Image by Queer Beer
Queer Beer is a product created from bravery, it’s a product made from within the LGBTQ+ community to support and give back. The beer itself is an easy drinking pale ale with gentle citrus tones. Beer drinkers or not, we hope this beverage will be enjoyed by all. Created by my girlfriend Saskia and I, the story begins with a love story, a lesbian love story, luckily enough, my love story.
I was often the only Indian girl in my class. Tall, white, very slim girls would be the only people I saw during school and then short, wide-hipped, dark-toned women would surround me at home. All my life I’ve only ever felt comfortable presenting myself in a masculine way. Yet I adjusted and conformed to what society expected from me throughout my teenage years, dressing femme as a way of acceptance. I wanted both the East and West sides to feel comfortable around me and presenting as butch simply would be too unusual, too untraditional for either circle to comprehend.
“Being gay in a small, conservative town would be a lonely affair, even lonelier as an Indian butch lesbian”
It became clear that being gay in a small, conservative town would be a lonely affair, even lonelier as an Indian butch lesbian. Gossip spread like a wildfire making my coming out story more like “I fell out of the closet and hit my head hard on the floor”.
As a triple minority, I’ve come to accept that I would endure a few negative moments in my life; experiences of racism, homophobia, sexism. These moments trigger anger, a lot of time over-analysing myself, and plenty of time self-educating. Countless times I’ve had to correct people around me for their ignorance and more often than not my experiences are denied. It is so exhausting not being taken seriously and put second. I decided to change my outlook on how to make the world a fairer place by choosing to surround myself with positive energies, individuals with a similar mindset to mine rather than give so much time to those who didn’t care.
It became my goal to somehow unite these people under one roof and celebrate the glory of queerness, womanhood and ethnic diversity as they are all interconnected. I wanted to show that you are not alone. ‘The Queer Club LTD’ was created on May 29 2018, in which Queer Beer became the first product (of hopefully many more) with the intent of bringing together this community over a cool, crisp beer.
From that day, I promised myself that I would do everything in my power to never feel isolated again and for no one else to ever be that lonely just because of their sexuality or their appearance.
“I met Saskia in spring last year…I remember she asked if I wanted to go for a ‘beer'”
Since leaving my conservative town and moving to London for university, I started completely afresh. I dressed in what I felt comfortable in, I cut my hair in a way that I wanted and learnt the power of my voice. I became the woman I had only thought I could imagine being. Being an openly butch lesbian changed everything, it felt like I was lighter and breathing easier in this masculine expression. It took me eighteen years to finally feel at home in my body.
I met Saskia in spring last year, we met at one of the Tate Lates and ended up dating for a month in London before she left to go back to her home in Stockholm, Sweden. This was the first time I had dated anyone. I remember she asked if I wanted to go for a “beer”.
I was still in the early stages of the recovery process from sexual assault at the time we met. In the short time we dated, Saskia had completely opened my heart and my mind at a point of my life where I thought I’d hit rock bottom. She essentially opened me up to this queer world. She introduced intersectional feminism to me and taught me how to love myself in my weakest moments. After she’d left to go back home to Sweden, I started to drink beers in an attempt to get her attention and start a conversation (I was originally a G&T kind of girl). Drinking beers I found also dramatically helped improve my butch aesthetic.
I started with Coronas and Desperados, something very easy that would help me adjust to this slightly bitter, and bready drink. I’ve always been obsessed with good design and typefaces and found that some of the best designed products are craft beers. I was hooked; tasting a range of beers, from IPAs to lagers, even iron-drenched stouts from all over the world. My dad being my beer sommelier, I fell in love with the distinctive coolness of beer, the refreshing first sip that you crave, and the simplicity of it all. I began studying the beer process and was fascinated with the variety of flavours you could produce. During this fun beer phase over last summer, I was practically in a long distance relationship with Saskia, talking almost every day via facetime and learning her slightly more with each conversation. Eventually, Saskia moved to London so we could officially start our journey together.
“I began studying the beer process and was fascinated with the variety of flavours you could produce”
We noticed how there are hardly any casual lesbian bars and essentially no spaces for the LGBTQ+ community to be without it feeling like a hyped up or overpriced event and we noticed the lack of POC being represented. Linking the stereotype of lesbians drinking beer, one night we joked about how there should be some kind of LGBTQ+ beer or even a Queer brewery. What started out as a hypothetical idea soon became our reality. “Why not?”, we thought.
So we got to work on making our beer a reality. During a brewery tour we were given the details of Ubrew, an independent brewery where you could use their equipment to produce your own beer. Nervously, I called Ubrew and unexpectedly was celebrated for the idea of Queer Beer and we were welcomed with open arms.
Within a month after meeting with Matthew Denham, (founder of Ubrew), we were having our Queer Beer brewing day. The day consisted of us completing the brewing process, so stirring the barley, adding the hops, and beer tasting of course! It was a magical day surrounded by friends and family. This whole process taught me about the importance of support, the power of both platonic and romantic relationships, and the value of family.
Our aim is to continue reclaiming and reinventing the term “queer” whilst simultaneously reviving the LGBTQ+ nightlife. We want to destroy any negative connotations that circle around the word and we want people to say the word “queer” openly, loudly, proudly.
We created this high-quality product with the aim to give as much of the profits as possible to various charities. Queer Beer is affordable, inclusive and downright delicious and we plan to host club nights and day events in London to unite this ever-green and utterly beautiful community. Queer Beer was announced the day after London pride and will be available to purchase in late September at our official launch event. Please help us to join the fight for everyone’s right to live and love, not just survive.
Stay tuned and cheers to falling in love!