There is a revolution that has been slowly brewing in Vietnam since 2015. In a reverse of sorts, it’s been so contagious that it has finally spread from Ho Chi Minh City all the way to the Hanoi. Not to fret though. It’s a revolution of a different kind. Say ‘cheers’ to Pasteur Street Brewing taproom and their excellent selection of craft beers.
When I first visited Vietnam in 2007-8, there weren’t any craft beers available. At least none that I was aware of. To be honest, I wasn’t too aware of craft beer myself. It’s only in the last 10 odd years, on travels around the world, that I have begun to discover them. That’s mostly been on recommendation by local friends, or accidently walking into a microbrewery and asking to experiment with something that suited the palate.
How times have changed. While there is nothing wrong in enjoying a refreshing beer, or three, your choice has always been restricted to a pilsner or a lager, either bottled or on tap. Unless of course, you wish to sit at any of the small bars or street corners and try out a bia hoi. Again, nothing wrong with that, and it’s deliciously light. But occasionally, it is okay to let go, splurge a bit and have a good time without feeling guilty about it.
While I am no authority, what makes the craft beers interesting is that they combine American style brews with fresh local ingredients. Which makes sense. It was started by two Americans who set up their brewery in Ho Chi Minh City. On a side note, an interesting point while you sip on a pint – Pasteur Street Brewing opened its first taproom on… Pasteur Street in Ho Chi Minh City.
I opted for a Coffee Porter, with an aftertaste of well, coffee. It’s a nice and smooth beer, though unlike a few other beers that I have had, it is a bit tough to take a long draught. You need to sip it at a leisurely pace. I also did sample the Jasmine IPA. With a hint of citrus and jasmine, it was surprisingly a refreshing brew. However, having started on the Coffee Porter, and not wanting to mix my beers, I continued with my original choice.
In case you feel like nibbling on some snacks, they have a food menu too. However, that was not the reason I walked in there in the first instance.
I will admit. Prices are high. Expect to pay upwards of VND 150,000 for a 500ml pint unless you want to go for a smaller glass just to get a taste. But that is okay. Never mind that the brain is trying to figure out how many pilsner or lager beers that amount would buy on any other day.
Finding Pasteur Street Brewing is easy. Make your way to the historic St Joseph’s Cathedral on the outskirts of the Old Quarter. Once there, walk down the street on the right-hand side and you should see the taproom on your left. You can’t miss it. It’s got a very welcoming feel to it.
It’s spread across two floors including an outdoor area. Unfortunately, it had been raining in Hanoi when we were there. Combine that with a chill in the air, and I was more than happy to make myself warm indoors.
It’s open daily from 11am to 11pm.