As with just about everywhere else in the world, the craft beer scene has exploded in Vietnam in the last few years. And a number of microbreweries have carved out their place in Hanoi, with Turtle Lake Brewing in Tay Ho one of the chief among them.
And for those of you that think the brewing game is the preserve of bearded burly men with too much time on their hands, think again. Lan Anh, Turtle Lake’s head brewer completely breaks the mold when it comes to what beer makers are supposed to be, and her eyes brighten when she talks about brewing. “I’m in love with it,” she says. And you can certainly taste the creativity and joy that goes into each of her custom recipe beers.
Lan has been a brewer at Turtle Lake for one and a half years and is one of the few women brewers in Vietnam, and she admits that brewing beer is not quite how she originally imagined.
Craft beers are fairly new to Vietnam and most of the ingredients must be imported as it is difficult to grow things like hops and barley in Vietnam, but Lan remains undeterred. “We use the mango juice from our trees outside in some of our craft beers,” she says. “I like to put something that’s a local product in the beers so I put things like kumquat, pomelo, and mangoes in, combining Vietnamese produce in the beer.”
Lan has been a brewer at Turtle Lake for one and a half years and is one of the few women brewers in Vietnam, and she admits that brewing beer is not quite how she originally imagined. She had never heard of craft beer while studying food technology at university, assuming that working as a brew master would involve racking up long hours in a laboratory or factory, but working at Seven Bridges Brewery after university challenged her ideas and she learned about every aspect of making the process, falling in love with it.
“With commercial beer they just have their one recipe. I like working with craft beer because I can be creative with making new recipes for beers,” she says. “It has opened my mind a lot.”
Being one of the very few female brew masters in Vietnam, Lan says that there are several difficulties involved, such as dragging around very heavy equipment. “It’s hard, but fun,” she says smiling.
Lan happily took me for a tour of the brewery and poured me a glass of her Mango Smoothie IPA that is just coming out. The fruity notes and creamy texture are delicious and refreshing, and luckily for Hanoians Lan’s beers will available for the foreseeable future as she loves the job at Turtle Lake. As she puts it, “the bosses, the environment and the staff are great.”
You can enjoy one of Lan’s craft beer creations at Turtle Lake Brewery Monday-Sunday from 11 a.m. to midnight. Look out for her new Mango Smoothie IPA in the coming weeks, and be patient for a new sour beer that will be ready in the coming months.
105 Phố Quảng Khánh, Quảng An, Tây Hồ
+84 (0) 24 6650 5187