A local non-profit, GTECH Strategies, holds a very special place in our hearts. Not only does GTECH work alongside Pittsburgh community members and partners throughout Allegheny County to creatively transform our beloved city, they also host WetHoptober, the very first event we covered as bloggers back in 2013.
A few years back, GTECH partnered with Hop Farmer, Noah Petronic, and the fine farmers of Garfield Farm, to start a hop farm. The hops would grow on an unused, vacant lot in Garfield Community Farm. They hoped to grow enough hops to fill East End Brewing Co.‘s tall order for three wet hopped brews: Big Hop, Big Hop Harvest Ale, and their Belgian Pale Ale. Well, they pulled it off! They produced 15-20 lbs of Cascade and Chinook hops. The wet-hopped brews were mighty tasty, and for a hophead like me, the brews were even more satisfying knowing that these little nuggets were grown in up-cycled Pittsburgh soil.
The Pittsburgh grown hops were such a success, they inspired another boozy Pittsburgh business, Wigle Whiskey, to hop aboard the hop wagon. In 2014, Wigle Whiskey released two hopped whiskeys, Hopped and Hint of Hop Whiskey at GTECH’s 2nd annual WetHoptober event. Curious about how it’s done? Read here.
Good news friends, it’s that time of year to celebrate wet hops again. To help spread the word of this awesome event, we decided to take a cue from GTECH and get creative with our message. GTECH’s mission statement includes this, “We believe nothing is wasted unless we allow it.” That statement really resonated with me because with all this beer and booze blogging comes lots of empty bottles. And we’ve held onto several nice bottles in hopes of one day doing something fun with them. Well, I think we found the perfect project. We decided to give our empty East End beer and Wigle Whiskey bottles a new life by turning them into gorgeous flower vases.
We went from this …..
- Empty bottles
- Hot water
- Steel Wool scrubber (if labels won’t come off)
- Spray paint (make sure it works on glass)
- Hemp, yarn, or whatever material catches your fancy
- Glue Gun with glue sticks
Step 1. Remove the labels. Some labels easily peel off. Others- not so much. For the tougher ones, I soaked the bottles in the sink with hot water and one cup of vinegar for 15-20 minutes. Then I used some good old fashioned elbow grease to scrape them off. When that still didn’t work on one bottle, I busted out the steel wool scrubber and got after it.
Step 2: Once the bottles are cleaned, it’s time for spray paint. I used Rust-Oleum Universal Paint and Primer In-One White Gloss because it adheres to glass. I went outside and sprayed the bottles inside a cardboard box to catch the extra paint. Follow the directions printed on the spray paint’s label for the best results. I sprayed several light coats until I got the perfect coverage. Then, I let it dry for 24 hours.
Step 3. Time to Decorate. Put a little dot of glue on the glass and start wrapping the string around the bottle, applying little dots of glue every row or so. Glue needs to be applied more often where the neck curves into the bottle to make sure it stays with the shape of the bottle. Be careful, the hot glue can burn your fingers. I unfortunately experienced this firsthand one too many times. You can wrap the whole bottle, or just sections of the bottle. I did both ways- they looked awesome!
Step 4: Fill them with flowers! I couldn’t wait for this part because I love fresh flowers. You can cut some out of your flower garden or go to your favorite flower shop. I picked up these beauties at Cuttings in Sewickley. They always carry such a stunning array of unique flowers.
Step 5: Decorate your place with these super cute vases. You can display them outside, like we did in this basket planter. Or bring the warmth of fall colors inside your home. These vases are definitely going to be this year’s Thanksgiving centerpiece.
Step 6: Come to this WetHoptober event! It’s this Saturday, the 3rd, at 6:00pm. This event will be held at Wigle Whiskey’s Barrelhouse located in the Northside neighborhood of Spring Garden. You’ll be treated to an evening of East End Brewing Co. wet hopped brews, hopped whiskey by Wigle Whiskey, and good eats from Berlin Street Foods and Brownstone Wood Fired Brick Oven. Hurry up, the tickets sell out fast. You can buy tickets here
This ticket gets you…
- A 12oz GTECH Beer Glass – yours to take home
- One hopped whiskey cocktail
- Three 6oz pours of East End’s wet-hopped BigHop HARVEST Ale, Cream Ale, and Pedal Pale Ale
- Two free raffle tickets
- Tasting demos with samples of hopped whiskey
About the Booze and Brews
Wigle’s Hopped Whiskey Press Release: “This year’s batch is triple-distilled from Organic Wheat Mash and vapor-infused with fresh, whole cone Chinook and Cascade hops harvested at Soergel Orchards. Aged in once-used barrels for over a year, the lightly oaked whiskey allows the piney and spicy fruit flavors to shine through, while the vapor-infusion process prevents bitterness. Clocking in at 92 Proof, this is a harder hitting cousin of the hop flavors in American craft beer these days.”
Picture Credit: Wigle Whiskey
Owner, Scott Smith, from East End, “BigHop HARVEST Ale is Pittsburgh’s first, and largest production wet-hopped beer. Brewed with a mix of hops from Garfield, Portersville, and upstate New York, it is a TRUE seasonal beer, tied directly to the whims of Mother Nature, who decides when the hops are ready for HARVEST. And when the beer is ready to drink!”
East End is also wet hopping their Cream Ale and Pedal Pale Ale with the Pittsburgh grown hops! The unique freshness of these wet hops will add beautiful layers to these delicious East End brews.
Hop(e) to see you Saturday!
Cheers N’at– Devon and Tim