Queer beer group launches in Sheffield

The celebration of Sheffield beer week this year will also see the launch of a different kind of beer society.

Out and About Sheffield is a new, not-for-profit organisation which aims to make the beer and ale culture in Sheffield more accessible for LGBT+ people.

Michael Deakin, one of the group’s co-founders, said as a queer person who enjoys drinking cask ales, the environment in traditional pubs can sometimes feel threatening.

“There’s this whole correlation between places that serve cask beer and old men in anoraks that are going to hurl abuse and that’s always in the back of your mind. We basically just want to smash that idea down,” he added.

Michael Deakin and Heather Griffin, Out and About co-founders

To celebrate the launch, Out and About Sheffield have collaborated with Abbeydale Brewery to create a cask pale ale called Setting Out.

The group have also commissioned Queer artist Ollie Hayes to design the label.

Laura Rangely, one of the collaborators at Abbeydale Brewery, said: “Setting Out is a 4.2% citron cascade pale ale, so it should be really really tasty, nice and drinkable and really accessible.”

Laura Rangeley, Communications Manager at Abbeydale Brewery

Although Out and About are not directly affiliated with Sheffield Beer Week, they chose to launch at the same time because diversity and inclusion are the two main themes of this year’s event.

Jules Gray, director of Sheffield Beer Week, said the goal of the event is to shine a light on forgotten people in the beer industry and amplify marginalised voices.

“I do think that the more different people you get together, in my experience, you get more interesting points of view you get just a wider perspective about life.

“I’m not going to sit here and say its an amazingly diverse and inclusive industry but I kind of want to use Sheffield Beer Week as a positive channel to try and improve diversity,” she added.

Out and About have contacted several pubs across Sheffield to ask for support and overall have had a positive response.

Heather Griffin, the second co-founder, said their main aim is to create a culture in which Queer people feel safe going to any venue.

“There are places where we go where we know we feel comfortable but there are other places where people might feel more uncomfortable.

“In those places, we are hoping to talk to managers and owners and maybe discuss with them why they have stereotypical thoughts.

“If you like drinking, whether it’s beer or not, even if you don’t like drinking. Whoever you are just come and have a drink with some sound people,” they added.

The first Out and About event will take place on Monday 11 March at the Devonshire Cat from 7pm.