The Beerfest That Got Away.

All photos credited to Effa
If I told you there was a beer festival this past weekend, you would not have believed me. But, maybe you would considering this blog. However, there was one over in Cầu Giấy at Hanoi Ale House, which is a Vietnamese place, for well to do locals. It was not promoted very well online unless you happen to follow the Ale House. I only found out about it a couple of days before thanks to Thomas over at Furbrew. It appears he has become my beer informant as of late. So it was to no surprise that I was the only westerner that showed up to this thing. Sure there were westerners there, but all of them were the brewers or worked for the breweries. It was a Vietnamese event for the Vietnamese clientele of the Ale House. This was not something that I found very disappointing but rather I am glad about this fact. It is great to see the locals taking a liken to craft beer, and it was very different to a western event.

There were the usual differences with the food and entertainment. It was your typical fair of Vietnamese dishes and of course with the addition of french fries. The music was loud and your usual
Drum and Bass that the locals love so much. Moreover, while they did have a live act at first, it was a female singer performing some typical English pop songs which often I never heard most of them before. So very typical. The most notable difference was perhaps that at one point there was a belly dancer. Not something you would see at a western beer event. It makes perfect sense since from what Mark over at Platinum had told me. The craft beer market was to be promoted as a high-class thing for the upper class Vietnamese since the pricing is higher. It is seen as a luxury item. By the look of the event and even the way it was organized you could see that. If it were a western festival, we would be going up to the booths and getting our beers directly from the brewers while talking to them. However, the Vietnamese would sit down at a table or the long banquet table, and there would be waitresses going up to the booths and getting their order of the same beer repeatedly. Sure it is all very possible of a language barrier, but I was not even sure they went around and tried all the beers. Some did, but it was quick to see that this was just Craft Beer Bia Hoi fest. They treated it more like that. It was interesting to see this. Just how a western thing is blended into their culture. Growing up in America, you always saw how Asian culture was mixed into the western world now I get to see the flip side of things.

Even the way the breweries were isolated from the rest of the event. All the brewers with their booths and kegs were in the patio area which considering there was seven brewers there is was tight the area. It was separated from the food
areas. The breweries representing at the event was Pasteur Street, Fuzzy Logic, Phat Rooster, Te Te, Platinum, and LAC. All of whom if you are not familiar are brewers from Saigon. There as also Homie which is a homebrew and house beer of Ale House. It had seemed it was meant to be a showcase of the breweries from down south. If you have had a chance to try from all these breweries, then there was not much new. Pasteur Street had a Chocolate Coffee Brown Ale that was so robust and LAC had their Viet-Belgian Wit that was strong and smooth. Plus it was fun to try the Homebrew from Homie, which was a surprisingly good IPA.

Overall, it was nice to see how craft beer was enjoyed from a different perspective. And I am glad to know that the Vietnamese are starting to enjoy and appreciate the quality that can go into making beer. In part seeing those who come to enjoy the brews and some locals who make it themselves. All
of you missed this event, but then it would not have been the hidden gem it was. And what I got to experience. Of course, this is the curse of writing an article as it will not be hidden now that it is shared.