This year, we are very happy to be brewing out Clusterf#ck Single Hop IPA again this year. I’ve always been a big fan of this old school hop variety. Cluster hops dropped off the radar of brewers many years ago when the sexy new, more potent hops came into the picture. Frustrating for sure, for the Cluster variety, sitting patiently at the bar, while all the boys talk to the young red head that pops in the door.
Back in the day, brewers and growers would speak of early cluster, mid cluster, late cluster varieties. If you were drinking beer in the 50’s- 60’s from any brewer, they likely had cluster hops in them, although in limited amounts. They were the big player through the 20th century.
While performing hop selection in 2009, (the trip we take annually to the growers to select the hop varieties and fields for the coming year) I asked to rub some clusters to see what they might be like. I was delighted by the aroma and wondered what they would be like in an IPA as a more prominent signature of their earlier use. I got a chance during the hop crisis where the typical IPA hops were in limited varieties, so we built this IPA around clusters as an experiment, draft only beer for our pub. Excited by the subtle, yet aggressive character of these clusters, we made a little more each year. Last June we decided to send it into the market and bottle the Clusterf#ck. Our 2014 batch had minor changes to the recipe that I think you’ll enjoy. The beer is tasting very nice, hope you enjoy.