Hop Trek Part 2: Saaz

I am met in the Czech Republic by Richard Mattas, Managing Director of Czech Hops Worldwide, the HopUnion affiliate there. As he whisks me off toward the hop region, we first stop at Plzen, about an hour south of Prague. At the Pilsener Urquel brewery we quickly ditch the tour and duck into the brewhouse. There’s a cart near the kettles holding a can of tarry hop extract and a bag of sharp-smelling pellets next to the more traditional Saaz aroma hops.