In a desperate attempt to get a pre second lockdown meal in I went to a nice Vietnamese restaurant in Lincoln and found this lager accompanying my Tiger Prawn curry.
I've not had a huge amount of beer from Vietnam so I figured I really should give Hanoi Beer a go. The brewery is based in Hanoi itself and has been brewing away for over a century now, so I assume they are pretty successful. The beer came in a fairly standard 330ml bottle with the usual restaurant price tag, which you just have to live with. It's a pretty strong 5.1% premium lager which means that had I been anywhere other than a Vietnamese restaurant I probably wouldn't have looked at it twice, but when in Rome and all that.
The beer pours as a lager usually does clear and bubbly with a thin white head, in terms of looks there's certainly nothing to distinguish Hanoi from any of the other lagers or pilsners in the world. It takes a little while to calm down, but again that's not really unexpected. The smell has a bit more hop to it than I'd usually expect, there's a also quite a malty smell going on which is certainly not unpleasant.
As a pretty avid dark ale drinker I do find lagers difficult to review, it's not that they all taste the same, it's more that they struggle to really distinguish themselves, with the possible exception of Brewdogs Lost Lager which distinguishes itself for all the wrong reasons. Habeco's Hanoi doesn't distinguish itself at all in all truth. It's a pretty crisp, refreshing beer which if I was out in the sun trying to cool down I'd very happily drink again, but if I was offered it on another dark, cold October afternoon I'd have to turn away.
I think that for me, like many ale drinkers this is the simple truth for lagers in general, they are thirst quenching and not unpleasant in the sun or with a curry, but would you really choose one in a beer shop or well stocked bar? probably not. This certainly isn't the worst beer I've ever had, it's certainly not the best beer I've ever had it's just a cool, crisp refreshing, slightly above average lager, Hanoi from Habeco is a solid 5.5 out of 10 beer, and there's no shame in that.