Next Tasting Event: Winking Seal Craft Beer. We’re going big this time.

Down a small street near Ben Thanh Market and the Art Museum, lies Winking Seal Beer Co., one of the newest craft breweries in Vietnam. Nestled in a gorgeously converted Saigon house, this brewery is opening it’s doors to Saigon Beer School for an eight-course beer tasting of its hand-crafted brews, paired with a chef-made, tasting showcase of their menu.

Come down to their taproom March 31st for an in-depth look at their innovate styles! Meet the Head Brewer Brian and taste what their talented chef has created for this amazing night.

Don’t be shy if you don’t know much about beer yet, by the end of the event, you’ll be an expert!

Friday March 31st
8 hand-crafted beer tastings
Chef-made small plate food parings
Meet the Brewer!
Beer Tasting & History with the Dean of Saigon Beer School
Meet and network with other beer lovers

Cost: 550,000 VND ($25 USD)

Limited seating so please book in advance by emailing angela@saigonbeerschool, commenting below, or send a PM to Saigon Beer School

See you March 31st for our biggest event yet!

Saigon’s Newest Brews: IPA Tasting this Saturday!

Saturday February  11th will see a great gathering of like-minded beer fans at the wonderful ROGUE SAIGON to taste 6 great IPA styles from some of Ho Chi Minh City’s best breweries!  The tasting starts at 7pm and is 450,000 for beer drinkers.

On the list are a few classic styles, but also a double IPA, a black IPA, and a Rye. The craft beer scene here is blowing our minds!

Email to make your reservation.


Try Saigon’s Newest Craft Beers- Nov 11th Tasting with Heart of Darkness Brewery

Join Saigon Beer School at Rogue Saigon for an amazing preview of Saigon’s newest brewery, Heart of Darkness. We are so honored and excited to be able to introduce these beers to you!

Email or send a Facebook message to Saigon Beer School to reserve your place for this tasting.

November 11th at 7pm
400,000 VND per person

We’ll be featuring a six-beer tasting with beer snacks and delightful commentary by our Dean. On the list so far are their pilsner, golden ale, pale ale, red ale, and 2 IPAs! We really can’t wait for this one!

See you there,


A Bit About: India Pale Ales

All over the world craft brewers are producing excellent, bitter IPAs with both piney citrus subtleties and giant hammers of hops. The distinctive style has gone from a colonial British beer in the 19th century to almost disappearing, only to be revived by a loving cadre of beer geeks and shortly thereafter, becoming one of the most recognized styles in the world.

IPA stands for India Pale Ale, a extra bitter, 19th century evolution of older pale ale recipes from England. The key to these beers is the flavoring from a plant called hops, a vine closely related to hemp that joins it’s highly aromatized oils to the wort during the brewing process giving the beers their distinctive flavor and aroma, while adding a natural preservative to the brew.

A New Style
Beer has been with us for 10,000 years. It’s been credited with the rise of agriculture and thus, human civilization itself. Mesopotamian and Egyptian cultures considered beer a holy drink and used it both for rituals and currency. The Romans brought it to northern Europe with their legions, while across the Atlantic, Native Americans brewed with corn, and to the East, the Chinese fermented rice into their own versions similar to Europe’s barley-based drink.

In the early medieval period of Europe, the Church began to take over what was a traditionally a housewife’s chore, that of brewing. Many of the monks and nuns were educated people (or perhaps just beer nuts like the sort you meet at microbreweries today) who experimented with various herbs, fruits, and flowers. Hops became popular for flavoring beer around 1000 CE, and in the early 16th century, Bavaria passed a law that regulated beer production to three ingredients only: water, malted barley, and hops. (Yeast wouldn’t be discovered until 1857.) Hops had come into it’s own.

And so had an island kingdom called England, which was already well known in Continental Europe for being a great brewer of ales. As the empire of Britain grew, it’s soldiers and sailors and citizens abroad, like all expats, longed for a taste of home. In hot places, beer was difficult to brew, and as the sea voyages got longer, any beer shipped overseas spoiled and became undrinkable. India was not only hot, but a difficult 6 month voyage from the costs of Britain, utterly unsuitable for beer.

Entering onto the stage now is a little known English beer called October Ale. This was a massively hopped pale ale that was meant to be aged for 2 years before drinking. Bow Brewery, under the auspices of a man named Hodgson, sent this October beer off to India, where is was greeted with acclaim. Not long after his success, and with the collapse of England’s beer trade with Russia, other breweries began to copy Hodgson’s beer. The trial shipments in 1827 were a success, and regular cargoes of the strongly flavored beer flowed out of England to places like Calcutta, Bombay, and Madras.

By 1840, the style had gained the name India Pale Ale, with rising popularity all over Britain, however the IPAs fell out of favor when refrigeration made the need for hops as a preservative redundant.  With the rise of craft breweries in the United States in the 1970’s, brewers re-discovered this bitter, citrusy ale recipe and ran with it, creating a craze that would eventually spark an IPA revolution in it’s own country of origin.

Walk into a bar and order an IPA today and the bartender will most likely hand you a list of options. You’ll find American Pale Ales, wheat pale ales, Belgian-style pale ales, rye pale ales, and the very of-the-moment session pales, just to name a few. These new styles vary from that original beer through the use of different hops, grains, and alcohol content. The choices for pale ale outstrip all other ale styles. In April of 2015, Paste Magazine was able to get 116 American-made IPAs to taste, while here in HCMC, the new craft beer bar Rogue Saigon has 9 available- most of which are brewed here in Vietnam. So get out there and get drinking.  Let us know what your favorite IPA, APA, or other pale ale is your favorite!

A look at Saigon’s Craft Beer Revolution

ALTHOUGH this article (Craft beer explodes in Saigon By Calvin Godfrey, Thanh Nien News) is over a year old as of today, the craft beer revolution in Saigon is still fermenting a great deal of excitement. With the opening of Rogue Saigon, Phat Rooster’s presence at Sancho’s Craft Beer and Mexican Cantina on Bui Vien, and a second location of Bia Craft planned for District 3, craft beer is more readily available than ever.