Podcast Episode 301: Zdeněk Rosa of Bohemia Hop Is Bullish on the Future of Czech Hops

One of the world’s most cherished hop-growing regions had a rough growing season last year—but there are plenty of reasons to be optimistic, and there is more to Czech hops than Saaz.

Jamie Bogner Apr 29, 2023 - 7 min read

Podcast Episode 301: Zdeněk Rosa of Bohemia Hop Is Bullish on the Future of Czech Hops Primary Image

Photo: Joe Stange

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When brewers think of Czech hops, they naturally think of Saaz, whose delicate and ethereal character is nearly synonymous with lager itself. Yet while craft brewers around the world have developed an obsession with punchy New World hops and the character of specific varieties, they often know relatively little about the hops from this region that’s been growing them for more than a millennium.

In this episode, we sit down in Žatec—the home of Saaz—with Zdeněk Rosa, chairman of Bohemia Hop, the collective of all Bohemian hop growers. Here, Rosa digs into:

  • the promising overall trajectory of Saaz growth in recent years, despite the disastrous harvest of 2022
  • how agronomy and growing operations differ in Bohemia compared to the Pacific Northwest
  • the unlikely specifics of how weather impacted the 2022 harvest
  • the development of other varieties that offer similar character to Saaz but with better yield and sustainability
  • newer, more expressive Czech aroma varieties such as Saaz Shine and Saaz Comfort, which offer enticing possibilities for lager and other kinds of beer
  • leaning into a Czech take on cold IPA using more characterful Czech aroma hops

And more.

This episode is brought to you by:

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Jamie Bogner is the Cofounder and Editorial Director of Craft Beer & Brewing Magazine®. Email him at [email protected].