When I managed to drag myself away from the myriad delights of the food and drink festival yesterday and turned up at The Star, I was pleased to find a new Mallinsons beer on the bar there, and what a pleasure it was !
The 21st of their single hopped beers was brewed with Saaz hops, and on tasting it I found it one of their best efforts yet. Their website described the beer as 'pale gold with a fruity nose and a lightly bitter fruity taste and a medium bitter finish'. But this does not do it justice. It is a wonderfully crafted beer, the malt balance is perfect, allowing the subtlety of the hop to shine. Maybe it is not a beer for the hop monster as it does not have the hop character one finds in beers brewed with Citra or Nelson Sauvin. But if you like your beers less aggressive and more rounded then this could be the beer for you. Several people who find Mallinsons beers a little too hoppy for their liking were more than impressed by it.
Saaz hops are rarely found in English beers. It is one of the 'noble' range of hops, and although some come from the USA, mostly it is grown in the Czech Republic - indeed its name is German for the Czech city of Zatec. Most of the hop production goes in brewing pilsners due to it having a very low alpha acid content and therefore is not considered a bittering hop, bringing a herbal and grassy aroma and flavour to the beer. The American version does have a higher alpha acid content, and presumably more bitterness, but the one used by Mallinsons is the Czech variety.
Other breweries have used the hop as well, Pictish brew a single hopped 4.1% version for example, but this version is the best I have come across.
So, if you see it, give it a go. I cannot say it will be definitely to your taste, but it certainly hit the spot with me. I am just waiting till opening time to try it again, and again etc etc !