Pasteur Street Brewing Company - Cyclo Stout
Serving Temperature:52–59° F
Suggested Glassware:Snifter, Tulip or Pinot Glass
Vietnam’s Pasteur Street Brewing Co. landed on our radar a few years ago, and their massive Cyclo Stout seemed like the perfect beer to introduce these folks to our Rare Beer Club members. Pasteur Street focuses on bringing U.S. craft-brewing techniques (and hops!) together with European malts and special additions, such as the cinnamon, vanilla, and Marou Chocolate cacao pods found in their Cyclo Stout—all sourced in Vietnam. This is an impressively built imperial stout first and foremost, and it makes exceptional use of those special ingredients.
As you’d expect from a 13% imperial stout, this pours mostly pitch black, thinning to darker caramel at the edges and capped by a modest landscape of bubbles. The aroma makes it very clear we’re heading into dense terrain: landing with expressive baker’s chocolate, vanilla, and sweet cocoa, plus dried dark fruits and toffee plentiful underneath. There’s pleasant spiciness from the cinnamon along the perimeter—a warming flourish that ties everything together.
Cyclo Stout rewards being allowed some time to warm up, with generous layers of its darker chocolate notes, fudge, and subtle underpinnings of caramelization unfolding over the sturdy imperial-stout base. The special addition of cacao pods is particularly stellar and developed in its own right, while that subtle spiciness courtesy of the Vietnamese cinnamon (plus the soft carbonation present) helps everything land perfectly on the tongue. That Marou chocolate is noted for being particularly expressive and nuanced (an article in The New York Times called it “the best chocolate you’ve never tasted”), and this heady imperial stout feels carefully tuned for bringing out the complex chocolate qualities. Generous on many levels, Cyclo Stout stays superbly smooth throughout—allowing one to really dig into all the details this beer offers.
The hefty ABV of 13% suggests that this should be ready for a bit of cellar time, but we also find the special ingredients—arguably the best parts of this beer—to be particularly good as they are. We expect some of the more vibrant and lush cacao notes to slowly get eclipsed by the onset of dried caramel—but, honestly, some caramel should also work great with what’s going on in this beer. Pop an early bottle and age as you see fit. For pairing options, we tend to steer the chocolate/vanilla/cinnamon combo towards dessert. Or maybe grilled steak?
The folks at Pasteur Street Brewing Co. in Vietnam have had our attention for a few years now, combining U.S. craft brewing experience with unique Vietnamese ingredients, and we finally managed to get enough of their Cyclo Stout allocated to make it one of this month’s featured beers. Pasteur Street was the brainchild of founder John Reid, who’d been living in Vietnam for years but wasn’t able to find any of the flavorful craft beers he could get in the U.S. After traveling to Colorado and discussing his brewery concept with Alex Violette, who was then head brewer at Upslope Brewing, Alex ultimately decided to relocate out to Saigon, Vietnam and join the fledgling project. They secured an initial location on Pasteur Street and, shortly after getting rolling in 2014, opened up their first brewery taproom in 2015.
Pasteur Street Brewing Co. has made huge strides in the years since. They’ve developed over 200 distinct beer recipes, six Pasteur Street taprooms, and 300+ accounts across the country. The brewery has been a major player in the budding craft-beer scene in Vietnam, combining strong brewing experience with the vibrant ingredients and surrounding culinary influence of the country. Quality takes top priority: specialty malt is sourced from Belgium and Germany; American hops (along with some from New Zealand and Australia…) provide the essential bittering elements of American-style craft beers. And Pasteur Street Brewing has dedicated itself to also incorporating the highest-quality Vietnamese ingredients into its beer lineup.
This month’s featured beer from Pasteur Street Brewing Co., their Cyclo Stout, took home gold from the 2016 World Beer Cup in the chocolate-beer category. (It’s still the only beer from Vietnam ever to medal in the competition…) We think it’s a stellar combination of a refined imperial stout base plus exceptional special additions: including the distinctly spicy cacao pods from Vietnam’s Marou Chocolate, harvested in the Mekong Delta. This stout’s unique, generously built—and a perfect example of what Pasteur Street’s up to.
Pasteur Street beer is currently distributed to over 300 locations across Vietnam, along with a modest international distribution through Shelton Brothers. Other beers to look for from these folks include Passionfruit Wheat, Dragonfruit Gose, and Spice Island Saison (which incorporates lemongrass, ginger, and Phu Quoc black pepper). You’re most likely to find a Pasteur Street beer in kegs, at least stateside. In Vietnam, Pasteur Street currently operates half a dozen taprooms across the country, including four in Ho Chi Minh City (including the brewery’s original taproom), another in Hanoi (behind St. Joseph’s Cathedral), and one final spot along the riverfront and historic Bach Dang Street in Hoi An. For more information on what Pasteur Street Brewing has going on these days, details about visiting their taprooms in Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, and Hoi An, or to find out how to get them to deliver directly to you (in Saigon and Hanoi only!), head over to their website at pasteurstreet.com.
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