Recently I was lucky enough to be in Columbus, Ohio for a night, a place where one of my best storytellers, Kyle Kastranec, calls home. He’s the guy who’s been writing that 3-part novel about the Cincinnati, Cleveland, and Columbus brewing scenes over the past couple years. They’ve been some incredible moment-in-time documentaries showing how the beer industry in Ohio is returning to its glory days, but also innovating and venturing into new territory all its own. And now that he’s got those three seminal pieces under his belt, he’s on to some deep dives around the country.
One of the breweries he profiled some time ago was Hoof Hearted, based in Marengo, Northwest a bit from Columbus in the middle of nowhere really. At the time of his story, this crew was brewing in a barn on some property they got for free. And now, by some miracle, they’ve opened up a Danish-inspired art gallery of a brewpub in an up and coming, very hip neighborhood of Columbus proper.
I was excited to make my first visit, and I couldn’t have been more impressed but he vision for the brewpub, created in partnership with a city restaurant group. Awhile back, you may recall that Stone Brewing was considering Columbus as their second home, which would have put them in the same town as the BrewDog American production brewery. Monte eventually chose the East Coast instead, but while they were still up in the air, a developer in Columbus was helping create a complex of sorts that would call Stone Brewing home, alongside restaurants, and even another start-up brewery (which Stone actually requested, according to our guest today). After this plans fell through, the developer still liked the idea of bringing in that start-up brewery, and so Hoof Hearted was presented with an opportunity few others will ever see — a chance to make a step change into a completely new level of the brewing business.
Now they brew in both locations, and still can and release beers at a barn in Marengo.
So how did one of its co-founders keep his head on straight though all that? I’m not exactly sure he did, but it was fun to talk about either way. He’s another one of those guys just trying to hold on.