Or is this German beer with a Vietnamese twist? This Saigon brewery located not far from the Notre Dame Cathedral on Nguyen Du Street should be a destination for anyone in town looking for beer beyond Tiger and Saigon.
The brewer is Vietnamese but learned in Germany and speaks English but with a German accent.
It’s located in an old villa with tables for four and a few communal tables for larger groups down the center of the bar room. The outside patio is a nice sort of beer garden which you need to pass through from the front gate to enter the brewpub. A couple of vintage BMW motorcycles are waiting in the foyer.
We were early in the afternoon and when we walked in the staff was gathered in back chatting. No one really looked at us. The bartender had nothing to say or offer us when we stepped to the bar. It was all quite weird. Online reviews speak of horrific service, but what we experienced was so bad it became humorous. Rather than waving to the help, we decided to stare at them to see how long it would take for someone to come see what the heck two people were doing sitting at a table in their place.
When we finally got a menu delivered, without a smile, I ordered just a small glass of their brown ale. I was the first customer of the day and I was pretty nervous it was going to come back putrid. If the place was always this empty, how old is the beer? Would they be pouring a glass of stale beer left over in the tap lines last night? What came to me was decently cold and properly delicious.
The brewing is claimed to be done according to the German Beer Purity Law (Reinheitsgebot), so only malt, hops, water, and yeast goes in. (There is, however, a weizen here. Wheat is a no-no under that old school rule, but I suppose the message is purity of ingredients and no cheapened adjuncts such as rice or something.) Expect a pilsner, something darker (a brown or a dunkel) and a weizen to be on tap. Schwarzbier on occasion if you are lucky.
The food menu offers some classic German fare (sausages, pate, etc.). In addition to the house-brewed beers there was a fridge of imported bottles, mostly German plus Belgians and Dutch perhaps. Anyone looking for a good beer in Ho Chi Minh City should try this place. Just brace yourself because it’s not just the beer that’s cold.
Nguyen Du Brauhof
98 Nguyễn Du, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Telephone: +84 (08)38226861
Open daily 11am-11pm