When I think of a great craft beer, I am usually lead down a very dark path. My passion for the dark side of craft beer is what excites me and what my journey is all about. So when I am in Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) Vietnam, and I first check my craft beer radar to find a local Saigon brewery called the Heart Of Darkness, I am very interested and little more intrigued to find out more. I mean, this has to be one massive sign right?

I can confirm that the Heart Of Darkness Brewery in Saigon is a sanctuary for any lover of craft beer. And thanks to these amazing guys, I get to experience some of the very best craft beer Vietnam has to offer while I am here in Saigon.

Whether you are after something on the lighter end of the colour spectrum, right through to the darkest of the dark, the Heart Of Darkness Brewery has got you covered. For myself, I jump right into their darkest and heaviest beer on offer (180ml snifter glass), this was the Heart Of Darkness imperial stout named the ‘Eloquent Phantom Imperial Stout‘……Wow! what a beer to start my Heart Of Darkness experience! Don’t just take my word for it, this beer is a solid 4/5 stars on Untapped if you want to check it out for yourself.

The Eloquent Phantom Imperial Stout is a shamelessly strong, but so damn smooth that you would quite easily be fooled into thinking you were drinking a much lower ABV craft beer. But indeed, this imperial stout sits at 9% ABV with and IBU of 80. As the tasting notes state, there is definitely plenty of Madagascan spice in this one, but there is so much more complexity to it. The way the silky smooth chocolate malt lines the glass (and your mouth too) is just so delectable. The vanilla undertones I sense coming through sweetens the beer just perfectly,  and gives you that ‘dessert feeling’ as you slowly drink the glass away. The oak conditioning on this imperial stout adding to the myriad of flavours that all seem to be coming from this one small glass.

As I sit in this place, I am so proud to be part of a community that shows so much passion, loyalty and dedication to creating beer that has soul, uniqueness and an identity all of its own. That speaks volumes to me when drinking a great craft beer, and why I believe the spirit of a craft beer such as the Eloquent Phantom Imperial Stout is forever unattainable by the larger commercialized brewers. Meeting the people behind the beer and learning their story, the history and the work that has gone into what sits before you in that glass, makes each craft beer experience unforgettable.

I savour every last drop from my Heart Of Darkness glass. Not knowing if I will make it back to the Brewery, I buy myself the very glass I drank from to add to my wonderful experience and a fantastic keepsake to drink from for years to come.

I say ‘Cheers to you’ Heart Of Darkness Brewery in Saigon, for your amazing craft beer! I will be sure to visit you again to ensure the memory of this beer never fades away.

Taste: 8/10

Cost: VND60,000.00 per 180ml glass (AUD$3.42)

Value: The dark heart of craft beer lives here.


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