Best Beers Made in Vietnam

By: Vinh Dao

What is the best beer in Vietnam? Our team of beer experts taste tests 10 of Vietnam's most popular brews.

The variety of beer produced in Vietnam can be an enjoyable surprise to first time visitors and avid beer drinkers, as it seems that every city has a local brewery specialising in their own beer. Whether it’s sitting on a plastic chair in a humble Hanoi bia hoi or a chic brauhaus located on a bustling street in Saigon’s District 1, one thing is certain: despite the variety of alcoholic drinks you can find in the market, Vietnam is gaga over beer.

Best beer in VietnamImage source: ritadrinks.asia

Check our guide: Saigon Nightlife - The Best Bars and Clubs.

Talking to the City Pass staff about the nation’s favourite alcoholic drink, I also realised that Vietnamese are also quite tribal about beer! The debate for the best beer in Vietnam became a heated discussion and before it descended into fisticuffs, I thought it would be best to dive into the Vietnam beer market and hold a blind taste test, to put the debate to rest.

We amassed a wide range of Vietnamese beers both in bottles and cans, but also threw in a couple wild cards in for good measure. Here are the beers we tasted and a little blurb about them:

333

First produced in 1893, it was originally known as Beer 33. In the seventies, another digit was added and it is now known colloquially as “333”.

Best beer in VietnamImage source: roadsandkingdoms.com

Bia Hanoi

A pale lager produced by Habeco, it’s a bit hard to find in Saigon but omnipresent in Hanoi.

Best beer in VietnamImage source: theculturetrip.com

Heineken

A newish competitor in the Vietnam’s crowded beer market, it has done quite well in Vietnam with over 200 million litres sold per year!

Best beer in VietnamImage source: thuonghieuvietnoitieng.com

Saigon Green / Red / Special

One of the most ubiquitous beer brands in Vietnam, you will find at least one of the three “Saigon” branded beers in any bar in the country.

Best beer in VietnamImage source: channelnewsasia.com

Biere Larue

Established in 1909, this beer was named after Victor Larue, founder of the Brasseries et Placieres de L'Indochine Brewery. It was also known as “Tiger Beer” by American GIs stationed in Da Nang during the American War.

Best beer in VietnamImage source: alicdn.com

Huda

The name of this beer combines Hue (Hu) and Denmark (Da) and is hardly served in bars outside Central Vietnam, though it can be found in many convenience stores.

Best beer in VietnamImage source: flickr.com

Tiger

Brewed by the Asia Pacific Breweries, this brand is ubiquitous throughout Southeast Asia. In Vietnam it is one of the cheapest international beers you can buy.

Best beer in VietnamImage source: chumrestaurant.com

Zorok

Brewed in the Binh Duong Province, each bottle has 150 Calories, which is 16 percent less than the average beer.

Best beer in VietnamImage source: cungdimuasam.com

Disclaimer: For our blind beer tasting, none of our beer testers knew what they were drinking. The beer was tested specifically on taste, on a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being the best). I asked everyone to take a sip of water after each sip of beer to clean their palates (also to hopefully prolong enough sobriety to finish the test).

Best beer in VietnamImage source: biahoihn.wordpress.com

And the results from best to worst are…

RANK

BEER

RANK

BEER

1st

Bia Hanoi

6th

Tiger

2nd

333

7th

Heineken

3rd

Saigon Special

8th

Saigon Green

4th

Biere Larue

9th

Huda

5th

Saigon Red

10th

Zorok

These results were a bit of a shock for the whole staff as we expected the international players to place a little higher. Also, Bia Hanoi rated in the top two for both locals and foreigners which surprised quite a few of us. Several of the testers tried to guess the beers but failed miserably, not even getting a single beer correct. On a personal note, I rated Huda, one of my favourite beers very low in my ratings and for a second made me rethink my opinion of the beer. However, it was the last beer that I drank and it was a bit warm which made me ponder if beer in Vietnam needs to be served very cold for optimal taste.

The local staff rated Zorok as the worst tasting beer and rated 333 as the best tasting. Saigon Green came in dead last while Bia Hanoi came in first for the foreign staff. On a side note, Tiger beer came in first place for smell and aftertaste while Zorok also came in last place for aftertaste that made it a double loser.

Best beer in VietnamImage source: vn10pro.com

The staff had a great time trying out all the beers and it was obvious that some of us had been brandwashed by the marketing of certain brands. That being said, I will continue drinking my favourites even though my palate has told me otherwise.

What is your favourite ‘made in Vietnam’ beer? Comment down below! Or tell our #iAMHCMC Facebook Community and join the discussion.

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