The regional craft beer conference, Brew Asia, now in its 8th year, has arrived in Saigon for a deep dive into the industry’s past, present and future. And, following the two-day event, Saigon’s friendly neighborhood craft beer bar, Rehab Station, will host Brew Fest 2023 featuring their favorite Vietnam-based craft beer brands, some of which are well known and others that are start-up micro-breweries.
Đọc bài viết bằng Tiếng Việt
And so, following the Brew Asia event, Brew Fest, on October 21st, will welcome 3T Brewing, Magic Barrel, AVA Brewery, BitterSweet, Bazan, C-Brewmaster, Deme, Five Elements Brewing Co., Gấu Việt Brewing Co., Origins, Fuzzy Logic, Labtory, and Rooster Beers.
“That mix is exactly what we want,” Dave Byrn, founder of Crafted Beverage Solutions and co-organizer of Brew Fest along with partner Valerie and Tuan from host venue Rehab Station, tells us, “we want to support the little guys and empower those that are new to the industry as much as celebrate the successes.”
“Big, bold craft beers are definitely more to my taste”
That kind of supportive attitude pervades the craft beer industry in Vietnam.
“Aside from our own beers, I really like the Pineapple Sour from Pasteur Street Brewing Company,” Phuong, from AVA Brewing, tells us.
“But that’s why I love this industry – in everyone’s craft beer there are all these layers of emotion. The sheer volume of different craft beers also means there’s one for you, whatever the occasion. And that’s whether you like a lighter ale, something with fruity undertones, or a thick, chocolate-y stout.”
Truong, the founder and brewer at Saigon’s 3T Brewing Co., says he could go for a beer from Hanoi-based Labtory Brewing Company right now. “I like their Sa Huynh. Besides the beers we make, it’s my favorite craft beer in the country right now, hands down.”
Save The Long-Winded Explanations And Try The Beer
But, we’re getting ahead of ourselves. As three lesser-known Vietnam-based craft beer brands, the self-introductions should probably come first.
“To help you understand what we do at AVA Brewing, I’d save the long-winded descriptions and let you try our coffee stout,” Phuong explains. “Key to our product is the coffee beans we use. We played around a lot with the mix of Arabica and Robusta beans until we felt the ratio was right. And we’d make sure we roasted the beans right before brewing, to get the full flavor.”
“We’re just a small craft brewing company, among many in Asia,” 3T’s Truong says modestly. “But we’re intent on making some really special beers.”
“Our Daklak IPA is a good example. We brew using coffee honey and coffee flowers from the Central Highlands. I think it’s a really special beer and also really indicative of the beers we’re trying to create.
“From BitterSweet, I’d let you try our Smoke Beer,” Tinh joins in. “It’s personally very meaningful because it was the first beer I ever made, and, inevitably, memories of making it are intertwined with the ups and downs of my life at that time. Thankfully, the feedback was good – people really seemed to love it – which gave me the incentive to continue.”
Everything Is Possible In The Craft Beer Industry
“That’s the great thing,” Phuong nods, having listened intently to the others, “I feel like everything is possible in the craft beer brewing industry. Personally, I’ve tried beers brewed with anise, cinnamon, and even durian and jackfruit. This is our uniqueness and something you simply don’t find in commercial beers.”
“And there’s always new trends emerging,” Tinh agrees. “Brew Asia’s a great indicator of lots of them – the latest ingredients, processes, and equipment can help us. It’s useful. Events like these help brewers to improve the efficiency of their brewhouse, to gather some fresh creative ideas, while delivering crucial business development insights for future growth.
There’s just so much potential in the industry…and so much to learn,” Truong smiles.
Getting Ready For Brew Fest 2023
All three – AVA Brewing, BitterSweet, and 3T Brewing are looking forward to joining Brew Fest.
“OK, although I told you to cut the talking and just try the beer earlier, I think we all love talking endlessly about craft beer,” Phuong laughs. “And Brew Fest 2023 will be a great chance to do just that.”
“Totally,” Truong concurs, “It should be great, with presentations about craft beer, and lots of brew masters in attendance, whose brains we can all pick. And, of course, there’ll be lots of craft beer to try.”
“For me, chances to share and congregate like this are the essence of the industry,” Tinh nods. “Guests will not only enjoy a variety of selected special beers but also hear interesting stories about craft beer – so get ready for an enriching experience for your mind…and your taste buds!”
Learn more about Brew Fest 2023 here.