There’s nothing quite like chowing down on a $1 bahn mi, and sipping on a dirt-cheap Saigon Lager at one of Ho Chi Minh’s many authentic little street vendors. It’s just that sometimes the feather-light Saigon Lager doesn’t quite hit the spot for hop enthusiasts. Enter the booming Vietnamese craft beer scene.[related_articles]4426,71531,57143[/related_articles]
When you’re chasing down a frothy that’s a little more robust, there’s no shortage of cool breweries to hit up in the city. From pale ales and IPA’s, to dragontfruit goses and cucumber and chilli pilsners, these four Ho Chi Minh-based breweries have some of the best on offer.
Pasteur Street Brewing
Half the fun of this brewery is the mini-mission you have to go on to find it. Hidden down an unassuming alley in Ho Chi Minh’s uber cool district 1, the original Pasteur Street Brewing will only be found by curious tourists (or ones with roaming data).
There are actually two Pasteur Street Brewery’s down the lane – the original, and another two-storey taproom with a rooftop terrace. If you can handle Ho Chi Minh’s humidity and afternoon thunderstorms, the rooftop (with ice cold pint in hand) is the place to be.
Pasteur Street Brewing is headed up by an ex-Upslope Brewing (USA) brewer, and it shows. Fill up on one of their five year-round beers – a jasmine IPA, passionfruit wheat ale, imperial chocolate stout, Saigon saison, or coffee porter – or check out what interesting seasonals they’ve got on tap. If the spice island IPA, or the hot pink dragonfruit gose doesn’t pique your interest, we don’t know what will.
144 Pasteur Street, District 1
BiaCraft Artisan Ales
No, it isn’t déjà vu. There are five BiaCraft locations around the city, making it one of Ho Chi Minh City’s biggest and most loved craft beer haunts.
BiaCraft aren’t pulling the other one when they say they’ve got the most extensive selection of frothies in Vietnam. There’s an insane number of beers on tap here – around 60 – including some of the smaller Ho Chi Minh brews that don’t normally get tap time. It’s the true definition of a hop lover’s haven.[related_articles]54637,56238[/related_articles]
With so much choice, it can be hard to know where to start. A good way to kick off your beer journey is with one of BiaCraft’s own creations. They have six core brews, including three ales and two IPAs, as well as a wicked selection of seasonal beers. If you’ve never had a jasmine IPA, Oreo cream stout or a watermelon monsoon ale, now’s your chance!
Make sure you go to BiaCraft thirsty, because you won’t leave without at least a few pints in you. It’s inevitable you’ll down a few when pints start from just 80,000₫ (AUD$5.00), and towers from 400,000₫ (AUD$25.00).
110 Nam Kỳ Khởi Nghĩa, P.Bến Nghé, Q1
LAC Brewing Co
LAC Brewing Co is one for minimalists. The clean cut, Scandinavian-Japanese style brewhouse is decked out in floor-to-ceiling concrete, with not much else besides some tables and chairs. The three-level space is pretty bare, but it really, really works. And it’s the beer you came here for anyway.
If you like IPA’s, you’re in for a treat. The Devil’s Lake IPA and Session IPA are well worth a pint or two; but if you can get your hands on one of the mango IPAs, you won’t regret it.
The head brewer hails from Oregon, so expect lots of big, American style beers on tap too.
172 Lý Tự Trọng, Phường Bến Thành, Quận 1, Hồ Chí Minh
Heart of Darkness
The name doesn’t exactly paint a picture of botanical beers and floral hops, but Heart of Darkness’ beers aren’t all black and stank. From bright, happy, and golden, to dark and boozy (we’re looking at you and your 13 per cent, Merciless Phantom), this brewery does it all.
In fact, they’ve no less than 11 flagship beers under their belt. Pilsners, porters, and IPAs… they do it all. They even toy with Belgian tripels, a cucumber and chilli pilsner, and a black gose.[related_articles]9779,23907[/related_articles]
Head into Heart of Darkness’ district 1 brewhouse to escape the heat, and work your way through their beer inventory, one pint at a time.
31D Ly Tu Trong, Ben Nghe Ward, District 1, HCMC[qantas_widget code=SGN]Check out Qantas flights to Ho Chi Minh City to start the ultimate craft beer trail.[/qantas_widget]
(Lead image: Pasteur Street Brewing / Facebook)