Beer is the most popular beverage in Vietnam, with an annual beer consumption of over 4 billion liters. It is enjoyed by people of all ages and social classes and is often served at meals, social gatherings, and business meetings. So Vietnamese beer industry is very prosperous.
The two most popular brands are Saigon Beer and Hanoi Beer, which are both widely available throughout the country. There are also a number of craft breweries and beer brands originating from overseas such as Tiger beer.
The diversity of beer in Vietnam is one of its main attractions. In addition to the two major brands mentioned above, there are a number of other popular brands, such as Bia Hoi (fresh beer), Bia Larue, and Tiger Beer. There is also a growing craft beer scene in Vietnam, with breweries such as Winking Seal Beer Company producing a variety of award-winning beers.
Vietnamese beers are popular among both locals and tourists. Locals enjoy them for their affordability and refreshing taste, while tourists appreciate the variety of styles available and the opportunity to try something new.
Brief History Of Vietnamese Beer
From the ubiquitous presence of rice beer to the burgeoning craft beer movement, Vietnamese beer has woven itself into the fabric of daily life, becoming an integral part of social gatherings, business meetings, and casual hangouts. To understand the rich tapestry of beer in Vietnam, let’s delve into its historical roots, tracing its evolution from humble beginnings to its current status as a national beverage.
The Historical Development Of Beer In Vietnam.
Beer has been brewed in Vietnam for centuries, but it was not until the French colonial period that it became widely popular. In 1875, the French established the first commercial brewery in Vietnam, the Brasserie Française de Saigon. This brewery produced a variety of French-style beers, which quickly became popular among the French colonists and the Vietnamese elite.
After Vietnam gained independence in 1945, the government began to nationalize the Vietnamese beer industry. In 1956, the Saigon Beer Company was established, and in 1960, the Hanoi Beer Company was established. These two companies became the dominant players in the Vietnamese beer market, and their products remain the most popular brands in the country today.
The Influence Of French Colonization On Beer Production.
French colonization had a significant influence on beer production in Vietnam. The French introduced a variety of new brewing techniques and ingredients to the country, and they also established the first commercial breweries. As a result, Vietnamese beers today are heavily influenced by French brewing traditions.
One of the most notable influences of French colonization is the use of lager yeast in Vietnamese brewing. Lager yeast produces a cleaner, crisper beer than the ale yeast that was traditionally used in Vietnam. This is why most Vietnamese beers are lagers today.
Another notable influence of French colonization is the use of hops in Vietnamese brewing. Hops are a flower that imparts bitterness and aroma to beer. The French introduced hops to Vietnam in the late 19th century, and they quickly became an essential ingredient in beer in Vietnam.
10 Popular Vietnamese Beer Brands
Across the vibrant landscape of Vietnam, amidst the bustling streets and serene countryside, lies a unifying force that brings people together: the love for beer. From the iconic Saigon Special to the refreshing Bia Hoi, beer in Vietnam has carved a unique niche in the global brewing scene, captivating the palates of locals and visitors alike.
Now, let’s embark on a journey through the world of Vietnamese beer as we unveil the top brands that have captured the hearts and quenched the thirst of beer enthusiasts worldwide.
1. Saigon Beer
Saigon Beer, also known as Bia Saigon, is a Vietnamese lager beer that is the flagship product of the Saigon Beer-Alcohol-Beverage Corporation (Sabeco). The beer is a leading beer brand in Vietnam, with a history of over 148 years. It is recognized as a National Brand and is also a member of the Berlin Beer Academy.
It is a light, refreshing lager with a slightly sweet taste. This popular beer is available in a variety of sizes, including cans, bottles, and kegs. It is one of the most popular beers in Vietnam such as Tiger beer, and it is also exported to other countries in Southeast Asia, Europe, and the United States.
2. Bia Hoi
Bia Hoi is a fresh beer that is unpasteurized and unfiltered. It is typically served at street stalls and restaurants in Vietnam. Bia Hoi has a slightly cloudy appearance and a tart, refreshing taste. It is typically served in a glass mug or plastic cup.
Bia Hoi is typically brewed using rice, malt, and water. The beer is fermented for a short period of time, usually only a few days. This results in a light, refreshing beer with a low alcohol content. Bia Hoi is a popular drink in Vietnam. It is often served in small, informal bars, typically located in the streets or in small alleyways.
3. Bia Larue
Bia Larue is one of the popular beer brands that has been around since 1909 and is currently owned by the Dutch beer giant Heineken Vietnam.
It has a crisp, refreshing taste and a slightly hoppy aroma. Bia Larue is popular among both locals and tourists, and it is available in a variety of sizes, including cans, bottles, and kegs.
Larue bottled beer is suitable for intimate meetings in popular bars, enjoying the cool taste of beer with intimate “bottle-clinking” scenes. Larue bottled beer has a capacity of 330 ml, an alcohol content of 4.2%, packed in a case of 24 bottles, reference price is about 135,000 VND/carton. Larue green can is for those who want to enjoy a canned beer with a low alcohol content of only 4.2%. Chilled Larue Green canned beer brings a highly refreshing feeling, good refreshment when enjoying, a mild beer taste, sweet aftertaste.
4. Huda Beer
Huda Beer is a traditional Vietnamese beer brewed and bottled in Huế, Vietnam, by Hue Breweries Ltd. It has a slightly hoppy bouquet and is aromatic and refreshing, making it a favorite beer among many domestic and foreign consumers. Huda Beer has won several awards in international competitions, including a silver medal at the World Beer Championships in 2013.
It has a slightly sweet taste and a clean, refreshing finish. Huda Beer is popular among both locals and tourists, and it is available in a variety of sizes, including cans, bottles, and kegs.
5. 333 Beer
333 Premium Export Beer is a beer brewed in Vietnam by Sabeco Brewery. It was originally named 33 Beer, pronounced “Ba Mười Ba” in Vietnamese, which means “thirty-three”, then changed the name of the beer to “Bia 333”.
33 Beer’s name was derived from its original 33-centiliter (11.2 ounces) bottles from the early 1900s. 33 Beer originated in France using a German recipe and ingredients for rice beer. It acquired the German label 33 at the turn of the century. Production later moved to Saigon (now Ho Chi Minh City) and it became one of the leading beers in Vietnam.
The beer is available in the American market, as well as in Canada, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, and Australia. It has a crisp, refreshing taste and a slightly hoppy aroma.
6. Pasteur Street Brewing Company
This is an American-style craft brewery located in the heart of Saigon, Vietnam. They incorporate local herbs, fruits, and other ingredients into traditional beer styles to create a unique product for the global market. The brewery produces a variety of different styles of beer, including IPAs, stouts, and sours.
The beers are popular among locals and tourists alike, and they have won numerous awards at international beer competitions. Since serving their first beer in January 2015, they have become more than just a brewery. Pasteur Street has become a lifestyle and an innovative leader in the craft beer community in Vietnam.
7. Winking Seal Beer Company
Winking Seal Beer Company is another Vietnamese craft beer that is based in Saigon. The brewery produces a variety of different styles of beer, including IPAs, stouts, and porters. They are committed to producing environmentally friendly products and have launched beWater, a plastic-free, environmentally-friendly mineral water brand.
Winking Seal Beer Company’s beers are popular among locals and tourists alike, and they have won numerous awards at international beer competitions.
8. Platinum Craft Beer
Platinum Beer is a pure Vietnamese craft beer brand first launched in 2014 by founder-brewer Michael Comerton. This was the beginning that changed the way consumers look at beer. Currently, Vietnam has about 40 craft beer brands and has attracted attention from famous media channels such as CNN or Munchies.
They offer a variety of beers, including their Pale Ale which is made with new-world hops and has hints of peach, guava, lychee, and orange blossom. For example, Keller is an unfiltered beer, so you can feel the aroma of fresh tangerine and natural pine. Premium hops give Keller a mildly bitter taste with a balanced, refreshing aftertaste. Platinum East Sea Summer Ale has the characteristic mild bitterness of hops combined with fresh grapefruit to create a naturally cool flavor. This beer has the aroma of herbs and the aftertaste of grass and orange peel.
9. Heart Of Darkness Craft Beer
During Founder & CEO John Pemberton’s time living in New York City in the 2000s, he fell in love with the American craft beer scene and its never-ending pursuit of quality and innovation. And that love materialized when Heart of Darkness was founded in 2016 by a group of friends living in Saigon, with the goal of becoming Asia’s premium craft beer brand.
Heart of Darkness produces over 100 new beers a year and has collected numerous medals in competitions around the Pacific Rim, including Champion Pilsner (2021) and Champion Pale Ale of Asia (2022) at the Asia Beer Championships.
KURTZ’S INSANE IPA is Heart of Darkness’ biggest, hoppiest beer. It is a wonderfully vibrant beer, with grapefruit and piney tones, that delivers a full-blown assault on your taste buds. This is a big, but beautifully balanced IPA, with a bright and fun bitter flavor – a true hop head’s delight.
10. East West Brewing Company
East West Brewing Company is a microbrewery and kitchen concept located in District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. They offer a variety of handcrafted beers and food, and are open daily from 11 am to 0 am, with extended hours on Thursday through Saturday.
East West Brewing Co. is one of Vietnam’s first microbreweries with award-winning craft beers, birthed from a dream to provide world-class craft beer to our Vietnamese community. They create a wide variety of beers made up of both global and local ingredients.
The winning flagship Craft Beer East West Pale Ale provides a perfect balance of English malts with Australian and American hops. This delightfully crisp and handcrafted ale is the toast of Saigon.
Tips To Enjoy Beer In Vietnam
Here are a few tips for exploring and appreciating the rich beer culture of Vietnam during your visit:
- Visit a local brewery: There are a number of craft breweries in Vietnam that produce award-winning beers. Visit a brewery to learn about the brewing process and to try some of their beers on tap.
- Try Bia Hoi: Bia Hoi is a fresh beer that is unpasteurized and unfiltered. It is typically served at street stalls and restaurants in Vietnam. Bia Hoi has a slightly cloudy appearance and a tart, refreshing taste. It is a great way to experience the authentic Vietnamese beer culture.
- Order beer with your meals: Beer is often served with meals in Vietnam. It is a great way to wash down the delicious Vietnamese cuisine.
- Socialize with locals: Vietnamese people are friendly and welcoming, and they love to share their beer culture with visitors. Strike up a conversation with a local at a bar or restaurant and learn about their favorite beers and beer-drinking culture.
Let’s Give A Shot To Vietnamese Beer
Vietnamese beer is a popular beverage in Vietnam, and it is enjoyed by people of all ages and social classes. Vietnamese beer is known for its light, refreshing taste and its affordability.
There is a diversity of Vietnamese beers available, from the popular brands of Hanoi Beer to award-winning beers of taste such as Vietnam Tiger Beer. Vietnamese beer is heavily influenced by French brewing traditions, as seen in the use of lager yeast and hops.
Vietnam has a rich beer culture, and there is no better way to experience it than by trying some of the local beers. Whether you are a fan of lagers, IPAs, or stouts, you are sure to find a Vietnamese beer that you enjoy. With its rich history, diverse brewing culture, and affordable prices, Vietnamese beer is definitely worth trying. So next time you are in Vietnam, be sure to explore the local beer scene and enjoy a cold one.