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.....when you have hops?

It will not have escaped the football follower that both Poland and the Czech Republic have both 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' hops. 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.

May be 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 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 used a combination of hops 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 !)