Hidden Saigon loves craft beer and we love to hear stories about the craft beer scene. With the recent opening of Tê Tê taphouse, we're excited to add Tê Tê Brewing to Hidden Saigon's Saigon Street Stories and Modern Saigon Food Scene tours.
Tê Tê Brewing came to form out of the unusual. Ruben Martinez, Tobias Briffa and Michael Rowland met while working in marketing agencies in SF and Saigon and soon branched with their own agency called AstroPig. After a few years of creating client content, Ruben was ready to call it quits. He missed the creative side of the creative industry and so the guys decided to make their own project. What product can we create, design and market on our own terms. Luck should have it that Ruben’s brother who was currently working as a biochemist at a perfumery decided to move back to Spain to study craft beer making with the intention to move to the UK afterwards. Ruben convinced his brother to ditch his UK plans and move back to Saigon and make their own craft beer in Saigon.
When Tê Tê entered the craft beer scene in 2015, their unique bottles and lighter tasting beer set them apart from the crowd. When asked why they created this lighter ale as opposed the IPAs that were the rage of the Vietnam Craft beer scene at the time, Ruben notes it comes down to Tobias, his and his brother, Luis’s (brew master)’s Maltese and Spanish background. The "clara" (lager combined with sparkling lemonade) is a national drink and cold, light beers is what they were used to drinking. With the Spanish summer climate similar to Vietnam’s weather, combined with the fact that Vietnamese people were lager drinkers, the move to make a lighter, refreshing beer just made sense. That decision proved fruitful as Tê Tê White Ale started to take off.
With Tê Tê being sold in hotspot bars such as Broma, word started to get around and soon enough you could find Tê Tê throughout the city. A couple of years later they added Electric IPA and Mellow Red. Even though these were IPAs and heavier beers, the concept was the same, make it refreshing and easy to drink.
In late 2019, they opened their first tap house Da Kao ward, District 1. They wanted something central but to also have the feel of a neighbourhood bar. They brought in their Spanish roots again, offering tapas and cana size glasses of beer. With this new tap house, Tê Tê Brewing has marked itself as a major player in the Vietnamese craft beer scene.