Bia Hơi (Vietnamese fresh beer)

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Asia » Vietnam » Red River Delta » Hanoi
April 30th 2014
Published: March 1st 2008
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Bia Hơi (Vietnamese fresh beer)Bia Hơi (Vietnamese fresh beer)Bia Hơi (Vietnamese fresh beer)

A glass of Bia Hơi (Vietnamese fresh beer) and some Mực Khô (dried squid) next to it. When drinking Bia Hơi, it's very tasty, if we also eat this dried squid. This shot was taken at a restaurant in Hanoi in a fawell party to a staff at my company.
Bia Hơi (Vietnamese fresh beer) appeared in Vietnam in the 1890s, after the secrets of brewing were introduced by the French. Just one place, the Hommel brewery, turned out the stuff, and it was a fairly modest enterprise employing just 30 workers capable of producing 150 litres a day. The beer was also sold bottled, but it was so expensive that it was only for the wealthy people.

After the French left Vietnam in 1954, the Hommel brewery was renamed the Hanoi Brewery. But the refreshing amber fluid still took a while to become popular, until the brewery hit on the novel idea of producing an instant draught beer known as Bia Hơi, literally translated as “fresh beer”.

The locals still didn’t think much of the drink; they preferred the traditional Vietnamese rice wine. Then the government clamped down on home production of spirits, and people began to realise that the legal alternative, Bia Hơi, made a refreshing, low-alcohol summer drink. It is now popular that Bia Hơi shops where the beverage is consumed provide one of the abiding images of northern Vietnam.

Bia Hơi is not merely a drink, it has become a whole culture and way
Bia Hơi cornerBia Hơi cornerBia Hơi corner

At the "Bia Hơi corner" which is the crossing of Tạ Hiền and Lương Ngọc Quyến streets in Hanoi's Old Quarter, two cyclos are passing by the Bia Hơi shops.
of life. There are some 3,000 Bia Hơi shops in Hanoi. Bia Hơi is cheap enough - only some thousands VND a glass at most, and considerably less in some places.

Foreigners too, both visitors and residents, have been seduced by Bia Hơi culture. In Hanoi, there is a famous "Bia Hơi corner" at crossing of Tạ Hiền and Lương Ngọc Quyến streets in the Old Quarter, which is a popular place for the western backpackers. Sitting on the pavement on a tiny plastic chair watching the world go by as evening falls, sinking a few glasses, coughing your guts up after trying "Thuốc lào" (rustic tobacco pipe) - it’s all a wonderful entertainment.

(source: the Timeout Guide)

My other blogs about Vietnamese food and drinks

Eating around Vietnam

My favorite food in Hanoi

"Phở" noodle soup - a feature of Hanoi

Vietnamese seafood

Additional photos below
Photos: 8, Displayed: 8


Bia HanoiBia Hanoi
Bia Hanoi

3 bottles of Hanoi Beer produced by Hanoi Brewery Company. In Vietnam, we joke "You are drunk", and if someone insists he is not drunk yet, he would say "3 bottles, still undrunk."
Bia Hơi cornerBia Hơi corner
Bia Hơi corner

This shot was taken at the Bia Hơi corner in Hanoi Old Quarter. An add on the wall "Cool beer VND 3,000/glass".
Bia Hơi HanoiBia Hơi Hanoi
Bia Hơi Hanoi

One of many restaurants in Hanoi that serves Bia Hơi.
Hanoi beer (cans)Hanoi beer (cans)
Hanoi beer (cans)

This shot was taken at my grandmother's house when my uncle was preparing Hanoi beer for a family party.
Bia Hơi HanoiBia Hơi Hanoi
Bia Hơi Hanoi

One of many restaurants in Hanoi that sells Bia Hơi.
Bia Hơi corner Bia Hơi corner
Bia Hơi corner

The crossing of Tạ Hiền and Lương Ngọc Quyến streets in Hanoi's Old Quarter is called "Bia Hơi corner". In the afternoon and evening, many western backpackers love to sit here, drink fresh beer, chat with each other and watch the world go by.

1st March 2008

I must say that Vietnam is starting to look a lot better now. Is the Bia Hoi comparable in taste with a western beer?
2nd March 2008

bia hoi food
Apart from the beer being much cheaper than bottled beer, many bia hoi spots serve great food as well, from tasty snacks to full meals. Anyone new to Vietnam should give them a try!
30th April 2010

Bai Hoi in Canada
Can you get this stuff in Vancouver Canada?

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