Written by: Jaii Fredregill
Destination: Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Visited: October 2018
The love of beer in Vietnam did not begin with craft beer, but it has indeed been intensified during the past decade by the number of microbreweries that have popped up on its soil. With western brewing methods becoming commonplace, the craft beer craze has exploded in cities like Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, making Vietnam one of the top consumers of beer per capita in Southeast Asia.
Other factors have helped promote the popularity of beer here, of course. The appreciation of cold beer in hot weather for one. Vietnam’s tropical climate, youthful population (the median age was 30.4 years as of 2017), and successful push to increase tourism throughout the country have all played a part in boosting appreciation and sales of the delicious beer being brewed here in Southeast Asia’s newest hot spot.
Try the King's flight of 10 beers at East West. You won't win a t-shirt if you finish it, but you might make some friends.
East West Brewing Co.
181 - 185 Lý Tự Trọng, Phường Bến Thành, Quận 1, Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam
Industrial design and in-house brewing give a nice nod to American breweries at East West, where local ingredients are incorporated into western-style craft beer striking a balance between these two sides of the globe. Creative, unexpected flavors make exploration of seasonal beers far more adventurous and standard pours are kept exciting with such shenanigans as sweetening the Modern Belgian Dark with đường thốt nốt (Vietnamese Palm Sugar).
Fun for dinner and late night beer cocktails. Try the Saigon Rosé for a break from the heat. At 3% ABV, this delicious concoction is also perfect for day drinking.
Motorcycle by French-Vietnamese artist Trang Suby is just some of the artwork on display at Belgo.
Belgo Belgian Craft Brewery
159A Đường Nguyễn Văn Thủ, Đa Kao, Quận 1, Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam
Real Belgians are brewing real Belgian beer at Belgo. Like Vietnam, Belgium has a deep appreciation for beer. This what led owners Gauthier and Francois to set up shop right in the heart of Saigon's bustling District 1.
Unsure of how Belgian style brewing would go over in Vietnam, Belgo first introduced an amber, blonde, and wheat. Saigon's audacious drinkers quickly embraced these classics along with the brewery's Triple Trappist, Saison, Black Trappist. Visit Belgo's taproom for good times, delicious food and excellent beer. Live Jazz starts at 8 pm every Saturday night.
Pasteur Street taproom 2 is located just down the alley, to the right and up the stairs at 144/3 Pasteur Street, District 1, HCMC
Pasteur Street Brewing
144 Pasteur, Bến Nghé, Quận 1, Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam
Opening their doors in 2015, Pasteur Street is an OG among brewers in Vietnam, and though that was not so long ago, the brewery's Jasmine IPA is already one of the most popular IPAs in Vietnam, and their Cyclo Stout earned them a Gold World Beer Cup award in 2016.
Pasteur has also managed to open three taprooms in HCM, and one in Hanoi. Head brewer Alex Violette uses some of the finest ingredients found in Vietnam, including cacao, cinnamon, and vanilla to develop some unexpected and unique flavors that meld well with the classics we all know and love. Pasteur Street beer is currently available in select markets in the U.S. as well as in Vietnam, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Malaysia.
Heart of Darkness, collect them all.
Heart of Darkness Craft Brewery
31D Lý Tự Trọng, Bến Nghé, Quận 1, Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam
Heart of Darkness opened their doors in 2016 and have not looked back since. In just two short years they are already distributing throughout Vietnam and many parts of Asia. Pushing creative boundaries to produce what is already a long list of distinct beers that are consistently pleasurable to drink.
This cozy chilled out brewery is a great place to sample a flight or enjoy a few pints with friends. Two notable limited editions currently available on tap include Creatures of Darkness Asian Wit, the brewery's latest collaboration with Australian brewer Little Creatures, and the Hot and Cold Chili/Cucumber Pilsner, which is as playful as Pop Rocks. Heart of Darkness is not fucking around. This is good beer.
BiaCraft, 1 Lê Ngô Cát, Phường 7, Quận 3, Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam. Fun for boys and girls.
BiaCraft Artisan Ales
BiaCraft prides itself on having, "The most extensive collection of craft beers in Vietnam." In addition to brewing their own beer, the brewery offers a large selection of craft beer from Vietnam, other parts of Asia and anywhere excellent brewing is taking place. If you can only go to one place to sample Saigon's craft beer BiaCraft is a great option.
Armed with knowledge, now be on your way to drink and explore lively Ho Chi Minh City.