Halong Bay and The Windmill

I was uncertain of what to expect in Halong Bay, Vietnam. On one hand, it is a de riguer destination for every tourist to Vietnam, so likely to be crowded and overdone. But on the other, the scenery is so dreamlike as presented in brochures and travelogues that you need to attend in person to simply verify it for yourself.

Your correspondent and his attendant caravan traversed the waters on the good ship ‘Emotion Halong’ and spent an overnight stay amongst the limestone karsts that rise out of the bay. And, yes, the scenery and landscape is mind blowing. Unfortunately we had persistent fog for the duration of our stay so I gather I did not see it at it’s most glorious. Still. It was overwhelming. The photos below cannot do justice to the scenery but can offer a teaser. For the botf readers that have been to China the landscape will remind you of a waterlogged version of the Yangshou area and its limestone karsts.

The brewery of record for this missive is The Windmill on Đặng Trần Côn in Hanoi. Jeez it was a bugger to find with me dragging my travelling companions down uncharted alleys and across treacherous Hanoi traffic to reach it. However, the reward was great. The Windmill is located on a busy little street full of motorscooter repairers and butchers, an interesting combination. You turn into its entrance and immediately you are in a tranquil little square that fronts a stunning two storey French period residence. All of this is The Windmill which markets itself as a restaurant rather than a brewery.

At first glance I was concerned that there was no micro brewed beer to be had as the taps are hidden away from prying eyes. However, on a perusal of the menu all concerns melted away. A single blond lager was available, Bia Tuoi Tiep. The rich honey hued lager arrived in a very handsome glass complete with crest. The taste matched the colour. Rich and malty with a touch of sweetness. Possibly the best micro brewed blond I have had in Vietnam. The aforementioned glass was a dead cert for a ‘souvenir’ but, being the only customers, thievery was going to be too obvious.