#Tryanuary – gwei-lo Beers – A Nice Surprise

This blog used to be about beers at home – mostly. It was built on such posts over a number of years. Indeed, the first post (about 9 years ago) was a stumbling thing written about Hobson’s Brewery “Twisted Spire”, a beer I love on draught.

But about 2 or so years ago, all that dropped off. My focus being devoted almost wholly to ISBF – especially once it moved to Hemsley House and really took off.

There were times when I would be sent beer to try (to be absolutely clear, I NEVER asked for beer. Never) and those occasions were always a pleasant surprise. But – from the very start of the blog – I had a very simple rule. A “prime objective” if you will….

I would only write about something if I really enjoyed it.

But – like I said earlier – I kind of fell away from reviews.

Then, last month, a lovely message popped into my DMs. Did I fancy some beers from someone new………

Well. What’s a boy to say? “Rhetorical Question”? Bears and woods?

Then a box of 12 beers turned up. From gwei-lo Brewing. A Hong Kong brewery looking to do stuff over here. Brewing with people like Vocation & Fierce. I did the decent thing and shared some with friends (which – to be fair – the accompanying message encouraged) saving some for myself. But with shed loads of beers left from #VISBF, it took awhile to get to them….

I wish I’d tried them sooner…..

I ❤️ Hong Kong NEIPA – 4.9% abv (Brewed with Behemoth of New Zealand)

Aroma. Intense and juicy. Peach, Apricot and Mandarin sweet orange. Like the nasal equivalent of MSG, seriously salivating at this. And I’m not a NE style lover.

Give me a West Coast IPA and I’m a happy rabbit. But that smell, juicy and gently floral is drawing me in….

As full bodied and creamy a mouthfeel as you would expect from the style. Again, peachy stone fruit to the fore, kiwi and even a little green grape. Really fruity and juicy with some orange citrus notes in a dry finish.

A really enjoyable example of a NE style beer.

Sudoku – Golden Stout – 6% abv (Fierce)

Love the can wrap! Never having had a Golden Stout, I kind of didn’t know what to expect.

Amber / Gold in colour, putting my nose to the glass, I wasn’t expecting like a toffee coffee aroma, yes, vanilla toffee. Suitably intrigued, I moved to second base and tilted the glass to my now eager mouth.

Mmmmm……. Maltesers! Perfectly carbonated,, first impressions at on the tongue was honeycomb, coated in chocolate. Second mouthful, still that Maltesers thing going on, but with a smooth roast coffee coming to the fore. I knew there was something else….. those caramel biscuits you get with a coffee! Mmmmm………

Smooth this. Very smooth. And bloody lovely.

Finished lovely too, with that roasty coffee toffee thing augmented with a subtle bitterness. This is one seriously lovely surprise. Didn’t know what to expect, but I certainly didn’t think I’d enjoy this SO MUCH. Lovely stuff. And – I really hate to long for pubs – this would be gorgeous on cask. Chapeau…..

Seeker – DIPA – 8.5% abv (Fierce)

Love the can wrap (again!) Being a DIPA, had more of a clue with this mix golden, slightly hazy, beer. The nose test bringing bucket loads of tropical fruity stuff, kiwi, passion fruit and no small amount of pineapple. Been a while since I’ve salivated like this – and DIPAs are hardly a go-to for me….

For an 8.5% beer, this is drinkably light. Peachy is the first thought, nice soft stone fruit with passion fruit sweetness bolted on.

Then comes – unsurprisingly, with Nelson, – a gooseberry hit, that subtle tartness to balance the slight sweetness. This – again – is lovely.

There is a balance to this which just lifts it compared to many DIPAs I’ve had. It’s plentifully hopped, but avoids any of the hop burn and astringency that can come with “too much”.

Oh this is lovely. And so drinkable. At 8.5%, dangerously so. With a very gentle, barely percept able, subtle bitterness in the finish.

I like this. A lot.

For Fig Sake! – Stout – 8% abv (Fierce)

Now this. THIS is MY kind of view!

Pouring almost an oily black, the slick falling from the can, this had me drooling as it poured.

The nose test? Gentle roast and vine fruits. More than enough to draw this lover of the #DarkSide right into the deep end. With this, I’ll sink or swim. My kind of trial by ordeal.

In the mouth? Sorry. Can’t speak. Too busy partying……

Chocolate fruit cake. Need I say more? Luscious. Rich. Chocolatey. Yummy.

Full bodied. Beautifully so. Rich and chocolatey flavour and mouthfeel, slowly revealing the fruity fig thing going on. Like a combo of chocolate cake and Christmas pud, but without the hideous spicing (bite me Chrimbo lovers!)

I could drink this beauty still night. And get beautifully hammered. But I won’t. It’s a school night. But Christ this is one seductive beer.

It finishes as it starts. Like a Hot Chocolate gone cold. But deliciously so, with a lingering dry cocoa finish.

I could fall in love with this. I want more.

So. What did I expect from these beers? Not a lot. A brewery from abroad trying to make a splash. I kind of expected something above competence. 3 of these were brewed at Fierce. And that is normally a guarantee. Fierce are damn good.

What I got were two really good beers, excellent really (the NEIPA and the DIPA) making me enjoy styles I ordinarily wouldn’t.

But the two “Stouts”. Oh my. For me, exceptional.

I mean, I could happily drink the Pales all night. But I’d BATHE in the Stouts. They were that good.

Back soon. With lots of ISBF goodness (on THAT website) and more of this kind of thing too.

Stay safe. Jx