Gweilo Beer UK Limited were setup in 2020 and are the UK arm of Hong Kong-based Gweilo Beer. A craft beer and gin producer, in their native Hong Kong at least, the brewer takes it’s name from the Cantonese slang word for Westerners – which translates to something like ‘ghostly man’. A brewery name with ‘lo’ in it may make you ponder whether they specialise in alcohol-free beers, but that is unfortunately not the case here, with ‘Gweilo Lo Rider Pale Ale’ being the brewer’s only nolo offering thus far. It’s also not solely their own product, having been produced as part of a collaboration with York-based brewery Brew York. But the convolution doesn’t end there – with the end product actually being brewed in Belgium, at the facilities of the popular De Proefbrouwerij brewery. Phew!
Gweilo’s ‘Lo Rider’ was launched in May 2020 and is apparently based on their original pale ale recipe, which clocks in at 4.5% ABV. So one approach the brewer could have taken to produce a nolo version would be to put this base beer through a process such as vacuum distillation. But as readers of this blog should know by now, the De Proef brewery has it’s own strain of yeast which allows a beer to be fully fermented with minimal alcohol produced. The use of their yeast strain tends to be easily recognisable in a non-alcoholic beer, with fruity passion fruit and grapefruit esters being prominent in most of the nolos that come out of their warehouse. Gweilo and Brew York have made use of the Cascade hop in this pale, which is a popular American hop, also famous for citrus and grapefruit aromas. On the side of the can we’re told to expect ‘intense tropical fruit’. Will we be getting this tropical hit, or will this turn into another grapefruit-fest?
Pouring the beer out from the can we get a light golden coloured liquid with good clarity and visible streams of steady bubbles. A thick soapy head is produced, and sticks around for at least the first few mouthfuls. On the nose the initial whiff is sweet malt and stone fruit, with tropical mango building upon this, and a background of sherbet. There are some ‘De Proef’ similarities there but not blatantly so.
When we taste we get the tropical flavours we were teased with earlier, juicy mango and lychee being the most prominent. We also get a citrus rind bitterness to temper the sweetness that comes from these fruits, which brings a nice crispness to the beer. Again, there’s some ‘De Proef’-ness on show here, but it’s mellowed somewhat and is no longer full-on grapefruit and passion fruit, just a pleasing fruitiness. The body is medium, with a slightly creamy mouthfeel, and a decent carbonation level. We get a long bitter finish to the drink.
Gweilo Lo Rider Pale Ale is a very drinkable pale ale with bags of juicy fruits and crisp hoppy bitterness. The De Proef yeast seems to have evolved and developed it’s flavour profile – either that or it’s just being used with more skill here. Refreshing and delicious, especially in the current summer heat, I hope that this brewer continues to innovate on the ‘lo’ part of their chosen name.
Buy Gweilo Lo Rider Pale Ale
Lo Rider Pale Ale may be available in a number of bars run by Brew York, and you might spot Gweilo’s beers in specialist bottle shops. The internet can again be your saviour however, with the beer being available from the following online shops:
|Nutritional Information (per 100ml, taken from the side of the can)
|Water, Barley, Hops, Yeast
|Country of Production
|Gweilo Beer (UK) Limited – https://gweilobeer.co.uk/
Gweilo Lo Rider Pale Ale Review
An evolved De Proef pale ale with a range of fruitiness on display instead of the usual passionfruit and grapefruit. Very drinkable!