Beer: What to do with too many hops? Brew up a festival

Pittsburgh freshest beer festival is "one happy little accident," says Scott Smith.

Mr. Smith, owner and brewer of Homewood's East End Brewing Co., once again this late summer made his Big Hop Harvest, a "wet hopped" ale -- that is, one flavored with fresh whole hops. (Beer typically is brewed with dry and often pelletized hops.)

He wanted to make a double batch, but he goofed and quadruple ordered, and so he wound up with not 100 but 200 pounds of New York-grown cascade and centennial hops. And they needed to be used fast.

So, he called up some brewer buddies and offered them some of his bounty, and four other breweries took him up on it.

The result is Pittsburgh's first "Wet-Hopped Beer Festival." Kelly's Bar and Lounge in East Liberty will be hopping at 7 p.m. on Oct. 11 and the fun will last "as long as the beers last," says Mr. Smith, who'll be joined by the other brewers.

Matt Moninger of Lawrenceville's Church Brew Works has dubbed his wet-hopped imperial red ale King Herod Ale.

At Wilkins' John Harvard's Brew House, Steve Sloan added 22 pounds of hops to six barrels of IPA to make "Fresh Hop IPA."

At Monroeville's Rivertowne Pour House, Andrew Maxwell's imperial India pale ale has been dubbed "Slhoppy Monster."

Johnstown Brewing's Sean Hallisey is brewing a barleywine to be named later.

The beers will be sold individually at the festival. Though there are a few commercial versions -- Victory Brewing next month will release a very limited draft-only Braumeister Harvest Pils (to be available in this market) and a Harvest Ale (that won't be) -- wet-hopped beer is an unusual treat. For more, call Kelly's at 412-363-6012.

Penn Brewery's Oktoberfest continues tomorrow, 5 p.m. to midnight; Saturday, 5 to midnight; and Sunday, 4 to 10 p.m. ( or 412-237-9402).

Send beer news and ideas to Bob Batz Jr. at or 412-263-1930.


Hot Topic