Lucky Lab Fresh "Mutt" Hop Harvest: Biggest Yet
The Lucky Labrador is the kind of place where beer lovers and friends alike congregate in a true public house atmosphere. Boldly hoppy beers adorn the vast selection. With three locations each with unique wide-open gathering halls, the Lab is perhaps the of friendliest down home pubs in Portland. On September 17, 2008, a group of Lab Lovers along with staff joined in an annual ritual of picking hops for the autumn Mutt Hop Brew. I showed up at the Hawthorne location about 1:45PM to find brewer Ben Flerchinger and about ten others picking away. They had been picking several varietals of vine ripened hops since noon in the back beer garden. With warm and muggy air, the crop was at its peek. Hops growing out back of the Lab and from the NW Quimby location were being harvested right before my eyes. The smell was wonderful, and the mood was that of community and friendship. Not only were the hops from the Lucky Lab being used, but Lab Lovers were bringing in their own supplies in attempts to make 2008’s harvest the biggest yet. According to Flerchinger, 2007’s Mutt Hop event yielded 73 pounds of sticky lupulin-laden fruit.
By 3:45PM, a new record was in place. By this time about 15 folks were picking away. Despite itchy arms (from little humulus lupulus prickers on the vine) for those who didn’t come equipped with long sleeve shirts, the mood was festive, and the duty at hand appeared to be a backdrop to the conversation. The BBQ was fired up and several delicious Lucky Lab brews were offered to the pickers. By 5:45PM over 125 pounds of hops were harvested, nearly doubling the previous record. According to Flerchinger “(The community picking) became an event with people coming six years ago or so.” Once again, beer has done its job in bringing people together. Keep an eye out for the Mutt Hop beer, being brewed as I type this. According to the brewers at the Lab, the base beer for it will be either a pale ale or a bitter. I can’t wait!