There are some local beers in different cities of Vietnam like "Hanoi beer", "Halida" (Hanoi), "Huda beer" (Hue) or "333" in Sai Gon. You also can find a lot of foreign beers produced in Vietnam such as Carlsberg, Tiger, Sanmiguel, Heineken, German fresh beer etc. However, the most popular local beer "Bia Hoi" has become one of interesting memories for foreign travellers while visiting north Vietnam. Please enjoy the following article about Bia Hoi.
Bia Hoi (Vietnamese fresh beer)
Bia Hoi (Vietnamese fresh beer) appeared in Vietnam in the 1890s, after the secrets of brewing were introduced by the French. Just one place, the Hommel brewery, turned out the stuff, and it was a fairly modest enterprise employing just 30 workers capable of producing 150 litres a day. The beer was also sold bottled, but it was so expensive that it was only for the very well to do.
After the exit of the French in 1954, the Hommel brewery was renamed the Hanoi Brewery. But the refreshing amber fluid still took a while to become popular – until, that is, the brewery hit on the novel idea of producing an instant draught beer known as Bia Hoi, literally translated as “fresh beer”.
The locals still didn’t think much of the drink; they preferred the traditional Vietnamese rice wine. Then the government clamped down on home production of spirits, and people began to realise that the legal alternative, Bia Hoi, made a refreshing, low-alcohol summer drink. It is now popular that Bia Hoi shops where the beverage is consumed provide one of the abiding images of northern Vietnam.
Bia Hoi is not merely a drink, it has become a whole culture and way of life. There are some 3,000 Bia Hoi shops in Hanoi. Bia Hoi is cheap enough – only 2,000 VND a glass at most, and considerably less in some places.
Foreigners too, both visitors and residents, have been seduced by Bia Hoi culture. Sitting on the pavement on a tiny plastic chair watching the world go by as evening falls, sinking a few glasses, coughing your guts up after trying the local tobacco water pipe – it’s all wonderful entertainment. It’s also fun watching Vietnamese men, red faced from the alcohol, engaging in sudden heated arguments and then just as suddenly making up and falling around helpless with laughter.
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