The brewery at Phu Quoc

Phu Quoc is a Vietnamese paradise island situated south of Cambodia with 85 000 inhabitants and about 100 hotels and resorts. People come here to snorkle in clear waters and visit pepper farms. But now you can add another reason: visiting the local microbrewery! Brewery at Phu Quoc

The brewery at Long Beach Resort                                                                                          The brewery is situated inside Long Beach Resort and the beer is mainly served at their beach restaurant. The ingredients to both beers are imported from Czech Republic and distributed via Hanoi about 5-6 times every year. The brewery is about five years old and both the black and blond beer takes about 3-4 weeks to make. The fermentation process takes about two weeks and then the beer also needs to mature for 1-2 weeks in cooling tanks with a temperature of three degrees celcius. Most of the consumers are guests at the resort and a few others that found their way to the only good beer at Phu Quoc.  The other options are the regular supply of Bia Saigon, Tiger, Heineken, Larue, 333 and also the light beer Bivina (3.8%).

The brewery is more or less unknown like all other 35 microbreweries in Vietnam. Only curious beer enthusiasts could find this place, hidden in a big resort. It’s easy to find the resort and more info about them at their homepage http://www.longbeach-phuquoc.com. Below you can see the boiling barrels in the brewery. They boil about 1000 liter each time so its really a small scale brewery. Cooling room is down stairs, just ask the managers and they will happily show the equipment for you. You can drink beer here but sitting with a big beer in your hand by the beach is a much better recommendation. Watch a video from the brewery here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ujvPn2SXsqQ

IMG_6748                           

Beer and burgers                                                                                                                             It sounds very basic, but in Vietnam its impossible to combine a craft beer with a burger. You can’t find burgers in any of all the 24 microbreweries in Hanoi for example, but this combination is available here for a low price. Both beers are almost for free, 27 500 VND each (about one and a half US dollar) and 126 000 VND for a cheese burger with mayonnaise on the side,  mmmm! One nice thing here is that they have other regular bottled beers, but they cost more (and taste less), so there is no reason to drink bad beer here. They serve the regular sea food BBQ, as all other restaurants on Phu Quoc, but have also  vietnamese fusion food and a few western dishes.

Beer and burger

About the beers                                                                                                                             Both beers are quite light bodied, like most lagers, the black beer has less than 4% alcohol and the blond beer has about 4,5%. The black beer has a brown colored foam and notes of coffee and has a light structure with a short after taste. The blond beer which also was the best one has notes of grapefruit and a thicker white, more long lasting foam but could be a bit more carbonated. The IPA lover will be happy with the after notes which offers a slight moment of bitterness in your mouth thanks to a generous hand of hops during the last minutes of the beer boiling  process.

So here’s the star…Microbrewery phu quoc

Posted in Activities and news | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Brewery map HCMC

Brewery map HCMC.

The map is updated in January 2014Beer map saigon

Posted in Activities and news | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Brewery Map over Hanoi

This list is complete and updated in January 2014

The changes from last map is that several places are added. Goldmalt in Van Phuc and Pragold has closed due to bad business. Goldmalt will open a new place on Lang Ha street and one in Gia Lam district. Beer map HanoiHope fully more places will open in 2014.                                       When it comes to the whole country, as of Today there are about 35 microbreweries. Except from Hanoi and Saigon, its also worth to make a visit in Hai Duong, Hai Phong, Nha Trang, Mui Ne and also maybe Phu Quoc. Next trip will be to Phu Quoc (in February) where we might find a microbrewery.

Posted in Activities and news | 6 Comments

First brewery tour 2014, 6 breweries

A journey of joy with extra bonus

The first tour of the year started with full speed. We were 11 thirsty beer lovers that gathered at Hoavien to start the tour with the famous fried cheese and two beers. We made a small inspection of the brewery equipment before heading of to the nearby Goldmalt.

IMG_6154Goldmalt at 65 Ngo Thi Nam, Hanoi

Goldmalt at nr 65 Ngo Thi Nam is quite small but they are currently rebuilding at the second floor and will make it bigger. We were supposed to see them cooking here this day but some technical problems didn’t allow us to. Here they brew 1-2 hundred liters at a time which really is micro so some times they have to fill up with beer from other goldmalts. Both beers here were really good, the black was full bodied and so also the blond one.

VIP cards to all seven  Goldmalts                                                                                     This goldmalt is consistent and here we also met the owner and the man behind Goldmalts brewery equipment, mr Long. Its not easy to get discount cards here in town, so it was a great surprise when Mr Long handed out 11 VIP-cards with 35% discount, valid for all six Goldmalts in Hanoi.35% discount

After that we went a few kilometres to next Goldmalt at 416 Xa Dan to state that they are all individual microbreweries and taste was different. Less malt inside the blond beer at this Goldmalt, a bit better than for three months ago, but not as good as in the first Goldmalt. Black beer was at the moment not served here. So we made the visit short.

gm xa dan

Next stop was Goldmalt at nr 9 Hoang Cau, you can not find this place on the VIP-cards or business cards, only on www.goldmalt.com.vn. Less than one percent of all customers at Goldmalt are foreigners, so we were heavily surprised to see a big group of Czech people at this restaurant this evening. Nha hang Goldmalt

Budweiser Budvar is a Czech beer and soon a Slovakian company will open up one of the biggest Budvar breweries in Vietnam. The beer is served in the US with the name: Czechvar. Today you can get the blond Budvar on tap at 5-6 places in Hanoi.  This place has the blond Goldmalt beer but also the black Budweiser Budvar instead of the black Goldmalt beer. This is the only place that serves the black one on tap. Of all the three Goldmalts, the first one had the best beer and also both kinds. The black Budwar costs 57 000 VND, compared with 34 000 (1 USD) for a black tasty Goldmalt with much more body and flavour than a black Budvar.

Black budvar Hanoi

 

Empty at Legend Beer. This Friday was a slight schock at Legends beer at nr 4 Vu Ngoc Phan. Normally its crowded and people smoke and drink while live bands and artists performs at the stage, today already by 9.30 pm, we were more or less the only customers. Legends, has since two years ago a menu with four kinds of beer, but only two in reality, the blond and the black. German styled lagers with less malt and hops than Goldmalt, also a bit more expensive. (picture below from a previous visit).

4 Vu Ngoc PhanAfter five breweries we ended up at Mai Vien Brauhaus and everyone was impressed by the black beer which is full bodied and full on coffee and chocolate notes. Here a picture of hops pellets used by Maivien Brauhaus. The hops is added during two different times during the boiling of the beer, first amount is for the bitterness and the last hops is added 10 minutes before the end to give the beer extra aroma. For 400 liters of beer, Mai Vien uses about 80-100 kg malt and almost 1.5 kilo Hops.  Picture shows a few gram of Czech sass hops.

hops

The blond beer was also really good and it was hard to say if Goldmalt 65 Ngo Thi Nam, Hoavien or Maivien has the best blond beer in town? There we met a group of expats from the Bia Hoi appreciation group at Mai Vien who use to meet at Bia Hoi but also at microbreweries for a social evening and they also found the beer really tasteful. Its nice to see that more and more people start to drink hand crafted beer in Vietnam.

Next brewery tour will include the Legend Beer in My Dinh and also a place called Pho beer and the Goldmalt at 398 Truong Chinh.

Posted in Activities and news | 1 Comment

Top 10 things to do in Mui Ne

Hoavien in Mui Ne

Picture: Entrance of Hoavien in Mui Ne. There are few must do in Mui Ne, here are the most essential for a beer lover and a connoisseur of life. Scroll down and see the full list below.

Microbreweries in Mui Ne                                                                                                             Here we have Hoavien Brauhaus, a five year old microbrewery that serves two beers on tap. This is the youngest Hoavien, the young child between its to parents, Hoavien in Saigon and Hanoi. The setting and location makes it unique, only 10 meters from the sea with a wonderful view and a huge terrace. This is the biggest Hoavien with its 5000 m2 divided on two floors.

Hoa vien Mui Ne

Mui Ne is hardly a town, more of a village with its small population and more or less only one long road through the town. Mui Ne is multi lingual and most restaurants and shops have information in Vietnamese and Russian, if you ask kindly, they might hand out a menu in English also. So also at Hoavien you will notice that 80 % of the customers are Russian and that’s the reason why you can enjoy the Russian techno during late evenings.

Hoa vien

Hoavien in Saigon and Hanoi has 95-99% Vietnamese customers and here only about 20%, but despite that more or less the same menu. Additional to the regular menu, Hoavien in Mui Ne serves a wide range of fresh seafood. Kitchen and service here is fast and good, we ordered the fried cheese and some beers and in five minutes everything was on our table.

bioling barrel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

They brew almost every week so if you are lucky you can ask to look in the boiling barrels and feel the wonderful smell of hops and malt dancing together in this sauna of goodness. Hops is added during various times of the boiling process.

bbermn

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The beer is brewed according to the same recipe as in the other Hoaviens and they use the same cooling systems and regulates storage temperature with proper equipment. From boiling to serving it takes about 3-4 weeks. The blond beer is brewed with pilsner malt and has the same taste as in Hanoi, a hint of bitterness and some grapefruit notes and is a full bodied lager. The black beer has notes of coffee and roasted almonds but is a bit lighter in its body compared to the black beer at Hoavien in Hanoi.   Address: nr 2 Nguyen Dinh Chieu, www.hoavien.vn .

More beer in Mui Ne                                                                                                                           A handful of places are serving Fifth Oceans beer which is brewed in Saigon and also distributed to Hanoi where it is served at Vuvuzelas three bars. Here in Mui Ne it’s not strange its popular, the beer origins from Russia but has another name there…Pyatiy Okean Svetloe. The price is quite high for a lager, around 50 000 vnd for a 3o cl glass.

oceans beer

The taste is reminding about the German Henniger beer which can be found in Hanoi at a few places, it has around 4.5% and is a regular lager but with some more taste of hops than a bottled Hanoi or Saigon beer.  There is a Russian minimarket at nr 53 Nguyen Dinh Chieu that has more than 20 kinds of bottled beers, both imported and Vietnamese beers. Here you can find Red Rock lager (33 cl, 4.8%) which is brewed in Saigon, BGI (33 cl, 3.8%) and beer 999.

 Top 10 things to do in Mui Ne

1. Drink beer at Hoavien in the evening, make a proper tasting

2. Taste Fifth Oceans Beer (compare with Saigon green..)

3. Visit the red and white sand dunes

4. Try all Vietnamese bottled/canned beers

5. Do a wine tasting at the newly built wine castle (RD winery, picture below)

6. Practice some Russian, at least learn the basics

7. Revisit Hoavien but during the day, drink beer, eat fried cheese

8. Drink a radler (50% beer, 50% sprite) at the local German restaurant

9. Make a list of the beers you tried, see if you missed something

10. When you have done all MUST-DO, you can relax a few hours by the beach

Posted in Activities and news | 4 Comments

Rise and fall of a brewery

The rise and fall of a brewery in Hanoi

Goldmalt in Van Phuc, first praised and cherished for tasty and full bodied beers, now only 1,5 years later its closed. What happened?

Goldmalt Hanoi

From the local perspective, running a business in Vietnam is difficult and every street in Hanoi is changing frequently when thousands of businesses have to close in less than one year. When it comes to the breweries in Hanoi, most of them have been in beer business at least a couple of years whereof Goldmalt in Van Phuc was the youngest one.

Goldmalt beer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Goldmalt opened in the summer of 2012 with a bit watery and unstructured beers. After 4-5 months the taste was improved and beers was really good, surprisingly good. Both the black and the blond one had good structure and body, full of flavours and around 5 % strong. The interior design was the usual but it was brand new so despite the odd location it was nicer to visit that Goldmalt instead of the other ones. A few of us expat beer enthusiasts in Hanoi went there quite often to have some beers and many was offered vip-cards with good discount, cards that later on was handed back in a protest against bad beer.

Goldmalts beer at Swedish national day in June 2013                                             The beer tasted so good so Goldmalt in Van Phuc was asked to serve the beer at the Swedish national day in June 2013 at the Swedish embassy which is situated just 500 m from Goldmalt. They brought 200 litres of beer which was well appreciated at the event. Their beer was also distributed on parties and many of the brewery tours started or passed by the microbrewery.

But in the summer of 2013 the quality fell and a couple of months later the boiling kettles was sold. The last 3-4 month they only served the blond beer but it was unstructured and flat. We understood that the end was close. Most of us beer enthusiasts choose other breweries for our bellowed hobby. In November 2013, after about one and a half year, the microbrewery was closed.

goldmalt

The explanation for the close down was low number of customers. Other factors might have been the lack of marketing, no facebook or web page, no flyers in the area and its location in the end of a small street. Marketing is almost zero for all microbreweries, therefore the most of them survive on customers from the neighbourhood. After trying almost 30 microbreweries in Vietnam you know if a beer is good or not, and during Goldmalts peak period it was one of the best beers in Hanoi.

The brewery equipment is still in Hanoi and hopefully a new brewery can open up with it soon!

The article is also published by Vietnamnet and you can find it here:

http://english.vietnamnet.vn/fms/your-vietnam/92523/the-rise-and-fall-of-a-microbrewery.html

Posted in Activities and news | 2 Comments

What to do in Hai Duong?

Hai Duong, a sleeping city with about 200 000 inhabitants 58 km from Hanoi has a few things to offer. One Italian restaurant managed by a german expat, a czech styled microbrewery, Bia Haiduong which is a alternative to Bia Hoi and a copy of Hoan Kiem lake.

Short day trip with pizza and beers

If you live in Hanoi or are on a longer visit you can choose this easy day trip instead of fearing for your life in one of the mini busses driven by fearless suicidal candidates on old and heavily trafficked roads. Take the train to Hai Duong, it will cost you about 40 000 vnd (2 usd) and takes less than 1,5 hour one way, enjoy beautiful landscapes while drinking beer or coffee. Most houses in the city are 2-4 storey high and the atmosphere is relaxing, you wont see any tourists and won’t be bothered by street vendors or traffic jam.

calm and relaxing in Hai Duong

When in Hai Duong walk 10 minutes to the one and only czech styled microbrewery in Hai Duong, Bohemia Excellent at nr 2 Hoang Hoa Tham. The black beer is medium bodied with notes of coffee, the blond beer lighter but in overall an ok lager.

bia tuoi tiep

czech styled beers

You can see the brewery in the restaurant which seems to have quite a big capacity.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The brewery is divided into one bigger beer hall and the regular VIP rooms if you want to drink heavily but not be seen by anyone else or avoid talking to other people. This is not unique to this brewery, most breweries in Vietnam have VIP rooms where you can hide from the outer world.

After drinking a few beers you should visit the one and only Italian restaurant in Hai Duong which is an oasis for the few hundred expats that resides in Hai Duong (nr 1 Pham Hung). Really nice food (excellent pizzas) and all staff speaks english, which is rare if you come from Hanoi. After that you can take a taxi to the lake which is more or less like a copy of Hoan Kiem lake but is surrounded by small houses and a few restaurants. Walk around here until you are thirsty, then visit one of all places that serves Hai Duongs answer to Bia Hoi, Bia Haiduong and try to find out if it tastes better or worse than Bia Hoi.

better than Bia hop?HABECO, Hanoi brewing company is producing a lot of their beer in Hai Duong, so maybe its just the name thats different from Bia Hoi Hanoi? A not so important fact because there are plenty of good beers in Vietnam and no need of consuming watery beer with 3% alcohol with a minimum of malt and hops. Anyhow, a visit to Hai Duong is worth its time and its really nice to have the small town feeling and a few beers.

Posted in Activities and news | Leave a comment

Last brewery tour and beer tasting for 2013

This is a combined brewery tour and also includes tastings of imported ales from US, UK, Denmark and Sweden. We will visit Hoa Vien, Mai Vien, Goldmalt and Bia Tuoi Tiep in My Dinh. We will look at the brewery process and combine the regular tasting with bottled ales to compare with the local beers.

bottled ales2 kinds of beerWe will also try different glasses which is important for the taste and experience of a beer. The tour will take place on Wed 18 Dec with start 4 pm at Hoa Vien Brauhaus. This time we start earlier to see more of the city in daylight. Email to beerblogvn@gmail.com if interested.

Beer in Hanoi wintertime. There are 25 microbreweries in Hanoi whereof many are only known by the people in their area. The best thing or the worst thing with the winter in Hanoi is the temperature. It’s a huge difference for the brewing process if the beer are yeasing with 7 or 27 degrees. During wintertime you can taste a difference by many breweries as they have the yeasing barrels without cooling equipmen. With that perspective there are not 25 breweries with 50 beers but 25 breweries with 100 beers when you count with the winter beers. It takes 3-4 weeks for most breweries here to make a patch of beer. It has been quite cold since the end of November so hopefully we will notice some changes during the brewery tour also.

 

Posted in Activities and news | Leave a comment

First visit at Legend beer in My dinh, Hanoi

First visit at Legend beer, restaurant nr 4, in My Dinh, Hanoi.

The Manor building

D04 – The manor – My Dinh – HaNoi http://www.legendbeer.com.vn

Legends have their office in the south of Vietnam, the production is quite high so this might be on the limit when it comes to the definition of microbreweries. There are one Legend beer at Big C, one just above Hoan Kiem lake and the biggest one is at nr 4 Vu Ngoch Phan. Its not so easy to find this one, but if you find The Manor, a house complex inspired from English architecture, you are close to the restaurant.

3 different beers

Taste: Three beers is really good, not all Legend beers has that. All beers has a lighter style than Mai Vien Brauhaus and Goldmalt for example. But for the first time, the special beer tasted really good, more full bodied and a bit more bitter. This beer is worth its price!

Its more or less the same menu here as in other Legend beers.  The restaurant has place for less than hundred people but is nicely decorated and fits well in the area. Its about 10 km from city center, so if you want to do some more things here, visit the Garden shopping mall, taste some korean food or visit the golf range nearby. Bigger streets, less traffic and bigger sidewalks gives the area an international touch with its english styled architecture. The visit was made in Nov 2013.

legend beer

Posted in Activities and news | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Beer tasting with beer from Sweden, UK, USA etc

aletasting4dec2

 

 

This is a journey of beer, from lighter black lagers to scottish IPA with 9.2% alcohol. This is a good tasting for ale lovers and other who want to learn more about beer.

We will also have the black and blond beer from Mai Vien Brauhaus, learn about the brewing process and different styles. There will be at least 12 different beers to taste, whereof 8 different ales, 2 American, 2 Scottish, 1 Swedish, 3 Danish and then 2 lagers on tap from Mai Vien Brauhaus and black lagers from China, Sweden and Vietnam.

Only the beer is included and each beer tasting ticket is 300 000 vnd. Mai Vien has a good menu so if you are hungry you can buy food and more beer at the place.

For more info call 01667392685 or email to beerblogvn@gmail.com

Mai viens two beers

You can find more about Mai Vien in Microbreweries in Hanoi.

Posted in Activities and news | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment