Hop Hill Brewing Company to open in Bethlehem this weekend

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Hop Hill Brewing Company, a ~1200 square foot brewery nestled in a former storage garage, is set to open this weekend after a year-long build out to transform the building into a functioning brewery and bar. We stopped by recently to check the spot out prior to their official unveiling and chatted with Christopher Kresge, the head brewer and COO.

Accented by a massive 17 foot wide Mark Kostabi painting, the brewery has 10 seats along the bar with additional seats at three tables and benches that fold out into picnic tables for the summertime.  A large garage door on the front of the brewery will allow for an airy opening in the warmer months.  Two TVs allow for sports viewing and a popcorn machine sits enticingly in the corner.  Working on a five barrel system, Kresge, and his partner Gregory Smith, are currently producing 3 barrel batches and have an 800 gallon fermenting capacity.

Smith and Kresge, both co-owners of the brewery along with three other silent partners, are both have separate full-time jobs outside of the brewery.  The idea for the brewery came about with Kresge, looking to open a small 1 barrel establishment after homebrewing for nearly a decade, posted an advertisement on brewing industry site ProBrewer looking for a business partner.  Smith responded, noting that he was looking to do something similar, and two years later they’re set to open.  Both share brewing duties, and Kresge said they “collaborate on everything.”

Currently on tap are four flagships: a 7% “House IPA”, Mountain Hawk, a 5.5% brown ale, Morning Blonde, a 5.75% blonde ale aged on coffee, and Drinking Games, an easy-going 4.75% cream ale.  Also on tap were a honey porter, “Ryes of Apollo,” a rye IPA brewed exclusively with Apollo hops, and a cider aged on mixed berries.  Flights are available, which four samplers per flight, and most beers are poured in 14oz glasses, with the higher octane offerings in a 10oz glass.  While canning or bottling isn’t in their near future, Hop Hill will be kegging for distribution at select bars in the area and beer will be available to go in 64oz growlers.

Kresge said he hopes to experiment in the future, with a hazy Northeast-style IPA called Sippin’ Safari utilizing the popular Mosaic, Citra, and Azacca hops, a blood orange variant of the same beer, and eventually more complex styles like barrel aged beers and sours.  They are also releasing a Thin Mint inspired mint chocolate milk stout this weekend as a taste of things to come.  Also available will be a selection of Tolino wines and batch cocktails, with this weekend’s featured concoction being a boozy basil honey lemonade.

Food-wise the brewery will have soft pretzels from Hellertown bakery, the aforementioned popcorn machine, and are looking into having food trucks and partnering with a local pizzeria for a quick delivery menu.

Hop Hill Brewing officially opens this Saturday, February 25th at 1pm and is located at 1988 Blair Ave (formerly Friebley Ave) in Lower Saucon Township in Bethlehem.  Going forward they will be open Friday from 5pm to 10pm, Saturday from 12pm to 10pm, and Sunday from 12pm to 4pm.

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