There are an innumerable amount of types, flavors, colors, varieties and origins of beers. One in particular that stands out is Vietnamese beer. There are four interesting types of Vietnamese beers that we will focus on.
The most popular beer in Vietnam is called Bia Hoi. This is more like a traditional draft beer, but is not sold like beers anywhere else in the world. Bia Hoi is made by about 300 different breweries around the country. Bia Hoi is similar to a micro-brewery in that there are no preservatives because it normally consumed on the day it was brewed.
Bia Hoi can be found all throughout the country in bars, cafes, and street vendors. It is collected from the brewery in 100 liter barrels, then either sold to small establishments in plastic containers or used in large bars. Bia Hoi normally costs about 25 U.S. cents per glass, and is usually served with ice. Unbelievable, about 3 to 4 hundred thousand liters of Bia Hoi are served in Hanoi every day.
Canned beer is beginning to gain popularity in Vietnam, and there are two main types. The “333” is a rice-flavored beer that has a noticeable bitter taste. It is made by the Saigon Beer Company, who also makes the Saigon Lager and Saigon Export. Three thirty-three was developed in France in 1893, and was originally named “33”. The name changed in 1975.
Hue Beer is a 5.0% pilsner which is made by the Hue Brewery. It has a pleasant gold color and a quickly disappearing head. Hue beer has a rice aroma and a dry taste to it. In addition to Hue beer, the Hue Brewery also makes a Huda and Festival beer to be sold in the Vietnamese market place.
Lastly is the Saigon Lager. As mentioned above, the Saigon lager is made by the Saigon Beer Company. The Saigon Lager is a 4.7% alcohol beer that has a very potent Asian rice flavor that seems to be common to a lot of Vietnamese beer. The Saigon Lager has a clear gold color and contains a thin, soapy white head.
All the main beers that are brewed in Vietnam are very similar. The possible deciding factor for someone would be their personal taste. There is no right or wrong, good or bad when it comes to Vietnamese beer. If they prefer a more traditional taste, then either the Bia Hoi or the Saigon Lager would most likely be their best bet. However, if they can handle the bitter bite, then either the 333 or the Hue beer would be their cup of tea. All of them are unique in their own way, and all of them offer a mouthful of flavors. If it just so happens that you are travelling to Vietnam any time soon, be sure and try one or all of these brewed masterpieces.