As BiaCraft Artisan Ales grows the “no bullshit, just bloody good beer” company are reaching out to local breweries to develop exclusive craft beers for the brand. And they are now serving their selection of nearly 50 Vietnamese beers at three locations, at 90 Xuan Thuy, 300 Truong Sa, and 1 Le Ngo Cat.
But with so many options, we wanted to know which four made-in-Vietnam beers founder Tim Scott would handpick for our visit to their Le Ngo Quat location. Tim’s four selections show how the company are collaborating with some of the city’s best brewers to create a diverse range of brews—from sweet hard ciders to pale ales.
BiaCraft’s 4 collaborative Vietnamese craft beers
#1 Bom Vu Du Xai Hard Cider or Fifty-two Triple Z
“Our friends at Hanoi Cider put the Fifty-two Triple Z Vietnamese craft beer together for us,” Tim reveals with a smile. “The process of collaborative brewing is something we take seriously, and genuinely enjoy.”
“The name of the beer colloquially translates as a question: “is your boob job big enough?” Tim chuckles. Just look at the can and you’ll get the idea. “This brew is a cider made with citra hops,” he says. For the uninitiated, ciders are alcoholic drinks made from fermented crushed fruit, typically apples. “But the name isn’t just about a boob job,” he says. “Bom” means apple, “vu” means star apple, or as some call it, breast milk fruit. Then there’s “du” which means papaya, and “xai” meaning mango. “That little play on words is really fun. It explains exactly what’s inside the cider.”
“This Vietnamese craft beer is good for people who prefer not to drink beer when temperatures are high. Ciders make for great alternatives to beer during hot weather because of their sweeter profile. “It’s juicy, tropical, and goes down more like a sour fruit juice…and you don’t have to like beer to enjoy it,” he remarks. “We just want people to come in and start pounding them,” he laughs.
Beer Specs ABV: 6.5% IBU: 8 In short: A sweet hard cider “that will drag your ass backwards through a fruit orchard and leave you dazed and spinning.”
#2 Tram Phan Tram Crush Ale
The crush ale is another collaborative project. This one is brewed by Rooster Beers. “The concept was to de-snob craft beer,” Tim smiles. “To achieve this we needed a lightly-hopped ale with an aroma that was pleasant, but not overpowering. And we didn’t want the citrus notes to linger,” he elaborates.
In fact, the brief led Rooster Beers to create a never before seen style of ale that we’ve called the “crush ale.” This Vietnamese craft beer is made with a healthy dose of Australian galaxy hops—a variety known for its clean fruity profile without any floral, pine, or spice characteristics.
“The idea was to move away from the perception that craft beer has to be savored, analyzed, and discussed. We simply wanted the Tram Phan Tram Crush Ale to be “slamable.” Like other summer favorites it’s crisp, light on the palate, and low in alcohol content. “Don’t smell it or swirl it around. Just pound it and order another. At BiaCraft, drinking ten of these in one session is highly-encouraged,” Tim jokes.
Beer Specs ABV: 4.4% IBU: 15 In short: A new style of ale that’s pleasant but not overpowering, and super easy to imbibe.
#3 Dung Choc Tao Pale Ale
“Our third selection is another Vietnamese craft beer also handcrafted by our friends at Rooster Beers.” Tim’s choosing the Dung Choc Tao for this list because it rides the middle. This beer isn’t too high in alcohol, and although the bitterness isn’t over-the-top, the hop profile is strong enough to satisfy. “It’s easily our best-selling beer,” Tim adds.
They used the ubiquitous Cascade hops for this pale ale because of its ideal flavor and aromatic properties. “The Dung Choc Pale Ale is one of my personal favorites and was one of the first brews we ever made,” Tim recalls. It has a perfectly balanced hoppy bitterness with a light malty sweetness. “It also has a great head on it…and everyone loves head,” Tim laughs, “One little sip of this beer and you’ll be giving roundhouse kicks in a flurry of Chuck Norris-like adrenaline.”
Beer Specs ABV: 5.4% IBU: 44 In short: A hoppy pale ale with a punch like Chuck Norris.
#4 Khong Say Khong Ve Triple IPA
“It’s a Belgian triple crossbred with an IPA,” Tims says. And this heavy hitter was the work of Lac Brewing Co. “If you want to get super drunk go for this one,” Tim assures us. With an ABV of 12.3%, it’s still remarkably easy to drink because of the Warrior hops. They add a smooth and pleasing bitterness which makes it a super dangerous yet loveable Vietnamese craft beer.
The Triple IPA is brewed with three kinds of hops. The complexity of each hop variety transforms this Triple IPA into a beer that can be enjoyed any time.
The hop profiles are diverse and each is employed for a different purpose. While the Warrior hops were added to provide a smooth bittering agent, the tropical aroma of the citra hops sits well in the mix. Lastly, the Amarillo hops bring a flowery and citrusy touch. Together, these elements coalesce to create a Triple IPA that’s a perfectly powerful brew.
Beer Specs ABV: 12.3% IBU: 70 In short: A super strong IPA designed to leave you lying on the floor.