(Image: RitaE; welcome to Hops on Lots Pittsburgh)
When the Smithsonian shone the spotlight onto an innovative idea for breathing new life into Rust Belt cities, it found that there were around 27,000 abandoned properties in Pittsburgh alone. That’s a lot of space, but one local man stumbled on a brilliant way to repurpose these abandoned lots while giving others the chance to bring about something truly local.
Pete Bell started Hops on Lots Pittsburgh with his friend, Joe Chmielewski. Bell said that he’d been talking to a coworker who had always brewed his own beer, when he came upon the idea of growing his own hops. And since hops can grow tall, the duo knew that they would need some space.
Fortunately, the old steel town of Pittsburgh has plenty of that, and it wasn’t long before Bell and Chmielewski were put in touch with a group called the Stanton Height Community Association. They wanted to do something to make a nearby retaining wall less of an eyesore, which is where the prospective hop growers stepped in. One trellis was established and the second went in at the Hazelwood YMCA.
Hops on Lots Pittsburgh was on its way to not only revitalising parts of the city, but creating something extra-special as well. Pittsburgh is known for its craft brewing scene, and once their hops are harvested, HOLP plans to partner with craft breweries in an effort to help them create a truly local range of beers. Find out more here.