’s technical adviser. The two make their beer in a warehouse-like barn they lease in Marengo.
Bichon constructed much of their equipment himself, including an automated keg-sanitizing machine that allows them to circumvent a distributor for that service. A new one would cost $30,000 or more. Considering they welded 200-gallon brew kettles and converted what they call a “Raleigh beach cruiser” into a grain mill, Hoof Hearted best represents the D.I.Y. nature that comes with a startup brewery.
Hoof Hearted’s rural brewing location has both its advantages and disadvantages. The two like having a “sanctuary” — complete with a projection screen where ’80s movies are in constant rotation and posters of scantily-clad women as “artwork” in the bathroom — where they can get away and focus on brewing.
“We can have movie night, listen to music as loud as we want and we’ve got an entire walk-in cooler full of beer,” Bichon cheerfully said.
But Marengo is a 45-minute drive from Downtown and the Short North, where their first clients are located. Liz Lessner, president of the Columbus Food League group of restaurants, has been a big supporter of the brewery, and her brother Thom designed the labels for Hoof Hearted. The Jury Room will be tapping a keg of the Musk of the Minotaur IPA at 4 p.m. Thursday.
The other perk of brewing on a farm is that all the used grain from brewing can be given to the farm’s cows, making waste removal easier and kind of fun.
“Those cows see us coming and run towards the fence really excited when we’ve got the sticky, hot grain. It’s like watching a kid trying to eat a hot piece of pizza — burning the roof of their mouth,” Williams said with a laugh.