The craft beer boom that’s been rippling across the United States for the past 15 years has reached Vietnam and is only gaining steam. Expats, tourists and locals raised on Saigon Red have been overwhelmingly enthusiastic about the new bevy of options. Peak economic conditions have only added to the craze. For the best craft brews in town, head to any one of our personal favourites.
Bar, Contemporary, $$$
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Biacraft's relaxing terrace | Sam Roth
Biacraft may very well be the king of crafts in Saigon. This ever popular District 3 establishment is a hit with locals and expats, serving up more craft beer than anywhere else in the city. Prices are on par with most craft beer joints, $5-$7 a pint, but the options are endless. At times Biacraft can have more than 50 different brews on tap. The airy terrace is a great place for an after work beer or a night out with friends. The wing’s aren’t bad either. Biacraft has grown so popular that a second location, in the uber-Western neighbourhood of Thao Dien, has opened up.
One of the first craft brewers to change Saigon’s drinking landscape, Pasteur Street has pumped out over 200 different brews since 2014. Finding this little brew pub can be a bit of a challenge, but not one you’ll regret any time soon. The beer being served isn’t entirely Western and it shouldn’t be. Instead, most concoctions have some sort of Vietnamese flare to them. After all, this is a drinking culture and Pasteur Street doesn’t aim to change it, only expand upon it.
An easy-going mix of expats and locals with a great downtown location, Malt serves up a constantly revolving variety of local and foreign craft favourites. Prices aren’t any higher than other craft sellers and the line-up of pints is always interesting and refreshing. Malt also has a shuffleboard table, two dart boards, a friendly front patio and the best pastrami in town. If Heineken’s your style, go right ahead. If it’s a Pasteur Street Jasmine IPA calling your name, they’ve got that too.
Heart of Darkness only opened in 2016, yet since then their beer has become a favourite across town. It can be found everywhere from District 7 barbecue joints to Thao Dien expat haunts, and for good reason. For the most fun, head to their District 1 location. Offering everything from west coast IPA’s to rich and creamy 9% imperial stouts, this is a beer drinker’s brew-pub.
Khoai is one of the hippest young bars around. So hip that it’s the impetus behind a Western bar scene in the midst of a Japanese neighbourhood that’s in turn in the midst of a very Vietnamese district. The craft beer here ranges from the local to the far off and is never dull or easily replicated. Instead local home brews are served alongside international giants.