I was recently asked how I stay objective when I write about beer, and the short answer is: I don’t. Or, to be more accurate, I can’t.
Beer is my life and a source of great joy. If a certain beer or brewery makes me feel emotional, then I won’t block that in pursuit of balance and fairness – I will let it wash over me and channel it through sincerity. If a beer ignites great joy, then I want to share that in its rawest, most tangible form. That’s what beer is all about for me.
But today’s review pushes this way of thinking to its limit, as this pale ale was made by one of my closest friends. I first met Lily Waite properly in 2018, after commissioning her first article for Good Beer Hunting the year before. She’s since gone on to become, quite rightly, one of the most respected beer writers out there, picking up the prestigious Beer Writer of the Year award from the British Guild of Beer Writers in 2020. But that’s just one of her many achievements, as in addition to her writing she also runs a successful pottery business (her steins are this year’s must-have beer receptacle) and now she has her own brewery, Queer Brewing.
Initially starting out as The Queer Brewing Project, Lily has collaborated with several breweries on both sides of the Atlantic, from the likes of 2nd Shift Brewing in St Louis, Missouri, Peckham’s Brick Brewery and Mondo Brewing in Battersea. The intent was to raise money for LGBTQ+ charities while also removing the long-existing barriers that prevent LGBTQ+ folks from enjoying great beer in the same way that many of us straights take for granted. Now she’s taking this to the next level by finally releasing beers under her own label.
Brewed at Cloudwater in Manchester, the Queer Brewing core range features a Witbier, Pilsner and the beer I’m writing about today, a Pale Ale. It is, as you would expect from a beer brewed at such a prestigious brewery, exceptional; conveying balanced flavours of tropical fruits like mango and papaya in
a dry and quaffable package. It’s balanced and easy-drinking – the kind of beer you won’t want to put down.
Like all the best beers, it too sparks feelings of great joy within me, but there’s something else frolicking within that emotional wave. Pride. I cannot express how elated not just drinking this beer, but holding the can in my hand, makes me feel. To see such a brilliant, talented person producing something that is made with such care and with so much attention to detail is one of the main reasons I love what I do. Congrats on the launch Lily, this beer is amazing. In fact, all three of them are. Make sure you don’t miss out on what is one of the most exciting beer releases of the year.
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.