Sometimes, if you can’t find what you want, then you have to make it. Such was the case when it came to beer for Braden and Yasmin Wages of Dallas’ Malai Kitchen (who also shared lemongrass recipes for this month’s “Key Ingredient”).
Recently, the Wages started brewing a small portfolio of Asian-style beers in-house. The idea was sparked after trying Bia Hoi, a light Vietnamese lager, while traveling through Vietnam. Unable to find a domestic brewer who would produce it, the Wages attained a brewpub license to brew it themselves. In addition to Bia Hoi, their portfolio includes the Thai-P-A (a golden, medium-bodied IPA with a strong hop bitterness and undertones of lemongrass, kaffir lime, and galangal), and the Thai 1 On seasonal rotator.
They have two permanent beers on tap (Thai-P-A and Bia Hoi) and one rotator that changes often. There have been several rotators since they started the beer program, and of the rotators, the Belgian Tripel has been the most popular.
But let’s get back to why they wanted to make beer in the first place. It came out of experience with easy drinking beers of Vietnamese culture (for drinking longer in the heat) and experience with how those specific beers pair with food.
“My favorite pairing is the Bia Hoi with beef pho. The lightness of the lager balances out the herbs and spices in the soup,” says Braden.
That cumulative experience was what they wanted to recreate in their restaurant, so much that they learned new skills to do so. And they have, as they are selling as much beer as they can produce and discussing whether they’d like to offer the beers to other restaurants. Housemade draft beer and a big bowl of pho. It’s five o’clock somewhere, right?
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