Courtesy of the National Restaurant Association’s “SmartBrief” newsletter, I direct you to an upcoming New York Times Travel section story on the surprisingly robust beer scene in Vietnam. The author, Russ Juskalian, tells a fascinating tale of a beer trip through the “long slender” land, centering on Hanoi and revelling all the way at the sheer “unexpectedness” of it all.
While Mr. Juskalian’s interpretation of the brewing process may be a little less than spot on – beer that is “made before the sun rises, and often imbibed before the sun sets”? – what I found most remarkable about this mainstream story was the way he writes about the beer he samples on his journey. Can anyone here imagine even five years ago a major media story describing a beer as having a “bitter hops flavor somewhere between a typical Czech pilsner and a Munich-style lager”? Or mentioning for context the “double I.P.A.’s, imperial stouts and other high-alcohol, high-impact beers popular with American craft brewers”?
As Uncle Jack – who found this story apparently moments before I did – notes, “how the world do change over time.”
2 Replies to “Another Pause in My California Reportage: Vietnam!”
I’ve lived in Vietnam for two years now, and I personally thought that Juskalian’s piece was a little misleading. I wrote about this on my blog, but the main point is that it’s a bit premature to suggest embarking on a beer tour of Vietnam.
A piece on the culture of bia hoi joints would work, as would a focus on the novelty of breweries in HCMC, but there’s no beer movement under way in Vietnam, and certainly no worthwhile trail to follow.