In Vietnam, Traveling an Unlikely Beer Trail

Filling beer bottles at Hoa Vien in Ho Chi Minh City.

(Picture: Arantxa Cedillo for The New York Times)

“For the first-time visitor to Vietnam, the variety of local and regional beers can be surprising. It seems each city has a beer named after it (Bia Can Tho, Bia Thai Binh, Bia Saigon, Bia Hanoi, Bia Hue, and so on), and the best of the bunch depends on whom you ask and where you’re asking. But in recent decades, Vietnamese beer culture has morphed, adopting traditional European styles as well as embracing a uniquely ephemeral home-grown brew called bia hoi. (See article after this post- Prof. GA)The latter is so popular that to many of the roughly four million people who visit Vietnam each year, drinking bia hoi on the streets of Hanoi is as emblematic of a trip to Southeast Asia as ordering pad Thai in Bangkok.”

“Ho Chi Minh City is home to a handful of European-style microbreweries, most of which are centrally located in District 1 and some of which claim to brew their beer according to the Bavarian purity law known as the Reinheitsgebot. This trend took off in 2001 when Hoa Vien, which had previously been importing Pilsner Urquell, built a Euro-style brewery inside the restaurant with the help of experts from the Czech Republic. Other breweries followed, trying to tap into a domestic beer culture that stretches back at least to the 1890s (that’s when the Habeco brewery, now state run, was founded by French colonialists), was revitalized during the Vietnam War in the 1960s, and currently produces more than 2 billion liters of beer a year.”

Delivering Bia Ha Noi, a Vietnamese beer.

(Picture: Arantxa Cedillo for The New York Times.)

Link to rest of article

Bia Hoi – Morning Brew

Steve Knode for

(Much older article that describes the Bia Hoi “style” more in depth-Prof. GA)

“I like a good beer buzz early in the morning.” Sheryl Crow’s lyrics come to mind as my wife and I each pull up a tiny stool to a tiny table in a tiny joint off of a busy road in Hanoi. It’s not yet noon.

What’s our poison? Today it’s what the locals call bia hoi, or what we might simply call beer. But this ain’t any old brew. No, this is a special Vietnamese concoction that is widely available in small eateries and other dives. Call it a micro-brew. Better yet, call it a micro-, micro-brew. Call it local moonshine, even.

Bia hoi isn’t a brand of beer, so much as it’s a type of beer. Continue reading “Bia Hoi – Morning Brew”

Help Legalize Homebrewing in Alabama

(From the Brewer’s Association)

The American Homebrewers Association is working with a group of homebrewers in Alabama to legalize homebrewing in the state.
Senate Bill 153, which would legalize homebrewing in Alabama, has been assigned to the Senate Tourism and Marketing Committee.

Dear Alabama AHA, BA and Support Your Local Brewery Members,

Thanks to all of your calls, SB153 passed favorably from the Senate Tourism and Marketing Committee in an unscheduled vote on Tuesday, February 9, proof that phone calls to your elected officials work!
Continue reading “Help Legalize Homebrewing in Alabama”

From the Bottle Collection and From the Brew Biz Archives

Without intent, I have collected well over 1,000 beer bottles since the early 70s. When something finally had to be done about the cheap paneling in this old modular, I had a choice. Tear down the walls while, oh, so carefully, replacing the often rotted 1X3s. Or: cover them with… The Bottle Collection.

Written by Ken Carman

The growler you see above is from a brewpub that went dark: and I don’t mean “dark beer,” and then reopened as “Blue Canoe.” I haven’t been back and I’ve been told there’s a new brewer who is still getting use to the concept of brewing.

Yes there is a smudge in the growler I couldn’t get out. I bought it as a collector’s item so, like a lot of my growlers, it has never had beer in it.

Below you will find a review I did, I believe it was in the 2006 Fall edition of the Score; a publication of The Music City Brewers .

Brew Biz: Werts and All

by Ken Carman

Four Sons Brewery
113 S. Franklin Street
Titusville, PA 16354

Brewer: Doug Caldwell

Titusville Lager
Plissken Lager
Heavy K (Wee Heavy)
Rebecca’s Revenge (Schwartzbier)

Other beers sampled that day…

(peat) Rye PA, smoked Amber (YUM!), Oat Coffee Stout

Where the hell is Titusville, PA?
Continue reading “From the Bottle Collection and From the Brew Biz Archives”

What I Got For Valentines Day: The V Vessel

Written by John Biggs for Crunch Gear

While you may be thinking, given my current reviews streak, that the V Vessel involves the genitals and/or aliens dressed up like humans who live among us only to spring out and attack us with the time is ripe, it, in fact, does not. In fact, the V Vessel is a brewing vessel designed to hold up to 23 liters of liquid. It allows you to produce alcoholic beverages in the comfort of your own home and prevents many of the major headaches associated with home-brewing.

Continue reading “What I Got For Valentines Day: The V Vessel”

A Concise History of America’s Brewing Industry

Written by Martin H. Stack, Rockhurst University, courtesy

1650 to 1800: The Early Days of Brewing in America

Brewing in America dates to the first communities established by English and Dutch settlers in the early to mid seventeenth century. Dutch immigrants quickly recognized that the climate and terrain of present-day New York were particularly well suited to brewing beer and growing malt and hops, two of beer’s essential ingredients. A 1660 map of New Amsterdam details twenty-six breweries and taverns, a clear indication that producing and selling beer were popular and profitable trades in the American colonies (Baron, Chapter Three). Despite the early popularity of beer, other alcoholic beverages steadily grew in importance and by the early eighteenth century several of them had eclipsed beer commercially.

Between 1650 and the Civil War, the market for beer did not change a great deal: both production and consumption remained essentially local affairs. Bottling was expensive, and beer did not travel well. Nearly all beer was stored in, and then served from, wooden kegs. While there were many small breweries, it was not uncommon for households to brew their own beer. In fact, several of America’s founding fathers brewed their own beer, including George Washington and Thomas Jefferson (Baron, Chapters 13 and 16).

1800-1865: Brewing Begins to Expand

Continue reading “A Concise History of America’s Brewing Industry”

Great Alaska Beer Fest 2010

Tom Dalldorf for Celebrator

Alaskans are a sturdy bunch. Independent and resourceful, they are in survival mode for much of their existence in the wilds of the Last Frontier. Included in “travel gear” are water, blankets, Spam or jerky and a good supply of duct tape (called 100-mile-an-hour tape). Downtown Anchorage is a bit more civilized, with modern hotels, shops, restaurants and pubs. Scattered around the biggest state in the U.S. (with one of the smallest populations) are an impressive collection of breweries and brewpubs (more per capita than any other state?) catering to the eclectic tastes of its hearty inhabitants.

Once a year, during the dead of winter (the summer is far too busy for such foolishness), the Alaskan brewers and beer fans converge on the “big city” of Anchorage for the annual Great Alaska Beer & Barley Wine Festival. Traveling 300 to 800 miles to a beer fest is a challenge for most brewers and beer geeks, but in Alaska it means over roads that can be covered in snow, with temps plunging to –30ºF. For this year’s festival, the weather was milder, with highs in the upper 20s and lows in the teens — a regular heat wave for those rugged inhabitants.

Aurora Productions did another superb job of organizing a great beer show. Fest founder Billy Opinsky of Humpy’s Alehouse did yeoman’s work in bringing the best Alaskan beers together, along with excellent offerings from the Pacific Northwest and beyond in the Lower 48. Classic European beers were also available to provide a truly excellent cross section of great beer for interested Alaskan beer lovers, and an inspiration to local brewers and homebrewers alike.

For rest of article, please click on this…


The Technical Edge: Washing Your Yeast

No, that’s not the Blob that ate the brewer. A mixture of diatomaceous earth and yeast. DE is used for filtering. Picture from Wiki Commons

Written by Brad Smith for Beer Smith

Note: Professor GA does not recommend washing and reusing yeast that you bought in a dried form. Drying yeast stresses it. Best start with a new yeast if it was dried.

Washing yeast to reuse it in another batch of beer is a great technique to have in your home brewing arsenal. Yeast washing is a simple process used to separate the live yeast from the underlying trub (hops and spent grains) left at the bottom of your fermenter when making beer.

Continue reading “The Technical Edge: Washing Your Yeast”