Hoof Hearted; Worth the Hype

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This past Sunday, I had the privilege of visiting Hoof Hearted Brewery, a hidden gem in Marengo, Ohio.  Prior to visiting the brewery I had been lucky enough to try their South of Eleven DIPA when we got it back in July.  Despite how little I knew about Hoof Hearted, I knew it was a damn good beer and I wanted more of their brews.  So on Sunday, with a heads up from Trevor from Hoof Hearted that Musk of the Minotaur IPA would be canned and released that day, Cappy’s Owner, Ben and I travelled up to Marengo ourselves.

When we first pulled up the gravel driveway, out in the middle of nowhere, it appears to be a small house with a 3 car garage behind it.  As we got closer, we could see the 3 garage doors were open, and inside were 5 brewing tanks, a taproom, and a line out the door.  Who would’ve thought that these delicious beers everyone is clamoring over were brewed in such a place?  I was immediately excited to be there, not only to drink and buy the beer, but also because it exudes a feeling of authenticity, originality, and fun.

Their signature artwork, created by their friend,  Artist, Thom Lessner, is hanging on the walls, adding an artsy, eclectic feel to the room.  There was also a bar where they were featuring on draft, Musk of the Minotaur on its own, or through a coffee or sauvignon blanc randall.  We got to watch the canning process, drink the amazing beers, and got a grand tour of the place.  After my experience there and speaking with Trevor, Co-Owner and Brewer, I have to say, Hoof Hearted is worth the hype.

So where did these guys come from?  It seems like one day none of us had ever heard of Hoof Hearted, and the next they were producing the most sought after beer in Cincinnati.  Luckily, Trevor from Hoof Hearted was generous enough with his time to grant me an interview to learn a little bit more about this special company.  Trevor is one of the 3 Co-Owners of Hoof Hearted and says that they all “do it all”, from creating the recipes, to brewing, to canning,  distributing, and whatever else may need to be done.  Supported by a devoted staff and an artistic genius (the aforementioned, Thom Lessner), these guys make magic happen.  Trevor himself has a background in wine sales, but decided to quit doing that full time about 3 years ago to focus on Hoof Hearted.  An idea they kicked around for about 6 months to start a brewery came to fruition in the summer of 2011.  Until May of 2015, Trevor worked part time roasting coffee for a local Columbus Coffee Roaster while they worked on getting Hoof Hearted off the ground.  Once they started canning their previously draft only beer, he quit that too to commit to Hoof Hearted full-time.

Trevor and the other guys from Hoof Hearted love craft beer, and their goal with Hoof Hearted was to make quality beers, add a fun and silly spin to it, and tap a market in Columbus that at the time was under-saturated in good craft beer.  They wanted to share their beer with craft beer lovers in the Columbus area, and did so, successfully.  So successfully in fact, that in June of 2015 they decided to start canning their product, enabling them to touch other markets as well, outside of just Columbus.  Trevor said that he has gone from being surprised that they were still in business, to seeing people trading world class beers for Hoof Hearted beers, thanks to the canning which allowed them to spread into other communities.  At this time Hoof Hearted self distributes and says that they intend to keep it that way as long as they are able to.

How did they come up with the name Hoof Hearted? Trevor said it was “one of those stupid names I had in my back pocket” and that he had also used it for soft ball teams in the past.  His favorite beer from Hoof Hearted is Side Piping, a double dry hopped “India Farmhouse Ale” for the taste and also because it’s his favorite label art.  His favorite Ohio breweries include Brew Kettle and Columbus Brewing Company, and if you ask me, Hoof Hearted easily ranks among them.  I can’t wait to try more of their beers, and continue to spread the love around Cincinnati in the form of Hoof Hearted cans.

Pulling up to Hoof Hearted

Pulling up to Hoof Hearted

Where the magic happens

Where the magic happens

The bar

The bar

The canning process

The canning process

Hoof Hearted apparel for sale!

Hoof Hearted apparel for sale!

Brewing Tanks

Brewing Tanks

In the bathroom, because that's how cool these guys are...

In the bathroom, because that’s how cool these guys are…

Me with the guys from Hoof Hearted!

Me with the guys from Hoof Hearted!

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My First Blog!

So this is my very first blog ever!  I decided that since this is a beer blog, it would only be fitting to write it about the craft beer that converted me to a Diehard Craft Beer Devotee.  That beer for me was Founders Breakfast Stout.  So here’s the preface to that; my alcohol drinking habits prior to my craft beer obsession were pretty much limited to occasional wine or a Summer Shandy.  (Not that there’s anything wrong with that…)

Not so long ago, in November of 2014, I began working at Cappy’s.  I had no knowledge or experience in the industry, but a desire to learn it.  On my first day, I was told to sample some of the craft beers that we offered on tap (16 at the time, now 24), because part of learning the business of craft beer is drinking Craft Beer, I know, tough gig.  At the time, my only notion of a “dark beer” was Guinness, and I knew I didn’t like Guinness.  I did (and still do) however, have an affinity for black coffee and coffee flavored everything.  When I took a sip of Founders Breakfast Stout, even in a little plastic sample cup, I was immediately hooked.  It was coffee forward, rich, chocolately, just plain amazing.  It tasted nothing like any beer I’d ever had before.  I had no idea that a beer could taste that good!  My obvious conclusion was “oh my gosh, I like stouts!”; thus began my endless quest to try every stout I could get my hands on.

Although I love stouts, and still have MANY left to try, I quickly learned that I can’t survive in The Beer World on stouts alone!  People wanted to know what certain IPA’s tasted like, Barley Wines, Sours, Belgians.  I knew that I needed to diversify my palate and start trying other types of beer also.  Whether I liked them or not, I wanted to know what they tasted like, what made them distinct, good or bad.  Not to mention, a couple months into the job I discovered Untappd.  Untappd further drove my newfound obsession, (follow me, sLevin7).  Attending Bottle Share Parties drove my obsession.  The amazing people that make up the Craft Beer Community also made me love to drink craft beer, collect craft beer, trade craft beer, talk craft beer.  It was the perfect storm, and I’m thrilled to be in that storm.

It’s hard to believe that in less than 1 year, I went from Summer Shandy to over 500 unique beers.  I’ve had the privilege of trying some of the best beers in the world, and I’m not stopping any time soon!  But at the end of the day, I’ll always enjoy a snifter (or mug) of Founders Breakfast Stout.

Cheers!