HCMC Dining Guide

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Craft Beer Comes to Saigon

In the three-plus years I've been writing this blog I've complained about the poor quality of Vietnamese beer countless times. The mass-market stuff here is largely awful - bland, watered down and weak. It's made for rapid-fire drinking, not enjoyment. There are a few exceptions: a handful of 'German' breweries make their own beer, and while it's not amazing it is far better than Tiger or 333. Last year an expat-owned brewing company called Platinum started making beer, and it's good. There's also Fuzzy Logic, a very small-scale operation that you can occasionally find at Saigon Outcast.

Still, there wasn't anything like the craft beers I fell in love with when I was back in the U.S. last year. Then, a couple weeks ago, I heard about the Pasteur Street Brewing Company. An American team is behind this slice of heaven, and they've held their soft opening over the last two weekends. I went Friday night and was hugely impressed.

They had four original craft beers on offer, and for the first time in Vietnam I was looking at a beer menu that wouldn't look out of place in a hip American neighborhood. (They even had an IPA, but it had sold it out by the time I arrived.) The beers are brewed outside of Cu Chi and local ingredients are used - for example, coffee beans from Da Lat. We started off with a tasting flight to see which was best, and I didn't actually care for the first few sips. Then, I realized that's because it was real beer, something I haven't tasted since I left the States in August. The flavors are so much stronger than you usually get here, and it took some getting used to. Once I adjusted, though, I was in love. My personal favorite on the night was the coffee brown, but more flavors are being rotated daily.

 Even though this was a soft opening, the place was doing gangbusters. They ran out of all beer by 9:30. One thing that can unite all expats is disdain for the beer in Vietnam (even though many still guzzle it like it's their job), so Pasteur Street is filling a gaping hole with massive demand at the bottom. Just in case you don't believe me, when I showed up at 7 there were several barflys who had been drinking since they opened at 11am. With a grand opening set for later this month, I think it's safe to say this is already on its way to becoming a new institution in the Saigon drinking scene. The decor is tasteful, although the interior is a bit narrow, and there were great tunes played all night (a very rare thing here). Combine that with amazing beer and I expect to be making frequent visits to this place. I won't even complain about paying $5 for a pint - it's that good.

1 comment:

  1. 5 bucks a beer. The beer is that good ! How about the foods Mike?