Good friend of the botf, Scrote, would be proud of me today. While visiting the Cu Chi Tunnels I had the pleasure of loosing a clip from an AK47. I am not a gun freak by any measure but there is quite a feeling of raw destruction in squeezing off those few rounds. And the noise…it is freaking unbelievable.
The Cu Chi Tunnels is to Saigon what the harbour cruise is to Sydney or the Tower is to London. Locals never do it and you feel as a tourist a certain tick-the-box process when you commit to visiting these attractions. I have to say though that the tunnels are well worth it. The fact that they stretched over 200 kms and were in use from 1948 (resisting the French occupation) through till the end of the Vietnam War is incredible. The set up is enlightening, the guides passionate and all in all it really gives you an insight to what went on.
Over to the beer….tonight’s Saigon venue was the Hoa Vien Brauhaus ( Hoa Viên, Mạc Đĩnh Chi, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam). Mrs botf claimed junior woodchucks No 2 and 3 were too tired to venture out so I set off with child No 1. I cannot think of a better adventure than setting off into an over the top Asian city as the sun sets with but a rough idea of where we were heading.
Hoa Vien was roughly marked on my map as in a dead end alley. When we reached the alley there was a sign for the brauhaus, a man in a Hoa Vien labelled golf cart but no brauhaus. The golf cart driver gesticulated for us to hop in. My first thought was the venue had moved a few city blocks. We jumped in and were ferried a few hundred meters down the alley to the venue entrance, hidden round yet another corner.
The contrast upon entering was unbelievable. Dingy Saigon alley to a pumping Munich style beer hall full of locals surrounded by copper brewing vats. Absolutely fantastic. The range was good. The standard lager and dark ale but also bottles of one offs and imported – mainly Czech – beers. They even did a growler. Both the lager and the dark were very good. Son #1 was pressing to head out for Vietnamese crepes, otherwise I would have dived deeper. Super venue.