In search of some of Saigon’s most easy-to-drink craft beers, we put together a list of four beers that provide the perfect entrance into craft beer. If you’re new to the scene, these four beers are the some of the best brews to get you moving in the right direction.
Vietnam Craft Bia on four of Saigon’s most drinkable craft beers
What craft beer connoisseurs call a “session” means a duration of time spent drinking. A session usually involves beers with a lower alcohol percent (usually 5% or less) and a taste profile that steers clear of too much bitterness. Simply put, session brews, whether labeled as such or not, are made to go down nice and smooth and consumed in larger amounts than your average craft beer styles.
Platinum Keller Pale Ale
“The Keller Pale Ale is the ultimate ‘gateway’ into the world of craft beer,” says Platinum Beer’s head of operations Mark Comberton. With a brewing philosophy focused on all-natural ingredients Platinum sticks to the basics and produces three simple yet articulate flaships beers without the use of chemical additives.
The Keller Pale Ale is light and rings in at 4.6% alcohol by volume (ABV) and 22 International Bitterness Units (IBUs). Compared to a household brand like Tiger, which has 5.0% ABV and around 10 IBUs, the Keller Pale Ale tastes better and is made with higher quality ingredients.
Platinum’s pale ale recipe results in a taste profile that is distinctively citrusy while maintaining soft splashes of guava, lychee, grapefruit, and orange blossom. It is made with select pale malts from Europe and Australia that balance out the hops providing an authentic taste of craft beer without being overwhelming.
Unafraid of new recipes, Vietnam-based brewery Heart of Darkness is known for an approach to brewing which embraces challenge and tradition. When they introduced Vietnam to their Conquistador’s Mexican Pilsner, they entered the darkness and still managed to come out in the light.
This beer takes on its own identity as a Mexican take on a pilsner. With a low ABV of 4.2% and 24 IBUs, it’s one of Saigon’s go-to brews when it comes to easy-drinking.
The Conquistador’s Mexican Pilsner comes with a touch of salt and lime as does a Mexican margarita. Think of it as a beer for the beach as it contains slightly sweet grains and pairs well with most food items, always going down with ease.
“Our blonde is a perfect beer for the all-day drinker. It’s custom-made for the intense Saigon heat and much more refreshing than many craft beers,” says Don Hurst, Rooster Beers’ head of sales. The Rooster Blonde has 5.5% ABV and low bitterness at 18 IBUs. The blonde is another perfect example of an entry-level craft beer that suits the tastes of professionals and craft beer beginners alike.
Take note that the Rooster Blonde is not a lager (lighter style of beer), it’s a clean and crisp ale with a touch of citrus. Rather than a showcase of hops, the taste profile leans on the bold character of the malts.
LAC Brewing Co. focuses on American ales. By combining Vietnamese culinary ingredients with American craft, the result is masterfully-brewed organic-quality craft beer. The Mango IPA from LAC Brewing has become a Saigon staple weighing in a bit more heavy than other beers on this list with 6.1% ABV (higher than average) and 45 IBUs (medium bitterness).
This mango-inspired India Pale Ale (IPA) has a fruit-driven profile. Although it has medium bitterness it’s bright, tropical peachy fruit flavors make it very easy to drink for an IPA. Added to the sweet mango and caramel finish, the Mango IPA’s hazy golden color and medium-body gives it a visual appeal that strays from the norm. If you are new and want to put your taste buds to the test this is a must-try.