Tasting Notes: Super Cluster from Lagunitas Brewing Company

Both photos above are the property of Mashing In/Guillermo Woolfolk

For this edition of Tasting Notes, we start the week with a Citra-saturated siesta made possible by a pour of Super Cluster from Lagunitas Brewing Company (Petaluma, California).

Described as a “galactic blast from the glass”, Super Cluster is an “out-of-this-world” Pale Ale brewed with “2-Row Malted Barley, a helluva lotta hops – Citra, Citra, Citra, and some more Citra, . . . and . . . dry-hopped . . . with 100% Citra.” Clocking in at 8% ABV and 60 IBUs, Super Cluster promises to be a “Citra supernova in the sky, jettisoning lupulin lusciousness through the cosmos and across the universe of your palate.”

Super Cluster is out now and will be available through September.  You can expect to find this Limited Release available in 12-packs of 12 oz. bottles and on draft at select beer-focused retailers, bars and restaurants located in Alabama, Florida, California, Illinois, Washington and throughout the rest of Lagunitas Brewing Company’s distribution area.

Now that we have gone over the necessary background information, let’s bear witness to the Super Cluster by giving it the Tasting Notes treatment!

Tasting Notes for Super Cluster from Lagunitas Brewing Company

Appearance:  Super Cluster presents itself as an orange-tinted, deep golden colored brew that has right at a finger of luscious, bright white foam sitting on top.  Held to direct light, the color holds while taking on a bit of a glow.  The beer is pristine in clarity and displays a highly active carbonation level coursing within.  Retention is good, but the lacing has a tough time taking hold due to how slick the beer is on the glass.

Aroma:  Sticky, tropical hop goodness just billows from the glass as big waves of grapefruit collide with passionfruit and musky lychee.  Lemon and lime add some brightness to the hops while a bit of mango imparts a rounding touch of sweetness that helps point out the modest malt presence.  The profile closes with a dank hop character that is both resiny and floral.

Taste:  As expected, this beauty is all Citra hops . . . but they kind of creep up on you by opening oh-so softly with sweet tones of melon, lychee and mango.  That reserved introduction proves to be short-lived as sharp notes of grapefruit zest, pith and juice lash out and grab hold of the taste buds.  The citrus presence builds from there with a twist of lime and what can only be described as the sensation of chewing on the peel of a clementine.  To properly put the Lagunitas stamp on the experience, it closes with a super green, uber dank hop quality.

Mouthfeel:  Medium in body with a medium carbonation level, Super Cluster is sticky on the palate, allowing its drinker to fully experience those Citra hop oils.  Mostly bitter with a finessed touch of sweetness for balance, this beer actually dries out pretty quickly – semi-dry overall – and entices you to take sip after sip.  That 8% ABV is stealthy, but a building warmth in the throat eventually forces you to throttle down from gulp to sip mode.  The aftertaste is all grapefruit.

Final Thoughts:  You want Citra hops in all their tropical, citrusy glory? Well, that is exactly what Super Cluster delivers.  If you could not already recognize the presence of Citra hops in other beers, spend a little time with this offering and you definitely will moving forward because it is so Citra-centric that it will ingrain that hop profile into your sensory memory.  Despite coming across as hoppy AF, this monster somehow steers clear of becoming overwhelming or a chore to drink.  Super Cluster remains incredibly enjoyable and easy-drinking . . . so much so there is no wondering why Lagunitas only packaged this Limited Release in 12-packs.   It is truly one of the most proper Citra fixes you can get right now, and those 12 bottles will be gone in no time.  If you have a love for hops, you need this beer in your fridge.  Go get you some. Prost!