Beer drinking culture first appeared in Hanoi in 1890 with the city’s first beer brewery – established in the main to satiate the thirsts of French soldiers and as an option to Vietnamese workers who found it a tasty and thirst-quenching change to the traditional rice wines that they had been drinking for generations. Bia Hoi – or ‘fresh beer’ was born and has become synonymous with the beer drinking culture in Vietnam even till today. Quickly made, cheap and cold – no wonder many an invention or new idea has been started on the back of sipping a few while perched on a stool in one of Hanoi’s many streets or winding alleyways.
Beer culture in Hanoi for the next 100 years or so was the mainstay of Bia Hoi and Hanoi Beer. This all started to change in the early 1990’s thanks to the cooperation between Vietnamese brewers and their Czech counterparts. Eastern European traditional beer brewing techniques had started to find their way into Vietnam and beer halls started to pop up first in Ho Chi Minh City and not long after Hanoi.
Beer drinking culture in Hanoi experienced its greatest shift since 2015 with the exploding craft beer scene. There is now over 30 different breweries and a new brand seems to be released on almost a daily basis. But best yet is that local brewers are combining the best local ingredients with the usual mainstays to create flavours that are unlike anything that a craft beer connoisseur might expect.
So, what is the beer story and what does all this mean? Quite simply Vietnamese and Hanoians in particular love a good beer and the amber stuff has been flowing here for 130 years. And rather than having to hunt all over Hanoi trying to discover this for yourself you can simply contact Tan and Brett at Hanoi Beer Tour. The street snackers and beer hounds have been voted as having the best beer tour in Hanoi and will take you on the evolutionary beer ride of your life.