Best places to have beers in Hanoi

When you come to Hanoi, you may realize that people here love drinking beer so much as beer appears in every restaurant. For the Vietnamese, it’s become a culture of drinking beer as when drinking with the locals, there are some rules that you need to know.

In this article, Incredible Asia Journeys will introduce to you the beer’s history, the best places to have beers in Hanoi as well as some rules that you need to notice when drinking beers with the locals. Let’s get started.

1. When are beers first introduced in Hanoi?

Beers were first introduced to the Vietnamese by the French during the 19th century. At that time, in order to serve the demand of the French soldiers and introduce this new alcohol to the locals, Alfred Hommel founded the very first brewery in the capital of Vietnam - Hanoi. The company grew dramatically from only 30 workers initially to 300 workers after 45 years of operation.

Tourists love draft beer in Hanoi

As the Vietnamese always want to adapt to new things from abroad and like to use foreign products, once beers were brought to Vietnam, many noble local Vietnamese started to adopt this new kind of alcohol. Little by little, the price of beer was lowered down and beer became one of the most reasonably priced foreign drinks for the locals.

Until 1957, when the French left Vietnam, the state took Hommel’s company, and from that day, it became Hanoi’s official brewery called HABECO. Some of its products that you may see around are Hanoi beer (the most famous one), Hanoi Bold, Truc Bach beer, etc.

By that time, besides HABECO, many other breweries were also founded to target the potential consumer market of Hanoi, as well as Vietnam. The competition is among both local and foreign brands, making it more and more competitive.

According to the Vietnam Beer Alcohol Beverage Association (VBA), in 2017, beer consumption reached up to 4 billion liters which was expected to rise to 5.6 billion liters in the next 18 years. With this figure given, Vietnam was ranked at 3rd place in the list of the largest beer consumers within Asia, just after China and Japan. 

Bottles of beer are used as decor items

2. What types of beers to drink in Vietnam?

2.1. Bottled/canned beers

Although bottled/canned beers are considered not as fresh as craft/draft beer, it’s the most convenient choice for beer drinkers because they can be stored for a longer time thanks to the least exposure to the sunlight.

In Vietnam, you can see a lot of local beer labels everywhere, especially in restaurants. Some of the most common are Hanoi beer, Saigon beer, Truc Bach beer, Huda beer, 333 beer, etc. Most of them cost just around 10,000-20,000vnd per bottle or per can. Among those beers, Hanoi beer is the most commonly chosen in North Vietnam and is considered the best-bottled beer for Hanoi people.

Hanoi Beer

2.2. Draft beers (Bia Hoi)

Draft beer is the most common kind of beer for the Vietnamese. As it is made every day in the local breweries, draft beer is the freshest beer that you can try in Vietnam. Thanks to its containers (kegs), when drinking draft beers, you can sense the best of it as the taste and aroma are completely protected from the sunlight. However, because it has no preservatives, it can’t be preserved for a long time as bottled/canned beers.

In addition, draft beer is also the most inexpensive beer in Vietnam which costs around just 5,000vnd-10,000vnd for a cup in the draft beer bars. Thus, it’s worth trying once.

In Hanoi, the best place to grab a cup of beer is on Ta Hien Beer Street, coming here at night, you can experience drinking beer on a small chair and table and enjoy the nightlife vibe of the city. However, if you don’t like crowded places, you can come to any local beer place around the Hanoi Old Quarter which also offers the same price.

Drinking draft beer

2.3. Craft beers

Craft beer is produced by a microbrewery. This is very familiar to people in Ho Chi Minh City with some brands like Winking Seal, Pasteur Street Brewing, etc. The special thing about craft beer is that it is made with unique recipes that incorporate local ingredients (maybe fruits, coffee, etc.) into the process. The price of this beer is also the highest (around 90,000-130,000vnd).

If you want to try craft beers in Hanoi, there is a beer bar that has been receiving a plethora of rave reviews from customers called Hoa Vien Brauhaus. Hoa Vien Brauhaus is the very first brewery restaurant in Vietnam that serves the renowned Czech Republic draught beer called Pilsner Urquell. A special feature of this restaurant is that the architect had created a brewery system that has beer taps connecting the kegs to the dining table making customers’ drinking experience much more interesting.

Pasteur Street Brewing Company

Address: 1A Tang Bat Ho, Pham Dinh Ho, Hai Ba Trung, Hanoi

3. What to expect when drinking beers with the local Vietnamese?

3.1. Cheers in the Vietnamese way

When eating at any local Vietnamese restaurant, you might hear people say: “Mot, hai, ba, dzo!”. That is how Vietnamese people cheer when drinking alcohol. The louder people shout, the happier the toast is. Sometimes, it becomes a competition at the restaurants when different groups try to shout louder than others. This may sound quite weird to foreign tourists for the first time, but it’s quite fun doing this in Vietnam. One more thing to bear in mind is that when cheering, everyone has to stand up and hold their cup of beer or wine to show respect to the host, so remember to follow this norm.

3.2. Drinking challenge

When it comes to drinking in Vietnam, it’s a real challenge. The moment after cheering and before drinking is when the challenge will be set. There will be several people in the group who challenge others to drink 50% or even 100%, sometimes you can take it or not, sometimes it’s a must. For boys, normally it’s a must because if you didn’t finish your beers, it means you don’t respect the host of this toast. After finishing the challenge (100%), people will hold the cup upside down to show that they already did it and keep looking around to see whether others can finish it or not. 

4. Common foods that are often ordered along with beers

Besides drinking beer when having meals with friends or family, Vietnamese people (especially men) often go for a cup of beer in a local beer store after work for many reasons such as to relax after work or to build relationships with their business partners. Then, in those stores, besides beers, people will order some snacks along with it (which are called “mồi”). The snack is different between the 3 regions. In North Vietnam, they normally are peanut (boiled or roasted), Vietnamese sausage, jerky squid, etc. 

Some junk foods that are eaten with beer

Do you find this “the beer-drinking culture in Hanoi” article useful for you? Incredible Asia Journeys hope you have a great trip to this beautiful hectic city and have fun drinking beers with your family and friends here!

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