Hoof Hearted Brewing Company, in Marengo, Ohio, got its name from a fart joke. “Like many of the world’s most successful businesses,” Trevor Williams, the head brewer and an owner, says with a laugh. (Hint: say the name out loud.)
The company’s brand identity is appealingly irreverent, sometimes crass, and ultimately hilarious. Nostalgic beer names and labels draw from 1980s pop cultural influences like “Donkey Kong,” “Better Off Dead,” and hair metal. “Beer is supposed to be fun, and things like neon and spandex, and neon spandex, are really fun to us,” Williams says.
But it’s not just colorful personality (and attire) that sets Hoof Hearted apart. Williams launched the label in 2012 with brothers Ryan and Jarrod Bichon, and it’s considered one of the premier producers of New England-style IPA, a lush, juicy, hazy phenomenon among beer fans. The frenzy for just-canned drops of Hoof Hearted’s cans, like Roller Blabe, prompted the brewery to start selling advance tickets for releases.
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“There were a couple times where we thought we’d have a riot,” Williams says.
In 2015, Hoof Hearted moved its facility from an old barn in Marengo, a rural town about 30 minutes north of Columbus, into a facility quadruple its size. The following year, it teamed with a local restaurant group to open a sleek brewpub in Columbus, where it pours hazy-style IPAs plus experimental beers like Rosé Gosé, inspired by Williams’ love for the popular wine.
On the morning of Hoof Hearted Brewery & Kitchen’s Polynesian-themed second anniversary party, in early March, Williams donned a grass skirt and coconut-shell brassiere, and took a stab at our Lucky Sevens questions. He reveals his love of tiki drinks and LaCroix, and what beer he would literally die to drink.
1. What’s your desert-island beer?
Grizacca by Oxbow Brewing. Oxbow’s tasting room in Portland is always one of our first stops when we travel to Maine. Grizacca is a grisette, a low-alcohol Belgian beer in the saison family. In the case of Grizacca it’s dry hopped with a newish, super-fruity hop called Azacca. I crave this beer on the regular. So crushable.
2. What’s the beer that made you fall in love with beer?
When we were getting into drinking “good” beer in the mid-’90s it was all about the imports. So I’d probably say Beamish Irish Stout or maybe Aventinus.
3. F, M, K: IPA, pilsner, sour.
Marry IPA because it pays the bills. Fuck sours; they can be so damn electric, exciting, and leave you with chills. Would reluctantly have to kill pilsner.
4. You’re on death row. What’s your last beer?
Jackie O’s Oil of Aphrodite. It’s an imperial stout brewed with black walnuts. I’m deathly allergic to walnuts, and I’d prefer to go out on my own accord.
5. You can only drink at one bar for the rest of your life. What is it and why?
Porco Lounge and Tiki Room, an awesomely-executed tiki bar in Cleveland. Watching tiki drinks being made is totally a spectator sport.
6. What’s the best and worst beer in your fridge right now?
I have zero beer in the fridge currently. I have no excuse outside of the fact that I forget everything and never remember to grab beers after our releases. I’m not a beer-cellar guy, mostly due to the fact that I have zero self-control.
Best option is a bottle of Tavel rosé. Worst would have to be coconut LaCroix. LaCroix is life; just not coconut.
7. If you could no longer drink beer, what would be your beverage of choice?
I’ve been demolishing Cru Beaujolais lately.