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They may be a few years behind the trend, but Vietnam is currently in the midst of a craft beer boom. If you like your beers big and bold, put the readily found Bia Saigon lagers to the side and reach for one of the country’s more robust crafties. There are plenty of brewhouses popping up around Vietnam, but these five should be first on your list.
Pasteur Street Brewing
Often credited with starting the craft beer movement in Vietnam, Pasteur Street Brewing was one of the first dedicated microbreweries to open a taphouse in the country. There are now five Pasteur Street taphouses dotted around Vietnam, with the original maintaining its status as one of the best. It’s nothing fancy - it’s a cosy, multi-level space, tucked down an unsuspecting alleyway in Ho Chi Minh City - but it’s got plenty of soul. Pay the original a visit, pull up a seat on the rooftop, and sip on one of the breweries seasonal beers (think pomelo or tangerine IPAs) or a more regular pour of jasmine IPA, dragonfruit gose, or straight pale ale.
LAC Brewing is one for the minimalists - and the beer lovers, of course. This concrete, Scandi-chic brewery in the heart of Ho Chi Minh City is as easy on the eye as the beer is on the palate. They serve up big, American style beers (courtesy of their ex-Oregon head brewer), but there’s also a heavy IPA focus from the brewery. The list of IPAs is extensive, but the mango IPA is a ‘must-try’ - it took out the top gong in some beer awards in Vietnam.
East West Brewing
Another powerhouse in the craft beer scene of Ho Chi Minh City, East West Brewing is one of the few places in the city where you can drink your beer while watching the next batch in production. With their brewhouse on-site, East West Brewing provides an inhouse experience like no other. Not only do you get a first-hand encounter on the production line, but the large, bright, and lively taphouse promises a great night out. Sip on one of the brewery’s famed pale ales, pilsners, or hefeweizen’s, or opt for a darker Belgian dark, porter, or stout.
Heart of Darkness
Given their name, you’d be forgiven for thinking that all of Heart of Darkness’ beers are dank and stank, but they do have a surprisingly lighter side to their hop-forward offerings. In amongst the Ho Chi Minh City-based brewery’s dry Irish stouts and double IPAs, there are an interesting selection quintessentially Vietnamese beers: think chilli cucumber pilsner, passionfruit sour, and pomelo IPA. As one of the breweries that revolutionised beer in Vietnam, you can always be certain you’ll find some interesting on the menu. Drop into their brewhouse on a Wednesday, and you might even catch the latest brew being tapped for the week.
7 Bridges Brewing Company
Based in Danang, 7 Bridges Brewing Company took inspiration for their name from the city’s adopted name as ‘Vietnam’s city of bridges’. Since their launch in 2017, 7 Bridges have gone on to win a number of titles, including the champion mid-sized craft brewer in the 2019 Asia Beer Championships. Call into their taproom overlooking the city’s famous Dragon Bridge, and combat the balmy Vietnamese weather with a cold pint of one of the brewery’s mainstay beers - the sunset tangerine wheat, Vietnam red ale, or Imperial IPA.