Vietnam hosts a vibrant beer scene, many of the country’s breweries employing local ingredients to pay homage to local culture. With so many craft breweries in the country to choose from, here is a list of the best craft beers Saigon has to offer.
Vietnam is a beer country, boasting many iconic local beers and a drinking culture that is hard to match. Inspired by this, a craft beer community has sprung up in beloved Saigon, serving up a wide variety of beers, from IPAs to Saisons. Many breweries infuse and brew their beverages with local and fresh Vietnamese ingredients, like fruits and spices, making for extremely unique and delightful brews.
Fuzzy Logic Brewing Co. has been on the forefront of the Vietnamese craft beer scene since 2014, and is now heading an offshoot in Cambodia. One shining example in Fuzzy Logic’s repertoire is the Thunderclap IPA. A response to the sexual assault of a friend of the brewery, this Saigon beer honours the strength of all women with a significant ABV of 6.8%. It may be strong but it is well-balanced and refreshing. The beer sales raise funds for several charities that empower women, so let us raise a glass to women empowerment. Thunderclap IPA is available online and at select bars and events.
HƠI HƠI IPA
Deme Brewing’s motto is “drink creatively,” and they make sure to give their customers the means to do so. Their beers are a synthesis of street culture and their love of craft beer. Coming to their roster soon is their second core range beer, the HƠI HƠI IPA, a golden straw-coloured beer with a fresh lemon and pineapple flavour. It is the perfect beer to stir your imagination- you are relaxing at the beach, with the sun shining down on nearby palm trees, IPA in hand- the perfect oasis. HƠI HƠI IPA is available in select stores, bars, and events.
One Eye Imperial IPA
Winking Seal Beer Co. is a Saigon beer institution, its name inspired by the one-eyed childhood toy of their co-founder, “Sealy.” In 2021 they were awarded Vietnam’s Best Craft Beverage Company by LUXlife. The One Eye Imperial IPA is Winking Seal’s flagship brew, a complex-tasting beer with a simple recipe that requires brewers to boil for 101 minutes to achieve an ABV of 10.1% and IBU of 101. Despite its massive strength, One Eye is easy to drink due to its balanced blend of hops, malt, and body. One Eye Imperial IPA is available online and at select bars and supermarkets.
Marlow’s Mellow Pomelo IPA
Heart of Darkness Brewery prides itself in its duality, brewing beers that explode with flavour and challenge one’s idea of the beverage. Marlow’s Mellow Pomelo IPA is a bright straw-coloured beer on the lighter side, with an ABV of 5.8%. It is fragranced with pomelo oil and hints of green mango and blackcurrant – a true tropical delight. It is citrusy yet dry, and perfect for warm Ho Chi Minh weather. Marlow’s Mellow Pomelo IPA is available at the Heart of Darkness Taproom and online.
Thơm Brewery, which translates to Fragrant Brewery, was established in 2016 by two brothers with the goal of implementing Vietnamese ingredients into Western-style beers. Chúc Thơm, translates to ‘good luck,’ and is a golden ale that implements the flavours of the Vietnamese kaffir lime leaf. It is a strong yet refreshing ale that balances sweetness and bitterness, much like the herb it is infused with. The citrussy elements contribute to the fresh flavour, but it maintains a hoppiness characteristic of ales. Chúc Thơm is available for purchase online.
Killa Gorilla Brown Ale
Mekong Brewing Company prides itself on using only the finest ingredients for its beers, namely, international hops, and only the highest quality Vietnamese fresh elements, like herbs and fruits. The Killa Gorilla Brown Ale is a spicy, citrussy, and warming beverage, using ingredients like nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon, and orange peel. Killa Gorilla Brown Ale is available at select bars and events.
Tê Tê Craft Beer honours its authenticity by leaving all their brews unfiltered, enhancing flavour and emulating the company’s originality. The White Ale is a Belgian-style wheat ale, flavoured with orange peel and the ever-present and delicious Vietnamese herb, coriander, making this beer truly one of a kind. The White Ale is available online and at Têtê Taphouse.
Bumble Basil Saison
Another classic Vietnamese herb can be found in Mekong Brewing Company’s Bumble Basil Saison. Infused with fresh basil and honey, this farmhouse ale has a certain sweetness that perfectly balances the funky herbal notes of the basil. At ABV6.5%, it is easily drinkable but has a kick. Bumble Basil Saison is available at select bars and events.
Pasteur Street Brewing Co.’s Saigon Saison is an award-winning brew that packs big flavours in an extremely drinkable beer, namely, classic Vietnamese ingredients like ginger, lemongrass, and Phu Quoc black pepper, to add a certain herbiness. The spicy aroma of this beer won it an Asian Beer Medal in Singapore in 2016. Saigon Saison is available online and at Pasteur Street taprooms.
Wheat Beers & Lagers
Lagerlicious Craft Lager
The Lagerlicious Craft Lager from Winking Seal Beer Co. is a great rendition of the perfect lager. It is a light and crisp summer-y beverage that is extremely sessionable for long summer nights. This Saigon beer is made from 100% malted barley, leaving a fresh flavour that is simply “lagerlicious.” Lagerlicious Craft Lager is available online and at select bars and supermarkets.
Pasteur Street Brewing Co. is one of the largest brewing companies in Vietnam, aptly named after its first location, that marries American craft brewing with Vietnamese ingredients. God Water is a light and sessionable lager, made for long, fun days with friends, that has a unique twist with the addition of Phu Quoc pepper, adding a little excitement to this classic beverage. God Water is available online and at Pasteur Street taprooms.
7 Bridges Brewing Co. is an award-winning brewery launched in 2017 that emphasises the importance of community and positive social change, including a zero waste initiative. Sunset Tangerine is one of their award-winning beers – a unique combination of wheat, pilsner, and American hop creates a solid basis for the fresh floral and spicy flavours. In the brewing process, a large amount of local tangerines is added to create a refreshing citrusy beverage that pairs excellently with local Vietnamese delicacies any time of year. Sunset Tangerine is available online, at select hotels and supermarkets, and at their very own new venue in D1.
East West Brewing Company is a brewery that aims to unite the brewing traditions of both Eastern and Western countries. Their Saigon Rosé is a wheat ale that utilises raspberry for both its flavour and absolutely radiant colour. It also contains notes of honey and citrus, which make for a refreshing acidity that perfectly complements the slight maltiness. Saigon Rosé is available online and at select events and convenience stores.
Featured banner image credit: @7bridgesbrewingco
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