Sunday, June 17, 2012

Who needs the European Championship....

.....when you have hops?

It will not have escaped the football follower that both Poland and the Czech Republic have bowed out of the European championships at an early stage, however the ardent hop follower will have seen both countries make a considerable leap forward this year in the varieties that they are producing. And true to a football theme (not!) two more new single hopped variety beers graced the bar at the Star yesterday.

We have been aware of the Czech 'Saaz' hop for some time, used mainly in lager style beers but I have never encountered 'Premiant' before. It is a Saaz style hop, higher in alpha acid and therefore more bitter than Saaz but gives a clean, fresh taste to beer reminiscent of lager. The version I tried was from Pictish and 4.2%. Well worth hunting down and sampling.

Next to it on the bar was Glenworth 'Junga Rock' a 4.3% beer, again single hopped, this time with Polish 'Junga'. Primarily a bittering hop, from a combination of Northern Brewer and Marynka, it imparts a unique flavour to the beer. Not as bitter as I would have expected from a hop with 13% alpha acid content and again fresh tasting, it is another winner.

Maybe the central European hops do not have the universal appeal to the 'hop monster' that some of the American or Southern hemisphere ones have but the one's I have come across certainly make for some interesting beers. They do tend to be more subtle and possibly more suited to single hopped beers where their character and flavours come through than being used as a combination in a beer. I am certainly impressed with what Central Europe has to offer on the hop front. Who cares if they are not too cracky at football, their hops are a winner. 

(PS - for the hop nerds amongst us, the picture is a Maryka hop!)


Curmudgeon said...

Umm, the Czech Republic beat Poland last night to progress to the quarter-finals.

Timbo said...

Maybe the enjoyment of the hops clouded my vision of the games ! Apologies to any Czech Republic readers.

Anonymous said...

Saaz hops can give a marvellous taste when used by a talented brewer in the right beer... I wish I hadn't started this paragraph because now I wish I were back in Prague supping unfiltered Kout na Šumave beers.

At least we don't have to travel so far to enjoy the fine single hop Saaz brew from Mallinsons.

For me most of the British cask ales that purport to be 'lager' or 'pilsner' are very disappointing. However Glentworth Junga Rock (which makes no such claim) really does remind you of a freshly hopped beer from central Europe.

As for the football, why not raise a glass to the Czech team, whose against the odds qualification for the quarter finals must be all the sweeter for being at the expense of Russia.

Tim the younger