(Ho Chi Min, Vietnam)
I don’t normally review a brewery I’ve never physically been to, but I had so many amazing beers by East West that I’ll never be able to find again, so I thought it appropriate. From guest beers at other breweries to beer houses to random hole-in-the-walls and from Ho Chi Min to Hanoi- Vietnam is crawling with East West brews. I had one every time I saw it on the menu and I didn’t hate a single one.
The first one I found at a beautiful corner pub, 20 feet from the river in Hoi An was Saigon Rose. This ale starts with a wheat backbone, but is absolutely bursting with sweet, ripe berries. Perfect.
Further down the menu, in the same location, immediately following Saigon Rose was Summer Hefeweizen. Not quite as impressive is his brother, but this unfiltered semi-dry Hefe really hit the spot on a hot muggy evening.
I think a lot of how I judge IPAs these days is based on how they’re marketed or what the brewer wants you to taste. In the age of oversold hazy juice bombs and big bretts that taste more like champagne, it’s nice to have a regular IPA that doesn’t taste like anything crazy and also doesn’t taste like water. Far East IPA was just that. Maybe a little too heavy to be pounding back on the front porch, but a nice, middle of the road, well balance IPA nonetheless.
My favorite find was their Coffee Vanilla Porter. Just enough, but not too much, coffee with just enough sweet malts and power punch of vanilla at the finish make for a truly awesome beer. This beer was smooth and richer than many stouts I’ve had in this part of the world and my only regret is that I didn’t have 10.
To be fair, when I had the last brew on this list: Belgian Dark, I was at least halfway, if not all the way, in the bag. I remember some juicy dark fruits and a little chocolate, but I couldn’t even manage to take a picture… not even a bad one. So, there ya have it.
No official ranking for East West, as I didn’t actually go there, but I recommend you search them out if you’re anywhere nearby.
‘Til next time, vô!