Pasteur Street Brewing

(Hanoi, Vietnam)

Not so far off of the beaten path, in the shadow of Saint Joseph’s Cathedral lies Pasteur Street Brewing Company.  Prior to our arrival The Editor and I stumbled on to some amazing pho and cam tam nearby and bought come communist propaganda posters.  Once settle we split some quick nachos, I started with a flight, and The Editor rocked a glass.
First up was Passion Fruit Wheat.  Much like the last one I had in Vietnam- this one was great.  I was unable to squeeze much info out of anyone or anything nearby, as to if the local passion fruit is just that top notch, but this brew captures the essence of passion fruit better than anything I’ve ever had in the States.  Tart, tangy, and really well done.
Brew two was really disappointing.  Jasmine IPA isn’t worth the glass space.  I always try not to be too harsh when I write, but I didn’t like anything about this beer.
Pomelo IPA, on the other hand, impressed.  I wasn’t over the moon about it, but The Editor thought it was so nice she ordered it twice.  Again, there’s a raw component to Pasteur’s beers. This IPA balanced hops with pomelo perfectly: sweet citrus without bitterness.
Next up was Spice Island Saison.  I think I’ve come into my own when it comes to saisons:  I like them big and bold and I also enjoy a mellow, tartness.  This one just didn’t have “it”. I didn’t hate the spicy start, but there wasn’t a lot going on in the finish.
Coffee Porter was a bit of a dud as well.  I wouldn’t call myself a “coffee drinker”, but it’s grown on me.  That being said, I’m ok with my stouts and porters tasting like coffee, not with them actually being coffee…
Finishing the flight was an Irish Stout.  This brew wasn’t your typical dry Irish and not all Irish stouts are created equal. This brew is semi-sweet on nitro and really I enjoyed it.
It should be worth noting that, although I’m aware the owner and/or brewer would never say something like this- the waitress did tell me that the porter, Irish stout, and Cyclo were “all the same” Finally, I had a gut feeling about Cyclo Imperial Stout, so instead of putting it on the flight, I doubled down and got the full snifter… worth it!  This WBC gold medal winner in the chocolate stout category was worth every sip. I know I’ve been starved for good stouts over here in Asia, that notwithstanding, there’s a short list of beers that match the quality of this brew. Locally sourced cocoa nibs and vanilla beans coupled with just a hint of cinnamon and velvety smooth texture and there’s no wonder why this beer had me head over heels.  I suppose if you were someone who liked to complain just for the sake of complaining you could say that Cyclo’s 10.something% came in tasting a bit boozy and almost made me wonder if this stout was barrel aged. I guess I just like a little more booze in my…booze. Sue me.
When rating breweries I try not to compare to others and let them stand on their own feet.  This time, however, I find myself comparing a little and thinking rather hard about it. I was truly impressed with Turtle Lake the day before and though, overall Turtle Lake’s line-up impressed me more as a whole I haven’t had a beer in a long time that impressed me as much as Cyclo stout did.  Truly world class. I give Pasteur Street Brewing Company a 9.1 out of 10.

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