Last year, two vacant lots in Observatory Hill were turned into hop farms. This month, the first yield was harvested and made into a beer at Allegheny City Brewing.

By Ashlee Green

On Wednesday, September 12, Allegheny City Brewing (ACB) unveiled a new beer made from hops harvested and purchased from two vacant plots of land on 101 and 104 Bonvue Street in Observatory Hill. The beer, dubbed “Observatory Hill Haze India pale ale,” used the first yield of the locally grown Cascade, Centennial and Cluster hops. It measures six percent alcohol by volume.

“It was the first time we’ve used fresh hops,” said Matthew Yurkovich, one of the brewers at ACB. Most breweries, ACB included, use pelletized hops to make beer because it can be stored easily. Since these hops were fresh, though, Yurkovich and his fellow brewer, Al Grasso, had to craft a beer within a day or two of them coming off of the bine.

“We had to come up with a recipe pretty quick,” Yurkovich said. “That was a bit of a challenge, but we worked through it.” Grasso agreed:

“Usually we build our recipes with an end goal in mind,” he added. “This time, we had a limited quantity of hops. We started with a component of the recipe and then we had to build a recipe around it.”

Yurkovich said his favorite part of making this specialty beer, aside from creating a recipe “on the fly” with his partners, was when Megan Zeigler, project lead on the Bonvue Street hop farms, delivered the fresh hops to the brewery.

“The aromatics are pretty intense on fresh hops,” he said. “We love the opportunity to utilize local ingredients whenever we can.”

Observatory Hill Haze IPA will be on tap for the next month. Taste it at 507 Foreland Street, Pittsburgh, PA, 15212. For more information and hours of operation, check out www.alleghenycitybrewing.com.