Beer, as a beverage and as a culture, is forever changing. From the styles of the beers we drink, to the flavours they possess, and the places where we enjoy them; it’s a scene that’s forever adapting to the wants and needs of the people who enjoy it. But the people – by which I mean the demographic – who drink beer also changes too. At least that’s what we’re supposed to believe.
Beer has, since the end of the start of the industrial revolution, and increasingly so following the onward march of capitalism after the Second World War, been framed as a pursuit of working-class men. Picture the idyllic scene of the Great British Pub: the worn brass surfaces, the well-used wooden furniture complete with worn upholstery, the little plaque in the snug that reads “free beer, tomorrow”. When you complete that picture with people, it will likely be with men of a certain age, class, sexuality and skin colour. This is an idea that is deeply rooted in that of beer, and the pub.
In recent years, largely thanks to the hard work of women and other minority communities in beer including LGTBQ+ folks and Black, Asian and other ethnic groups, the idea of the people who enjoy beer is changing. Although not fast enough. One reason for this is, in my opinion, because it is framed as change.
The reality is that these people have always loved beer and have always loved pubs. It is in the traditional framing, and not the reality of the situation, that makes it feels like it is change. The real change needs to come from the people who incorrectly apply that framing, whether deliberately or not. We must unlearn tradition if we are to ensure beer is truly for everyone.
The reason I bring this up is that Mud, a typically hazy, fruity, juicy beer from Cheltenham trailblazers DEYA Brewing is framed as a “pub beer”. While it uses the Citra, Motueka and Idaho 7 hop varieties in a thoroughly modern capacity to lend the beer notes of cantaloupe, and marmalade, floated on a soft, bready character from the malt, its ABV of 4.4% puts it firmly in pint territory.
Brewed in collaboration with Nottingham-based rock band Do Nothing, Mud has a specific softness to it I can only manage to describe as a DEYA-ness – it feels like something wonderfully inherent to all of its beers. This is one to be enjoyed by the mugful with, well, everyone. A beer designed for “change” if ever there was one.
Matthew Curtis is a writer, photographer and editor of Pellicle Magazine. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @totalcurtis and @pelliclemag. Sign up to our All Killer No Filler subscription box and you'll find incredible beers like this one every month, plus more great writing from Matthew and our food writer Claire Bullen.