Two from Gwei Lo

Chinese is filled with terms for foreigners. Here on the mainland, you have 老外 laowai and 外国人 waiguoren. In theory, waiguoren is the more polite word for “foriegner.” I have been told that laowai is supposed to be more offensive. Yet, for all of my years living in China, I have never felt offended by laowai. Additionally, I have never felt that a Chinese person was being derogatory with me personally when they used that word. I could be wrong, but the thing with language is that it is only offensive if you let it be. Half the time I walk around oblivious to what Chinese people may or may not think of me. I simply do not care. I have more important things to think about.

Like beer! I was thinking about this recently while sipping on some Hong Kong craft brew. The term 鬼佬 gwei lo in Cantonese is supposed to be  a nasty word for foreigner. So, what did a group of Brits in Hong Kong do? They co-opted the name for their brand of craft. If you take a word away from somebody, you can both own and neuter it. It’s the same thing as naming this blog Liquor Laowai. Am I a liqour laowai? Yes, I am! Anyway. Enough of the self reference, there. I tried two of their offerings. First up was this…

Gwei Lo offer a number of drinks, and what they call their “core range” is the basic line of products that doesn’t change. This is their “hoppy wheat” variety. It has a little bit of a citrus smell and taste, but it hasn’t the bitterness the word “hoppy” can imply. Some wheat beer can also be harsh, and by that, I mean the Belgian and German ones that I have had. This is extremely mild in comparison, and that’s actually fine by me. I have never been a fan of hardcore wheat beers. Interestingly enough, this has a 4.2% alcohol level, but it actually felt like a lighter beer than that. Next up is this…

This is Gwei Lo’s Citrus Crusher. Again, it’s in their core line of products. At 3.5%, it’s actually lower in potency then the Hoppy Wheat. It’s also a little bit more bitter, despite what the IBU numbers say on either label. The citrus taste is definitely more pronounced here. If I had to pick a winner between these two, I would go with the Citrus Crusher. The flavor there is stronger and more pronounced.

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