|Hop Farm Brewing Company
5601 Butler Street | Lawrenceville, PA 15201
Co-owners Matt and Emily Gouwens opened Hop Farm Brewing Company on Lawrenceville’s Butler Street in late September 2013. The brick building sits on the corner, and massive amounts of sunlight shine through for the hop plants sitting on a barrel by the window. The walls are a calming olive green with one wall covered in dark stained wood panels. The industrial lighting and photographs of hop farms bring the space together.
Matt Gouwens brings 12 years of homebrewing and eight years of hop growing experience to the brewery. Prior to opening Hop Farm, he completed an apprenticeship with Paul Rutherford at Iron Hill Brewery in Chestnut Hill. Matt brews on a brand new 10 bbl brewing system capable of producing 750 to 1,000 barrels this year.
Every batch of beer includes some of their own home-grown hops. A local farmer hosts about 125 hop plants for Hop Farm including Cascade, Chinook, Zeus, Crystal, Fuggle, Newport, Mt. Hood, Centennial, Nugget, and Willamette. Patrons can purchase hop rhizomes at the brewery.
While spending a beautiful April day in Pittsburgh, we took a brief side trip to visit Hop Farm. The brewery is only a few miles northwest of downtown Pittsburgh. During my visit I tasted some delicious brews while chatting with some beer loving locals at the tasting bar.
- Hop Farm IPA – a 5.9% ABV Flagship India Pale Ale with loads of citrus flavor; brewed with Cascade hops.
- One Nut Brown – a 4.5% ABV Brown Ale with nutty and chocolaty flavors.
- Stilltahn Brahn – a 6.5% ABV Brown Ale with herbal, Earthy notes.
- Kulak – an 8% ABV Imperial Stout with notes of roasty smoke, toasted nut, and bitter chocolate; brewed with local Cascade and Zeus hops.
- Provision – 4.2% ABV Saison.
Other Hop Farm beers include Fresh Pot of Porter (a coffee porter) and Saison and the Currant (a bigger version of Provision with currant and black cherries). A Berliner Weisse and English Bitter will be coming in the future.
Hop Farm is the first brewery in Pittsburgh to can their beers. They began canning back in January. I picked up a six-pack of the One Nut Brown for only $11. All of the beers on tap were available for take home in growlers as well.
The brewery also has bourbon barrels, some of which will be used to age Little Kulak. They are looking to experiment with sour beers in the future. At the time of my visit in April, they had just barreled a Chocolate Cherry Stout with sour yeast.
The “Coming Soon” sign declared that only a few days after my visit Margot, an Imperial Berliner Weisse, would be released in 22 ounce bottles. Sigh… I guess I’ll just have to go back!