During Pittsburgh’s Day of Giving- the East End Brewery, Marty’s Market, and gtech gave Pittsburghers the wonderful gift of fresh brews, food, and inspired conversation. Wet Hoptober was their event to celebrate the fresh harvest of wet (fresh) hops.
Here is the 412, I mean 411 on hops. Hops are the seed cones of the hop plant. They are picked once a year (late summer/ fall) from their bines (yes b- think of beer vines). They are either brought to a processing facility where they are dried and vacuumed packed (dry hops), or they are brought to the brew house and used immediately (wet hops). Wet hops are very perishable, so once picked, they need to be used within 24 hours. Wet hops are particularly special because of the unique taste and aroma they add to beer and short shelf-life (check out eastendbrewing.com for pics of the wet hops).
With that said, a genius from gtech had the wonderful idea of turning an unused portion of Garfield Farm into a hop haven. So last spring, they set off to plant hops with the help of hop-grower, Noah (This is extremely exciting for Pittsburgh because hops have not been grown in PA typically since prohibition times). So, the East End Brewery patiently waited for these wonderful little nuggets to ripen. Once they did, the East End quickly started the brewing process and arranged for “hop pickers” to get the goods. This years crop yielded about 15-20 lbs of hops. This number will double by next year. By the third year- the hop plants will be in full bloom. The East End brewers brewed 3 beers with these precious hops- The Big Hop, The Big Hop Harvest Ale, and the Belgian Pale Ale. The hops used in these beers were Cascade and Chinook. The beers turned out to be a-maz-ing!! The hops were so present but completely balanced. And the aroma…my goodness it was heavenly. These beers were so special that the brewers waited to drink theirs for the first time at the event. Talk about anticipation!
Along with the great brews, came some mighty fresh food. Marty’s Market put out quite a spread- including pork tongue, sweet potato latkes, and Cour Royale Brie. It was such a great pairing with the freshly hopped Pittsburgh brews. There is something about drinking a beer from Pittsburgh soil and eating fleshly butchered meat that makes it that much more appetizing and enjoyable. We were so impressed with Marty’s Market’s commitment to provide clean, local, and very fresh foods that we will be writing up a post about them in the very near future.
It is amazing how many Pittsburghers were involved with this project. It took gtech, East End Brewers, Noah the Hop Farmer, Garfield Community Farms, and Marty’s Market to make this unique idea turn into a spectacular event. We are not the least bit surprised though, when Pittsburghers share thoughts and ideas with one another, great things are bound to happen. It was inspiring to spend an evening with some awesome Pittsburghers whom share the same passions as we do. Here Here! Pittsburgh. What a great city to be a part of.