Friday, March 4, 2011

Week #9 - An Bui

Behind every craft beer drinker that has found beauty in beer that’s full of flavor and made with honest ingredients there is someone that helped them get there. Always enthusiastic, helpful, and magnetic in their exuberance for the art of craft beer, this gateway ambassador is there with the right beer at the right time. An Bui is that guy. An’s excitement for craft beer is contagious to the point where telling his customers about great beer isn’t enough – he’s gone viral. Whether you’re sitting at Mekong in Richmond, VA or watching An’s Beer TV on youtube there is no chance that his love of beer won’t draw you in too. I believe that An is in Belgium as I type this, so let’s consider this week’s interview a toast to a man that is right where most of us would rather be right now.

Ladies and gents, get to know An Bui.

Mekong is one of the only places I know of on the East Coast that's marrying craft beer and Vietnamese food. Have you turned a lot of customers onto craft beer who were just coming for great Vietnamese food?

YES! We've found that Mekong's food and craft beer make the perfect pairing. Our customers enjoy unique experiences and I think the chance to experience something new, like Craft beer and Vietnamese food together, has become an attraction.

With all that you do to educate people about craft beer through Beer TV and events like World War Beer a few years ago, do you think you've been able to give craft beer drinkers in Richmond a new appreciation for Vietnamese cuisine?

I'd like to think so. We are equally as passionate about our food as we are craft beer. I think customers who come for our beer selection are intrigued by our cuisine. Mekong takes great care in providing a well rounded experience. Passion is the key. If someone sees that you are passionate about something, and take great care to cultivate an experience, then they are intrigued.

What was your introduction to craft beer?

I was going to a party in high-school, and always hated the taste of the beers there, so I grabbed a Paulaner Salvator off the shelf, simply because I liked the label. It was sweeter than I'd had before, and very drinkable. The rest as they say is history.

What are some of your favorite styles of beer? What styles are we most likely to find on tap at Mekong?

I love Belgians, IPA's, and Sours. Mekong has a wide variety on tap. Changes daily. Lot's of Belgians and small craft beer. I'm an avid supporter of small craft breweries. You won't find any larger corporations on tap at Mekong.

Do you have a favorite beer moment or event so far that's happened at your restaurant?

January 2010. Mekong held a "BFM Beer Tasting". Brasserie Des Franches-Montagnes. Amazing, amazing experience.

How would you describe the 'beer scene' in Richmond?

I would describe it simply as, a revolution. The "beer scene" is rapidly growing and expanding everyday. It's a wonderful time to be in Richmond. Here, peoples’ eyes are constantly being open to beer’s potential. I couldn't be happier!

I love Beer TV! What made you decide to start doing the show?

I wanted to share my knowledge and passion with as many people as possible. I feel it's important that everyone become aware of the possibilities of beer. It's an art form, and the more people who understand that the better. As I said before, beer is my passion. It's my life and my love, second only to my family. I want to open communications with beer lovers from all over the world, I would like us to become one big, united, global beer community. This is a way to do that .

Any beer events in the works for 2011 that we should put on our calendars?

Yes! We will be tapping an aged barrel of New Holland's Dragon's Milk for a very special event!

1 comment:

Darrin Pikarsky said...

Great story An & Joel.