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Presented by Vietnam Craft Bia

As Vietnam is projected to be the number one consumer of beer in all of Asia by 2020, it should be of no surprise that the craft beer industry has emerged in the country’s drinking scene.

In 2012, Ho Chi Minh City-based brewers began producing a localized take on craft beer in Vietnam focused on using fresh, local ingredients. Added to that is a growing brewing philosophy focused on creating craft beer in Vietnam that is specifically engineered for Vietnam’s tropical climate.

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Since 2012, breweries in Ho Chi Minh City have introduced fresh new takes on craft beer using local ingredients.

Today the country is home to roughly 35 breweries and growing. As local drinkers begin to shift from mainstream lagers to the limitless world of craft beer there are a few things to know before you start ripping through that flight of unfamiliar brews.

With hopes of providing you with a smooth transition to craft beer, Vietnam Craft Bia meets with Tê Tê Beers, BiaCraft Artisan Ales, and Pasteur Street Brewing Company to find out what we should, and should not be doing.

Do’s and don’ts to drinking craft beer in Vietnam: Tips from the experts

Pasteur Street Brewing Co.

Pasteur Street Brewing Company has not only had an impact on Vietnam’s craft beer scene. In fact, several of their beers have taken home international medals from some of the world’s most widely-respected craft beer competitions.

Pasteur Street
Pasteur Street Brewing Company, located in District 1 of Saigon, is recognized internationally for its beer.

First, we headed over to Pasteur Street Brewing Company’s original taphouse at 144 Pasteur street in District 1 to get a local perspective on what to-do and not to-do when drinking craft beer in Vietnam. When asked about his opinion on the topic, representative Quach Minh Quan quickly pulled up a chair to share his expert advice with us.

What you should do

“I suggest talking to people around you about the beer you’re drinking. Be open to sharing your personal opinions, even with strangers. Ask others what they’re drinking and if they like it. Ask them what you should try next. Craft beer fans are passionate and love to swap ideas,” Quan states.

“I also would recommend drinking craft while watching football. For some reason, craft and sports compliment each other perfectly. People get hyped about both the beer and the game. When games are on, the environment is incredibly fun and welcoming,” he says.

What you should not do

“Like I said before, many craft fans love to to talk about the beer they are drinking. Because of this, I recommend not drinking craft beer at a venue with loud music. If you can’t talk about the beer, you’ll miss half the fun.”

Pasteur Street
“Ask others what they’re drinking and if they like it,” suggests Quach Minh Quan, a representative from Pasteur Street.

“In the world of wine tasting even professional judges take a sip, swish the wine, and then spit it out. But this method is ineffective when applied to craft. Never spit out your beer, even if you don’t like it. With some craft beer recipes, the taste profile comes in waves. Be patient, swallow your sip, and wait to see what taste surfaces next,” Quan informs us.

Also, do not forget to smell it. Aromatics are not to be overlooked and how a beer smells doesn’t dictate how it will taste. Craft beer appeals not only to your sense of taste but also your sense of smell, sight, and even feel.”

Tê Tê Craft Beer

Tê Tê Craft Beer is a trendsetter when it comes to crafting beer exclusively for Vietnam’s unique climate. For all of Tê Tê’s brews, drinkability is key to their success. Even their IPA, a style notorious for heavy bitter notes and strong lingering flavors, is an easy-drinker in the sweltering 32 degree heat.

Tê Tê
Tê Tê Craft Beer is well known for its wide selection of craft beers made specifically for Vietnam’s tropical climate.

We picked the brain of Tê Tê Beer co-founder and general manager Tobias Briffa to see what advice he has for local beer fans interested in exploring craft beer in Vietnam.

What you should do

“When drinking craft beer it’s a good idea to clear your schedule for the night,” says Tobias. Craft culture revolves around drinking and talking with friends. If you sit at a table with serious craft beer fans it won’t be easy to drink one beer and go as it’s not uncommon to try out many styles in a single session.

I would also suggest everyone wear something sexy,” Tobias laughs out loud. Some craft beer styles can be very high in alcohol and drinking a bit too much is easy to do. “You never know where you will wake up,” Tobias winks.

What you should not do

Also, never ever, ever, ever discuss work or romance when drinking craft. That goes for everyone, not just people in Vietnam! Drinking beer should be fun, not sad,” he says.

Tê Tê
Tobias Briffa, co-founder of Tê Tê Craft Beers, warns drinkers to never put ice into their craft brew.

Although there’s nothing wrong with dropping a big cylinder of ice into your name brand lager to combat the Saigon heat, this rule doesn’t apply to craft beer. “Don’t put ice in your craft beer under any circumstance,” Tobias states. “If you do that, you will completely destroy the taste of the beer.”

BiaCraft Artisan Ales

BiaCraft Artisan Ales is home to the largest and most diverse selection of craft beer in Ho Chi Minh City. BiaCraft has four locations spread across the city in Districts 1, 2, 3, and Phu Nhuan. With such a big operation under his belt, BiaCraft’s co-founder Tim Scott has seen firsthand what can happen when consumers really like a beer that they aren’t familiar with.

We meet with Tim Scott, co-founder of Biacraft Artisan Ales, for his insights into drinking craft beer.

When asked for a few simple tips, Scott can’t help but chuckle as memories of six years serving craft beer in Vietnam come rushing back.

What you should do

“First and foremost, you should try something new! There’s always a chance to revert back to old favorites but the flavors and styles of craft beer are always evolving. Maybe your next favorite beer is one taste away. The best way to try new beers is to order a flight, or buy small taster glasses,” Tim explains.

“If you are unsure, speak with the staff and let them know what kind of beer you like. Breweries train their teams to help out with indecisive customers or customers that have no idea what beer to order. They can easily point you in the right direction,” he says.

Bia Craft
“First and foremost, you should try something new.” Biacraft co-founder Tim Scott offers this advice.

What you should not do

Feeling a bit intimidated by the wide range of strange styles is normal. “**But it’s important not to think about it too much. Get a group of friends to go out drinking with you and good times will always flow,” Tim says.

“Although diving deep into analysing what’s in the glass is often a part of the experience, even the pros can sometimes forget the point—just have fun! Drinking craft beer doesn’t have to be an intense study session,” Tim reassures us.

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