(CNN) — As quickly because the solar units in Hanoi, Vietnam, there’s just one place to be: the nook of Ta Hien and Luong Ngoc Quyen streets.

Referred to as “Beer Nook”, this well-known intersection within the Previous Quarter lures vacationers and residents alike to socialize over ice-cold bia hoi (mild Vietnamese draft beer) atop tiny plastic stools.

A go to to Beer Nook is not nearly having fun with a couple of brews — it is also a window into the historical past of the town.

“In the event you actually need to stand up shut and private with the tradition of a brand new metropolis, particularly the tradition of the native individuals, it’s essential to stroll the sidewalks, sit on a stool and have a pleasant chilly beer,” Brett MacDouall, co-founder of Hanoi Beer Tour, tells CNN Journey.

“And that is what I like about Ta Hien Road.”

Bonding over beer

Bia hoi, Vietnam's draft beer, is the go-to refreshment on Ta Hien Street.

Bia hoi, Vietnam’s draft beer, is the go-to refreshment on Ta Hien Road.

HOANG DINH NAM/AFP/AFP/Getty Photographs

It is on Ta Hien Road the place MacDouall and co-founder Tan Vu met for the primary time in 2005.

Whereas chatting over beer, the 2 males found their fathers each fought within the Vietnam Battle, albeit on opposing sides.

“So right here have been two boys, each born in 1974 who grew up within the 1980s,” says MacDouall. “I suppose you can say, ideologically, we have been very opposed.”

“However the first time we sat down over a chilly beer and spoke to at least one one other, we realized that our household values have been very comparable and have grow to be the very best of associates.”

As we speak, the 2 males aren’t simply finest buds — they’re additionally enterprise companions, traipsing across the metropolis with vacationers to discover and share the town’s tales of beer.

Bia hoi fundamentals

Vietnam is one of the top beer-drinking nations in Southeast Asia.

Vietnam is likely one of the high beer-drinking nations in Southeast Asia.

HOANG DINH NAM/AFP/AFP/Getty Photographs

The primary brewery in Hanoi opened within the 1890s, when the French managed the town.

“The French introduced the beer ingesting tradition to Vietnam,” says MacDouall. “Earlier than that, [people drank] rice wine.”

After the Hanoi beer brewing manufacturing facility was arrange, beer tradition caught on rapidly.

As we speak, Vietnam is one Asia’s largest beer-drinking nations, consuming 3.8 billion liters a year in 2016, in keeping with Ministry of Business and Commerce.

“It developed by employees [who enjoyed beer] after a tough day’s work,” says MacDouall. “It was additionally curiosity — individuals wished to see what Westerners have been ingesting.”

On the time, nevertheless, the beer was costly, marketed to the town’s higher crust.

It wasn’t till the late 1950s that bia hoi was launched as an reasonably priced choices for on a regular basis residents. A brewery opened on Ta Hien Road, promoting the recent lager at only a few cents a mug.

This native staple is a light-weight and refreshing lager, with an alcohol content material of lower than 3%.

The concept? You possibly can drink it for lengthy classes to chill off after working all day in Hanoi’s sweltering temperatures.

“Some will really say it’s ‘on the spot beer’ like on the spot noodles, since it’s made rapidly and offered rapidly,” explains MacDouall.

“The alcohol content material is low and that was as a result of individuals wished to devour it quickly.”

Over time, numerous bars and eating places have populated Ta Hien Road, convey with them swathes of tiny stools and metallic tables that flank either side of the sidewalk.

All new brews

Vietnam tour

Within the night you sit at a roadside bar ingesting wonderful homebrewed Czech-style ‘Bia Hoi’ beer and watch as Hanoi’s backstreets are transformed right into a residing avenue theatre.

Mark Eveleigh, CNN

Nonetheless in the present day, bia hoi is comparatively reasonably priced in comparison with worldwide labels. A glass of the sunshine lager may set you again wherever from 15 to 40 US cents.

However that is slowly altering.

“For native homeowners, promoting bia hoi does not create sufficient cash to maintain the enterprise,” says MacDouall.

“So they might reasonably promote bottled beer and give attention to meals. However for those who nonetheless need bia hoi, that is the place you come and get it.”

And if you would like one thing aside from lager?

Fans can simply monitor down native microbreweries and craft beer bars that pour extra artistic concoctions.

Furbrew, on the banks of West Lake, for instance, serves a ‘pho’ beer that mimics the flavors of the well-known dish with a malty, herby, barely spicy recipe.

“That is most likely the best instance of the evolution of Vietnam,” says MacDouall.

“Ta Hien began with bia hoi and moved to mass-produced bottled beers, and now you’ve gotten an exploding craft beer scene.”


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