• Vietnam Beer Review

    As promised, here is the much anticipated Vietnam Beer Review!


    The two main brands of beer in Vietnam are called Saigon and Hanoi. Unsurprisingly, Hanoi is the popular brand in the north, while Saigon is the flagship of the south. There are a bunch of smaller breweries that have their own brands, but they are generally a bit rougher than the established beers.


    Saigon, or 333 as it is called if it is served in a can (the nickname became the name – it contains 333 milliliters of beer), is a pleasant but unimposing lager. Being very light, it works well with the local food. It is also a nice refresher on a hot day – and Vietnam has plenty of those. I was totally OK with this beer, especially since bars sell it for about 50 US cents.




    So, how about Hanoi, the other Vietnamese beer? I think it definitely holds its own, but I have to give the edge to Saigon. Hanoi is another light and drinkable lager, different from Saigon in the way that it has a hoppier edge. It is also pretty dry, and with some sort of bitter remnant that I think may be due to quality issues, or perhaps just storage issues.



    This one is called LaRue – it’s the new and upcoming beer around these parts. The label purports it to be brewed with the original recipe from way back when – see, there was a LaRue beer back when the French ruled the country, but it was discontinued for all the obvious reasons. The present brewers just resumed production, they say. What about the beer itself? It is nice and very, very light. Almost not a beer at all. While this works well with the climate, I felt that there were better choices almost everywhere (except at the Mui Ne happy hour!).



    In the end, we found this guy to be the winner: Saigon special. It’s the Saigon brewery’s premium beer, and it is the only one I found that I felt I would buy if I was outside Vietnam. A light yet tasty beer, well balanced and well executed. Yum! Start exporting it, please!


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    This entry was posted on Friday, July 3rd, 2009 at 11:33 am and is filed under Notes From the Road. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
  • Anonymous

    The origins of beer are in the Eastern part of the world so… Vietnam should have some beer brands that could compete on the market. I have never tasted a Vietnamese beer, but I do plan on visiting many countries in that region, so… hopefully I will drink some Saigon Special.
    Beer of the month

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