“You’re from Philadelphia?”
John Reid’s eyes lit up as we affirmatively answered his question confirming our home city. Reid, Co-owner and General Manager of Pasteur Street Brewing Company in Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam, has a sweet spot for Philly since Saigon’s first craft brewery won for best chocolate beer at the prestigious Word Beer Cup, which was hosted by the City of Brotherly Love this May.
After drinking more than our fair share of lager in Southeast Asia over the past three months, we were thrilled to stumble upon Pasteur Street’s hidden second floor tap room with a dynamic selection of craft beer. Though the brewery produces typical styles like Saison, IPA and Porter, their use of Southeast Asian ingredients like passion fruit, coconut and jasmine is a differentiating factor that makes the beer unique and exciting.
During our two visits, the Cyclo Imperial Chocolate Stout and the Nitro Imperial Coffee Brown Ale stood out as the truly special beers. Vietnam’s ecosystem is ideal for growing both chocolate beans and coffee beans, giving Pasteur Street easy access to the some of the world’s best ingredients. Both of these brews are deeply flavorful with alcohol volumes of 13% and 4.5% respectively, and both go down quite easily.
Perhaps it was the Philly connection that motivated Reid to invite us for a private tour of the brewery’s Long An facility. After enduring an hour-long taxi ride from Saigon to learn more about the local craft brewer, Assistant Brewer Ryan Lemish let us help with the mash before he poured us tastings fresh from the tanks. We ended the tour by toasting chance meetings and good beer.
Though Pasteur Street’s beer is only available in Vietnam now, don’t be surprised if the beer shows up on Philly’s beer shelves before long – at least that’s what we’re hoping.
Daryl and Mindi Hirsch