I have always been a sucker for a good brewery tour. After a false start three weeks previously, the Heart of Darkness Drinko De Mayo event finally got underway. A hearty bunch of “Hop Addicts” were already waiting at the Ly Tu Trong taproom when I arrived a full 60 minutes early. These guys just can’t get enough. John Pemberton and his team have created something quite special here. With the combination of a welcoming pub and inventive marketing the name has grown extremely well since they started just 6 months ago. Yes, honestly! It’s only been 6 months. They feel like part of the fabric already. We waited in anticipation to see if John and the crew really could organise a piss up in a brewery tour.
I started the day at the taproom, with a delightful Patient Wilderness Wheat Ale, these Belgian style wheat beers are so often my go-to drink. Soon it was time to catch the buses out to Binh Duong and the brewery tour proper. Three minibuses transported about 25 people out through the city. The mood on our bus was great as Wes Jackson, our guide, gave us some history about Heart of Darkness. Arriving at the brewery I am immediately struck buy the size of things. This is not a small operation and they have taken a unit that leaves loads of room for expansion, and they are to expand very soon. I have been to a few of the craft breweries now and they are impressive organisations. Winking Seal and Belgo, both also have extremely modern and well equipped breweries.
A Brewery Tour to Remember
I have been on many a brewery tour in many different countries. What made this a really great one was a combination of things. First I have to say hats off to Duane Morton; this is a man who is genuinely passionate about brewing and it came through in his description of every process. It was fascinating. Also Heart of Darkness put on an excellent spread of Mexican food; it was Cinco De Mayo after all. We were met with a complimentary glass of our choice, then tickets were available to sample the others at a discount.
The whole brewery tour took about 4 hours and the time simply flew by. This was a great afternoon out and something that will surely catch on across the city. Congratulations to Heart of Darkness for their first 6 months and an extremely entertaining and informative day out.