Ale and other new beers in Vietnam 2014

There are so many microbreweries making Czech and German styled beer but no ale so far. Until now when ale finally made its entrance here in Vietnam.

Ale in Vietnam

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The first brewery that made an ale was Luoisiane Brewhouse in Nha Trang that has four beers on tap whereof a seasonal ale. The ale is a bit lighter than regular international ales. Another brewery in Nha Trang with several self produced beers on tap was Beerfest-vn that opened in 2014 with five beers on tap. There are also several ongoing projects with craft breweries that hopefully open soon.

microbrewery Nha Trang

The first producer of international styled ale

Platinum beer has been brewing for a while but have only been exported to Australia until a few months ago when they started to distribute it in Ho Chi Minh City. The name is Platinum pale ale. You can’t drink the beer at the brewery, like in all local microbreweries but you can have it at a handful of places in Ho Chi Minh City. One of the places is Quan Ut Ut that also have really nice home made burgers and sausages served together with Platinum ale.

Platinum pale ale in Vietnam

ale in Vietnam

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Platinum pale ale is also sold in many Beer clubs in Ho Chi Minh City. Beer clubs is also a new phenomenon in Vietnam that deserves to be mentioned. Beer club is a quite wide concept and can be small or big, some are more like night clubs and some more like beer shops. Some beer clubs have up to five beers on tap while the smaller normally have at least two and a good selection of Belgian beers on bottle. The numbers has increased significant since the end of 2013 and will be the third option for beer consumers after bia hop and microbreweries.

News from the local microbrewery scene                                                                Goldmalt and Hoa Vien Brauhaus opened up new places in Ho Chi Minh City.

Microbrewery Saigon

Goldmalt also opened up three breweries in Hanoi and several new was added to the brewery map over Vietnam. Among the new ones on the map are Golden Lion in Quang Binh, Big Man beer in Da Lat and Hai Phong.

Czech styled brewery Vietnam

 

 

 

 

 

Another craft brewery on the way to open in Vietnam

One project is the people behind Upslope Brewing Company in US Colorado that will open Pasteur Street Brewing Company in Ho Chi Minh City together with a local expat and beer enthusiast.

Don’t forget that there also is a growing community of home brewers in Vietnam that are brewing ale and many other beer styles. The oldest group is Vietnam Hobby brewers Saigon but there are also a few in Hanoi that make beer on more or less a weekly basis. If you are interested to make your own beer, visit the beer forum in Vietnam.

This year is great for us beer enthusiasts and there is no doubt that 2014 is the year when the beer scene in Vietnam took a big step towards the future.

 

 

 

 

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Da Lat and beer?

Story and pictures by guest writer Mark Chambers who lives in Central Highlands of Vietnam. He reports from Da Lat, Nha Trang and Mui Ne.

Despite only a population of about 200,000 there is a very small but popular microbrew bar in the Central Highlands town of Dalat. 

Its not easy to find though and you’d probably want to get a taxi and keep your eyes peeled.  From the V Cafe or Sinh Tourist office, head north on Bùi Thị Xuân till you read the roundabout near the University.  Head north on Phù Đổng Thiên Vương and after about a kilometre you’ll go past a petrol station on the right.  Keep looking to the right and you should see the bar.  If you see an Agribank, turn around you’ve gone too far.

Here’s an accurate map.

German beer Da Lat

The benefit of being hard to find means that a) you know its only locals inside and b) you have an excuse to stay longer, just in case you don’t make it another time.  It seems to open early afternoon and stay open late (which means after 10pm in Dalat). They sit 40-50 people and its often hard to get a table about 7-8pm.

Da Lat beer

Big Man beer Da Lat

They serve two beers – a gold (vàng) and a dark(đen) – which can be bought in 0.3l or 0.5l.  Its all cheap and way better than a tin of 333.  This is probably the lowest price ever in a Big Man Beer, lower than the price of Bia Hoi. There’s a large food menu, in Vietnamese, though a couple of the staff speak enough English that you can order basic dishes.  A dictionary on your smartphone helps too.

Da Lat beer

My vague and unreliable tasting notes:

The Gold was cold but should probably have been colder.  Not a strong aroma but a hint of citrus can be detected.  It tastes like a lager (which is never my drink of choice), sweetish and floral and isn’t overly bubbly.  I could probably drink a few on a hot day.
The dark was warmer and less gassy but thats not a bad thing. It smells a bit like a bonfire.   It has a stronger flavour than the gold but manages to taste watery.  A bit like a basic homebrew beer.  Its best described as a dark malty lager.

We also ordered prawns in beer which came raw, over a flame and we watched it cook on the table. It was yummy and a bargain for 75,000.  They have a huge menu, broken down into food types, and all pretty good value.  Hot pots were 130,000d.

Da Lat beer and food

The beer is brewed in Ho Chi Minh and shipped up here so not a brewery bar but still, its nice to see draught beer and the fact its busy every time I walk past shows the locals think so too. Big Man beer is brewed in both Saigon and in Vinh Phuc province in northern Vietnam.

Mark Chambers, Da Lat. Beervn.com’s guest writer from Central Highlands

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A visit to the first microbrewery in Ninh Binh

vissai-brewery-1

The first microbrewery in Ninh Binh

(This is the first of a serie of articles written for http://www.citypassguide.com)

Visitors come here to see the “Halong Bay on land” and the ancient capital of Hoa Lu. We went here to visit the local microbrewery, Vissai. After 2 hours driving from Hanoi, we entered the small, sleepy city of Ninh Binh surrounded by the beautiful limestone karsts for which the area is known. Story by Jonathan Gharbi for Citypassguide.com Read the full story here.

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All about Vietnams beer culture

The Hidden Treasures of Vietnam

(written by Jonathan Gharbi for the travel site http://www.smilingalbino.com)

Goldmalt beer
Vietnam is a popular destination for many adventurous tourists to enjoy street food, pagodas and beautiful landscapes. One other distinct experience is the Bia Hoi beer which predominantly can be found along the narrow streets of Hanoi. Bia Hoi is a fast produced and light beer made of rice, malt and sugar, often served more or less directly at the street.  Bia Hoi is not just the beer itself, it’s also a social concept and experience which includes beer and food, consumed by all social groups under simple circumstances. It’s a tradition that many deals and contracts are sealed during long dinners with food and plenty of beer….

Read the full article here: http://www.smilingalbino.com/planetasiatravelchannel/2014/07/bia-hoi-all-about-vietnam-beer-culture/

 

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Czech styled microbrewery in Dong Hoi

Czech styled beer

There are today 46 known microbreweries in Vietnam. Number 46 is Golden Lion, a Czech styled brewery in Quang Binh province in central Vietnam. The brewery is easy to find in the provincial capital and situated at Nguyen Huu Canh street in Dong Hoi city. They serve two Czech styled beers on tap, one blond and one black. The province is known for beautiful beaches and now also for its local microbrewery!

Microbrewery nr 46 in Vietnam! 

Beer cnetral Vietnam

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Beer tasting at Louisiane Brewhouse in Nha Trang

Story and pictures by guest writer Mark Chambers who lives in Central Highlands of Vietnam. He reports from Da Lat, Nha Trang and Mui Ne.

P1040083

Beer tasting at Luisiane Brewhouse, Nha Trang                                                              I just had a weekend trip down to Nha Trang (from Dalat) and my top priority was to check out the microbreweries there. I was very excited to see the large menu of beers in Louisiane.  It has an excellent location right on the beach in the middle of tourist town which is handy but means its expensive.  Hence I only tried the beer and not the food. Beers on offer were the Pilsner, Dark Lager, Witbier and Special (Summer Ale), all costing 40,000 for a 330ml glass.

Nha Trang

They had various sizes all the way up to 5 litre ‘kegs’ complete with tap.  It seemed that the dark lager is favoured by the fairer sex – I only saw women drinking it.  The crowd was mostly Vietnamese families making an evening of it so we sat at the bar and had a tasting tray.  They had a nice looking pool in the middle of the restaurant but it remained undisturbed the two times we visited.    I asked about the brewery tours they mention on the menu but they weren’t running as Sean the brewer was back in his native Australia.  They did offer to show me around the next morning but we had plans to sit on a deck chair all day.

Heres my very basic tasting notes:

Pils –  Hoppy.  Dry. Flavour overload after a month of 333.  Loved it

Wit – Not cloudy at all.  Citrusy. Flowerery and fresh tasting.  Good in the heat.  Not sure I want a pint of it but Wheat is not my normal drink.

Special (Summer) – More hoppy than expected.  A little sweetness on after-taste.  Not as fruity or spicy as expecting but maybe I’m tainted by drinking a very spicy/fruity Summer Ale back in New Zealand.  Not my favourite,  but my girlfriend had 2 glasses of it.

Dark – Roast, Malty,  Coffee.  Might be my favourite if I wasn’t sweating so much.

All in all I loved the place and had another glass of the Pils the next day.

nha trangLouisiana brewhouse Nha Trang

 

 

 

Afterward I wanted to go to the Beerfest brewery but its made in the Maritime hotel which is a few kilometers south and I didn’t feel up to driving but had heard it was available at the E-Land Four Seasons restaurant, on the seafront road, just north of the Lotus monument.  We headed there and it was now about 8 pm and there was a dreadful cabaret going on. The focus was definitely on entertainment rather than beer.

Tasting the beers from Beerfest brewery

The beer list was simply stated as: Lager/Red/Green/Black/Yellow as you can see below. I had a Red which I assume was a red ale.  It could have been nice but I was so overwhelmed by the loud music I couldn’t focus.  My girlfriend had a Yellow which was a wheat beer and not bad but again, spoiled by the atmosphere.

Nha Trang

We left after one beer and so I can’t comment on the others.  I did notice another sign for the Beerfest beers in a bar in Biet Thu street but didn’t go in.  It was just to the right of Perfume Grass Inn at number 4. A full story from beerfest brewery will come soon from another correspondent who visited beerfest recently. More in next article.

 Mark Chambers, Nha Trang. Beervn.com’s guest writer from Central Highlands

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Brewery map Vietnam

There are 45 microbreweries in Vietnam,  discover them. Print out this map and start immediately.

brewery map vietnam

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Home brewing in Vietnam

There are a hopeless group of beer enthusiasts in Vietnam who doesn’t drink industrial beer or satisfy themselves with a visit in one of the 40 local microbreweries that we have in Vietnam. People who just have to make it complicated by mixing several kinds of malt and hops with other ingredients to make real hand crafted beer.

Belgian styled beer on keg

 

 Belgian saison on tap

Above:  Charlie, Ludo and Jonathan from Hanoi home brewers are tasting some hand crafted Belgian saison based on pilsner malt and some hand roasted malt, premiant hops (Czech) together with orange peel and hibiscus. 

Can you have a proper IPA in Vietnam?

Yes, only if you are a active member in the brewing clubs in Saigon and Hanoi. But their activity is increasing and since the demand for other beers than lager styled beers are high, its just a matter of months before we all can go somewhere and have a proper IPA or a tasty belgian styled beer on tap. This summer, happiness was spread to a bigger crowd than a few beer enthusiasts on a small roof top. Two kinds of ale was delivered on keg and served to an enthusiastic crowd at the Swedish embassy in Hanoi.

beer at swedish embassy

hanoi home brewers

Above: Charlie delivered 40 liter IPA on tap for the national day event at the Swedish embassy, 6 June this summer which was very appreciated. Goldmalt was also delivering their Czech styled black and blond beer on tap, so it was like a small beer festival this evening.

Hobby brewers Vietnam Saigon                                                                                                A group of brewers that frequently make beer together since 2008, the oldest brew club in Vietnam. Visit their webpage: http://hobbybrewer-vietnam.de.tl

craft beer Vietnam

They have a lot of experience when it comes to both brewing and distilling. They do also many other things, above are some bottles with hand crafted whiskey. They rotate their meetings between one of the local microbreweries in Saigon and do also have the latest updates on the local beer scene. They have attended at a number of events and exhibitions in Saigon and experiment with a big variety of malt and hops. You can buy most things here in Vietnam and there are a couple of importers of malt and hops.

saigon home brewers

hand crafted beer Vietnam

 

 

 

 

     

Above: Fermentation barrels and hand crafted beer served from a bottle.

Hanoi Home Brewers                                                                                                                  Started up a few months ago and have hade weekly brews the whole summer.  A few years ago we had the Hanoi brewers guild active in Hanoi but since they ended their activities, there was a few years without any home brewing club in Hanoi.  Hanoi home brewers meet every week and make a new batch of beer, from Belgian styled beers, to different ales and a few experimental beers too. Watch a video clip from the latest brewing session in June: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w6jo7aD7vAY

brewers Hanoi

Beer kegs

 

 

 

 

Above: a simple machine for malt roasting and some beer kegs and glass bottles.

hanoi home brewers

Hanoi home brewers

 

 

 

 

Above: malt waiting to be used. Mashing and boiling barrel. John and Ian making a experimental beer with orange peel, chili, hibiscus and cardamom.

Forum for home brewers and beer interested people                                                 There is a forum for all beer interested people and specially for home brewers in Vietnam. Here you can come in contact with others or get the latest info about beer and local breweries in Vietnam. Web: beervn.freeforums.net

Is there any craft brewery i can visit today?                                                                         There are about 40 local microbreweries in Vietnam that produce 2-3 kinds of beer, but none that experiment and try to find new recipes. There are a few entrepreneurs that have plans to open a craft brewery and offer several different styles and beers, in particular some IPA which can’t be found yet. There are plans and there are brewers. Some told me that they will open after this summer, i wish them all the best in their preparations and hope their (and mine) dreams will come through.

Ale in Vietnam?

home brewers Hanoi

 

 

 

 

 

Cheers to all home brewers and beer lovers in Vietnam!

 

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A different pub crawl in Hanoi

Do a different pubcrawl in Hanoi. Instead of running round in the Old Quarter, take a taxi to this area or local bus nr 50 from Tay Ho.

beer tour Hanoi

There are today 10 Goldmalt breweries in Hanoi and this one is quite new, 8 month old, situated in a very interesting area if you want to do a pub crawl. Trung Yen is full of small bia hoi places and you can also find some Saigon special on keg, which is SABECO:s answer to Bia hoi. Bia Hoi is made by HABECO which are dominating in the north of Vietnam. Like Bia Hoi Hanoi, this beer is also made of rice mixed with regular malt, contains a minimum of hops and has a very light taste and mouthfeel. Anyhow, that can be a good start of a pub crawl in this area, within 10 min walking disatnce you have also Mai Vien Brauhaus and Truc Vien, both making Czech styled beer.

Watch a video clip of this brewery, filmed from the motorbike! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6BOO4xxEoBA

Czech beer on tap Hanoi

There are english speaking staff and service is good. The black beer has strong notes of coffee, the result of a intense roasting and has a lighter body than in Goldmalt at 34 Tran Phu. The blond beer is also a bit lighter in its body and more of a tasty lager. The strenght is good in both beers which approximately is about 5 %.

Czech beer in Hanoi

Vietnamese art

The interior design is different from other goldmalts and instead of pictures from Czech Republic and Germany they have paintings with ethnic vietnamese motives. The address is: 12b Trung Yen 3, district Cau Giay, Hanoi

The menu is Vietnamese and they have also aquariums with fish waiting to be delievered upon request. As usual, the safe cards; honey grilled ribs, morning glory and french fries is a good combination with beer.

Ribs and black beer

 

Start with a lighter beer first…

Start first with a short visit at Hai San Gio Bien at 21 Nguyen Khang, a few hundred meters before Goldmalt Trung Yen. Order a minikeg with 2 liter of Saigon special biahoi, light taste, light body and with a white foam. Price is about 70 000 vnd for 2 liter. Here you can see Emil from Sweden and the Beerman having a proper tasting of this mini keg.

bia hoi from saigon

Walk a few hundred meters to Goldmalt Trung Yen and have a few beers. After that walk 5 minutes to Mai Vien Brauhaus at 145 Trung Hoa where two full bodied Czech styled beers are waiting to be tasted. Watch a Video clip of Mai vien Brauhaus: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RT310zPhSv0

Czech beer in Hanoi

If you still are thirsty. Walk along Trung Hoa street until the big crossing and 100 m to the right to enter Truc Vien that has interpreted the Czech beer style their way. They have also one black and one blond beer on tap. Address: 40 Tran Duy Hung, district Cau Giay, Hanoi Video clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=olALOc3NuPo

If you still are thirsty.. well there are 20 more breweries in Hanoi to visit.. find them all at http://beervn.com/microbrewerieshanoi/

 

 

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First visit at the new Goldmalt in Hanoi

Goldmalt opened up brewery nr 8 in Hanoi a few months ago, the first microbrewery on the Northern side of Red River. (english/vietnamese text)

This brewery is a few months old and situated in Long Bien district. After crossing the Red River you have another 7 km to go before you can pour beer into a thirsty throat.

 

Chuyến thăm đầu tiên đến chi nhánh GoldMalt mới tại Hà Nội 

Hãng bia Tiệp GoldMalt đã mở thêm nhà hàng GoldMalt thứ 8 tại Hà Nội. Đây là mô hình nhà nấu bia mini đầu tiên tại Long Biên- một khu vùng nằm phía bắc Sông Hồng.

Sau khi đi qua sông Hồng, bạn cần phải đi khoảng 7km nữa mới có thể được tưới bia vào cái cổ họng khát khô của bạn

 

Gold malt Hanoi

Staff are helpful and does their best to make your visit pleasant. As a foreigner you are always surprised of the number of staff that a restaurant can have. This evening there was about 15 other customers and number of serving staff was seven. The food came in quickly and the beer was delivered with a smile.

As in all other Goldmalt brewpubs you can find a rare collection of posters and pictures of motives from Europe.  You will find pictures of blond women serving or drinking beer in all Goldmalt breweries, as of today we have never seen a blond vietnamese serving the beer.

Ở đây nhân viên rất nhiệt tình và luôn làm những gì tốt nhất có thể để khiến cho bạn hài lòng. Là người ngoài, bạn chắc chắn sẽ ngạc nhiên bởi số lượng nhân viên của nhà hàng. Buổi chiều hôm nay, ngoài tôi và anh bạn đi cùng thì còn có 15 thực khách khác nữa, thế mà có tới 7 nhân viên phục vụ! Thức ăn được mang đến rất nhanh , còn bia thì luôn được phục vụ kèm theo những nụ cười thân thiện của nhân viên.

Có một điều rất đặc trưng của hầu hết những nhà hàng bia GoldMalt là tất cả những bức tranh được trang trí ở đây đều mang phong cách châu Âu, bạn có thể thấy bức tranh cô gái Tây, với mái tóc vàng hoe, trên tay là những cốc bia GoldMalt đã sẵn sàn để phục vụ khách. Nhưng chúng tôi không bao giờ thấy cô phục vụ tóc vàng nào mang bia cho chúng tôi tại GoldMalt ở Việt Nam cả!

gold malt hanoi

The food is good and both noodle dishes and their tasty ribs is recommended along with a few glases of beer. The safe card is to order french fries (don’t forget to ask for mayonaise), grilled ribs, stir fried noodles with vegtables and beef, morning glory and sausages. For a few hudred thousand Dong (15-20 USD) you will have several beers and plenty of food for two people.

Đồ ăn ở đây rất ngon, chúng tôi được gợi ý món mì sào và xườn nướng, cả hai đều được mang ra cùng với những cốc bia mát lạnh. Tất cả đều rất tuyệt! Chúng tôi gọi thêm một vài món như khoai tây chiên( đừng quên nhắc họ đem Mayonaise), rau muống xào và xúc xích. Chỉ với một vài trăm nghìn 2 người chúng tôi đã có bia và rất nhiều đồ ăn ngon để thưởng thức.

Goldmalt Hanoi

The prices on food are normal but the beer costs 29 000 vnd for a glas which is cheaper than in the other Goldmalts. Right now there is also some ongoing discount on beer so if you have the plan to drink every day, you might consider move in to one of the empty apartments that are available here. The blond beer is well structured and has notes of grapefruit and some bitternes from the sass hops. You get a malty and refreshing taste. The black beer has clear notes of coffe from the dark malt and is quite a good option if you want something to pair with the grilled ribs.

Giá đồ ăn ở đây thì bình thường, còn bia thì 29.000 đồng một cốc, rẻ hơn so với một số nhà hàng GoldMalt khác. Hiện nay đang có chương trình giảm giá bia thế nên, nếu bạn có ý định uống bia mỗi ngày, bạn có thể cân nhắc việc dọn đến ở gần đây. Bia vàng thì rất ngon có chút hương vị của bưởi và chút vị đăng nhẹ của hoa bia vùng Saaz. Bạn sẽ cảm nhận được hương mạch nha, và sự tươi mát trong từng giọt bia sóng sánh. Bia đen nhìn như café, được làm từ những hạt mạch đen và chắc chắn là 1 lựa chọn đúng đắn nếu dùng chung với món sườn nướng thơm ngon.

Goldmalt sai dong

Most restaurants and pubs are closing by 10-11 pm in Hanoi, if you want refill you better go back to Hanoi, everything in this area is closed by 10 pm. That is also one of the benefits with visiting this brewery, you can have your dinner and beers in a peaceful and quiet environment. afterwards you can take a stroll in one of the small parks in the area.

If you live in Hanoi, you can come here with the taxi / bike or take local bus 11, 40 or 59 to the shopping center Big C in Long Bien and a taxi the last kilometres to Sai Dong area. You will find many half conctructed houses and empty areas here.

Hầu hết các nhà hàng và quán bia ở Hà Nội đều đóng cửa vào khoảng 10-11 giờ tối, nhưng ở vùng này thì khoảng 10 giờ tối, mọi hoạt động dường như đã kết thúc. Chính vì thế, đây có thể là một ưu điểm khi đến đây, bạn có thể thưởng thức bữa tối với thức ăn và bia ngon trong một không gian hết sức yên bình và tĩnh lặng. Sau đó, bạn có thể đi dạo ở một trong những công viên nhỏ ở đây.

Nếu bạn sống ở Hà Nội, thật dễ dàng để đến đây bằng Taxi, xe máy, hoặc bằng xe buýt (tuyến 11,40, hoặc 59 đi đến BigC Long Biên, rồi bắt tiếp taxi đến khu Sài Đồng). Bạn sẽ thấy rất nhiều những căn nhà đang trong quá trình xây dựng, và những khu đất trống mênh mông ở đây.

Goldmalt beer Hanoi

Czech beer Hanoi

Cheers to Goldmalt, despite tough times Goldmalt opens new breweries in remote areas like Sai Dong. While many businesses are struggling with the numbers it seems like goldmalt has a winning strategy to cope with the numbers and keep on delivering cheap and good beer to the masses. Tasting panel: Jonas Hjerpe, restaurant manager from Lotte Tower and Jonathan Gharbi, http://www.beervn.com.

Mặc dù chi nhánh GoldMalt mới này có hơi xa so với trung tâm Hà Nội, nhưng cũng xin chúc mừng GoldMalt. Trong khi những doanh nghiệp khác thì đang cạnh tranh với những đối thủ của họ, còn GoldMalt thì lại có những chiến lược để chiến thắng đối thủ của họ và mang một loại bia không những rẻ mà còn ngon đến rộng rãi với công chúng!

Người bạn đồng hành: Jonas Hjerpe – Quản lý nhà hàng Lotte Tower

Người viết: Jonathan Gharbi  http://www.beervn.com.

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