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The History of PSBC: Part 2 – The Beer

May 24, 2019

Pasteur Street Brewing Company Journey

This blog post is the second installment in a three part series talking about the journey of Pasteur Street Brewing Company throughout our first four years. To read the first part of this story, click here.

The first batch!

After months of preparation, John Reid and Alex Violette were finally ready to brew their first batch of beer for Pasteur Street Brewing Company!

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When deciding what style to brew, it was a unanimous decision that there was a need for a balanced IPA in Vietnam.

After building a recipe with a focus on Citra hops and the addition of Jasmine flowers for a Vietnamese touch, the team brewed Jasmine IPA in November of 2014. Alex spent the following weeks brewing enough beer to fill the taps while John hired an opening team and completed construction.

Pasteur Street Brewing Company opened its doors for the first time on January 2, 2015 with four beers on tap; Jasmine IPA, Belgian Blonde Ale, Vietnamese Spiced Wit, and Coffee Brown Ale.

To the first Tap Room!

The reaction to PSBC’s first Tap Room took everyone by surprise. At first, they were only open on weekends with a few new styles and by Sunday afternoon, every beer was sold out. The brew system they started with only had the capacity to brew 60 liters – or around 120 pints – per batch and Alex was constantly brewing trying to keep up with demand. It didn’t take the team long to realize that they needed a bigger boat (or brewery).

John headed to Hanoi following a few leads for a new system while Alex stayed back to continue brewing. After a short video chat to inspect a 400 liter brewery that was currently in operation at a German style brewery; John and Alex made the purchase. Within a few hours, the tanks were emptied, the system was disassembled, and it was loaded on a truck headed for Saigon.

It took a total of thirteen days from that night to get the equipment installed and brewing its first batches of Pasteur Street beers.

And the first menu!

After acquiring the new brewhouse, the beers really began to flow for PSBC. They were able to open 7 days a week, and even recruited Alex’s childhood best friend, skilled chef Ryan Davenport, to open a small kitchen for the Tap Room.

Ryan wanted to create Pasteur Street’s dining menu to match the vision behind the beers; American styles with Vietnamese flair.

Drawing inspiration from his hometown of Nashville, Tennessee, he created the infamous Hot Chicken recipe. He used an original spice blend created with sun dried Vietnamese chilis. Hot Chicken quickly became a fan favorite dish of guests from all backgrounds.

Pasteur Street first year

In Pasteur Street’s first year, they brewed almost 100 different styles. While some of these styles are still around today, like the Passionfruit Wheat Ale; some were specialties only brewed once, like the peculiar Durian Ale or Jackfruit Wheat Ale.

Some of the styles were groundbreaking, such as the Pumpkin beer with Da Lat pumpkins and Vietnam’s first wild fermented beer, Brett Petite Saison. However, one beer stood out above them all, Cyclo Stout.

PSBC Cyclo Stout

Pasteur Street and the collaboration

Pasteur Street Brewing Company collaborated with the award-winning chocolatiers, Marou Chocolate, on a bold Imperial Stout. They also added a hint of Saigon cinnamon and vanilla beans from Mui Ne to create a complex mix of flavors. The beer was meant to showcase the spirit of Vietnam with its ingredients and story.

Alex and John decided to enter Cyclo Stout in the 2016 World Beer Cup and ended up winning the gold medal for it. This was Vietnam’s first – and only to this day – medal in the largest and most prestigious beer competition in the world!

Pasteur Street Brewing Company was taking off! Now the question was, where to next? Be sure to check out the final installment of the History of Pasteur Street series to read more about Pasteur Street taking on distribution and opening more Tap Rooms!