Wednesday, 17 October 2018

Norwich Beer Festival unveils its Curiosity Bar!


At 5.30pm on Monday 22 October, the Norwich Beer Festival will open the doors to its 41st festival at The Halls and will be unveiling its Curiosity Bar, new for 2018.

For the first time ever, a new and unique Curiosity Bar is being introduced to Norwich Beer Festival.  Featuring a personally-selected variety of over 40 British Cask ales that will stretch your thinking and palate.  Open throughout the Festival, but with only one cask of each, be quick to grab a favourite, as they say ‘if you snooze, you lose!’. 

Gavin Cooper, Curiosity Bar Manager, commented ‘We have been travelling the breadth of England, working with brewers and wholesalers to bring you some of the most interesting and unique flavours, to stretch your perceptions of the British ale! We promise some very interesting flavours and styles.’

Within the Curiosity Bar selection are brand-new ales, Limited Edition ales and some that are very rarely served from Cask, giving them a unique and distinctive flavour.

Highlights to expect are barrel-aged versions of classic beers, sour beers, fruit beers, smoked beers, triple IPAs and barley wines.  You will find all the classics of the style spectrum, but with diverse flavours to complement their usual profiles. 

Talk to the team, test their knowledge and try some great ales - but remember, with only one cask available, you need to visit us frequently throughout the week to sample the full selection! Visit the Curiosity Bar to find out more.

Here’s a little tour of what else you can expect to find at Norwich Beer Festival this year:

Do you like beer?
Not sure whether you like beer? Pop along to the World Beer Bar – the Bar Manager there, Cheryl Cade, loves a challenge and will do her best to find you a beer you will like.  There are also soft drinks, including fruit juices, at the World Beer Bar and fizzy drinks and water available at all bars – just ask the staff. Or, give the cider and perry stand a try, which sometimes has wines and meads on too.

Would you like to give ciders a try?
The selection of real ciders and perries has grown year on year, as the appeal for ciders has grown in recent years, with drinkers preferring a wide selection of flavours and styles.  This year the festival will offer 80 different varieties, mostly from East Anglia. 

What’s at the World Beer Bar?
Cheryl Cade, World Bar Beer Manager has two special breweries in the marquee - Fort Lapin from Bruges and Fantome from Soy in the Ardennes.  Neither have shipped their beers to a UK beer festival before.

Fort Lapin’s will feature their fruit and brune beers, with soft raisins and hibiscus flowers. Fantome will offer their Saison, a sparkling delight, soft and refreshing. The other 2 beers will surprise, one is a new version of a beer brewed before and each has a wild yeast element.

The World Beer Bar are also showcasing beers from Val Dieu, the last true Abbey brewery in Belgium.  With a mix of bottled and keg, the bar will have something from their entire range. ‘There will be at least one tap running their beers at all times’, promises Cheryl.

So, what other beers can you expect to find?

Norwich Festival has evolved from 20 odd beers served on small tables in Blackfrairs Hall in 1977 to over 220 cask-conditioned real ales!  ‘We simply can’t get any more beers in’ commented Craig Harmer, Beer Festival Organiser.

As well as the usual pale ales, golden, red, IPAs, bitters, porters and stouts, there is also a range of speciality beers, which tend not to fit into any one category.

Some of the these include Bateman’s Salem Blockbuser, a pop-corn flavoured, dark amber brew; Big Lamp’s Keelman Brown, full bodied brown with a hint of toffee, Great Newsome’s Liquorice Lads, heady in aromas of Pontefract cakes and deep Vimto style flavour with rich roast malt; Green Jack’s Flower Power, A fragrant golden with lime and elderflower; Harviestoun’s Ola Dubh, aged in malt whisky casks; Lincoln Green’s Buttermuch, a dark winter warmer with butterscotch sweet and hop bitter; Maxim’s Double Maxim ‘created to celebrate the return of the Maxim Gun detachment from the Boer War.’ A brown ale with a hoppy, fruity, malty flavour; Old Chimneys’ Walnut, a dark reddish amber ale, sweet and nutty; Three Blind Mice’s Raspberry Cheesecake Pale a thick and creamy malt balanced with raspberry tartness.

Interested in local beers? 

Keeping it local - find all the big names in Norfolk brewing in Blackfriars Hall, including All Day, Ampersand, Barsham, Beeston, Blimey!, Boudicca, Brancaster, Buffys, Bull of the Woods, Elmtree, Fat Cat, Golden Triangle, Grain, Humpty Dumpty, Lacons, Norfolk Brewhouse, Opa Hay’s, Panther, People’s, Poppyland, S&P, Tombstone, Two Rivers, Waveney, Why Not, Wildcraft, Winter’s, Woodforde’s, Wolf and Yetmans.

A couple of the local speciality beers include Red Queen, a red ale with dark berries then lingering bitterness; Forager's Ale, a strong brown bitter with Parasol mushrooms and green hops from the brewer’s own garden (only seven firkins made!); Sugar Ray with a hint of honey; Chocolate Nutter with peanuts and strong chocolate flavours; Vanilla Latte, a rather nice coffee and vanilla milk stout; and Tundra a white IPA, sweet with hints of fruit and lemongrass.

What’s on and what’s not?

To keep track of the beers and ciders on offer during the festival, you can view the online beer listing, updated as they change.  You can find the list on the Norwich & Norfolk CAMRA website.  You can also register and login to create your beer list and score the beers!

You can also vote for your favourite festival beers using the voting form in the programme and the results should be announced at the end of the week before the festival finishes on Saturday.  The programme is available for free at the festival.
 
Cash admissions will be available on the door at every session – from £1 to £5 - and only £3 all day on Saturday.  CAMRA members have free entry all week or you can join at the festival for free entrance and some free beer!  Beer card tokens can be purchased at the glasses stand and remaining beer tokens may be cashed-in or donated to Headway, Norfolk and Waveney’s brain injury charity.

For more information visit the festival web pages


Monday, 15 October 2018

Norwich Beer Festival opens Monday October 22nd!


At 5.30pm on Monday October 22nd, the Norwich Beer Festival will open the doors to its 41st festival at The Halls.

For a small entrance fee (or join CAMRA for free entrance), visitors can enjoy more real ale than is ever in one place in Norwich, world beers including Trappist and fruit beers, ciders, plus live entertainment. 

‘Exploding with delight’ to open the festival are blues and funk band, DC Wilson.  The festival simply wouldn’t be the same without some brass, so also playing on the opening evening are Cawston Brass Band.

For those who love a bit of prog rock and Floyd, late Wednesday, see Geneva play, together with folk and originals band The Punch House.

‘There's 106 miles to Chicago, we've got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it's dark out, and we're wearing sunglasses’ rocking Norwich Beer Fest’ Thursday early evening are ABC Blues Brothers followed by the popular Lovin’ Handful, bringing some well-known Bluegrass and Americana.

Friday night is party night! The Harvs will be warming up with their fun collection of ‘music from everywhere and everywhen’ followed by The Good Times party, disco music to get everyone movin’.

Open all day Saturday only (closing 9.30pm), for a single £3 entrance, hear Blakeney Old Wild Rovers at lunchtime, watch Zingara Blue bring folklore and quirky musical storytelling, then sing-along with Small Talk early evening.

For only £1 on the door, lunchtime audiences will be entertained by rock ‘n’ roll (with some blues and country), funky bluegrass and some blues-rock.

See the full line-up of music on our website.

Craig Harmer, Festival Organiser, explained Saturday is a good day to visit the festival as it’s open all day from midday, with last entrance at 9pm and is not too busy so you can usually just walk straight in at any time.

The festival is attended every year by tens of thousands and each year numbers grow.  Some people have commented that the festival is so successful it attracts long queues.  To this Martin Ward, committee member, replied: ‘Gone are the days of waiting for a long time in a queue.  We now have a fast-track queue system and everyone is surprised how quickly they enter the Halls and are able to purchase their glass and tokens, even on the busier Thursday and Friday.’

The 2018 charity of the Norwich & Norfolk CAMRA Branch is Headway, Norfolk and Waveney’s brain injury charity.  Brain injury can affect anyone.  Headway supports people with traumatic and acquired brain injury including strokes, their families and carers to regain confidence and overcome challenges. They promote independence and rehabilitation, providing information and support services directly to those in need.  The charity will be collecting cash or beer tokens at the festival.

Cash admissions will be available on the door at every session.  As always, CAMRA members have free entry all week with the presentation of a valid membership card.  Free beer and entrance refunds will be given to anyone purchasing new membership at the festival. 

Free entrance to CAMRA members will also be extended to the week of the Great British Beer Festival Winter at the Halls from February 19th to 23rd 2019.  The February Festival, which offers beers of every season, shade and style, will be moving to a different CAMRA region from 2020, since the festival moves every three years.

The Great British Beer Festival Winter will also be hosting a Fringe Festival in local pubs and venues, with beer tasting and meet the brewer events planned from 1 February 2019.  For more information visit winter.gbbf.org.uk.

CAMRA currently has a national membership of over 191,000 and the Norwich and Norfolk branch are active in offering social events, surveys and campaigns to protect local breweries, pubs and real ale, ciders and perries.


  • For more information about Norwich Beer Festival, beer lists and admission times and prices, plus layout and directions, visit our dedicated festival web pages.



Saturday, 18 August 2018

CAMRA’s Norwich Winter Beer Festival from 19th February 2019

CAMRA invites festival lovers to enjoy ales-of-every-season at Norwich’s final Great British Beer Festival Winter from 19th February 2019!

Not to be confused with a festival for winter beers alone, this has beers of every style and shade, served in cask, KeyKeg and bottle - from dark to ruby brown and golden ales, plus world beers and real ciders.

After this final one in Norwich, the national event moves to a different location.

The festival runs from 19th-23rd February 2019 at St Andrew's and Blackfriars' stunning medieval friary halls, opening with a preview evening for CAMRA members only.

Martin Ward, organiser, commented: ‘2019 is the final chance to catch the February festival in the historic City of Norwich.’

Local pubs will also be getting involved in The Fringe which runs for the whole of February, with organised crawls and treasure trails, special events, competitions, featured brewers, all in the heart of Norwich. Visit winter.gbbf.org.uk.

Jenny Bach, Publicity Officer added: ‘The February Fringe invites visitors to also enjoy the many characteristic real ale pubs, all in easy walking.’

The event has been likened to CAMRA’s national summer festival in London Olympia as ‘like it, but cosier!’.  There is also hot food and snacks served all day and live music most evenings.

As always at the event, the Champion Winter Beer of Britain competition will be judged.  Local and national brewers will compete in each category and the winners and overall winner will be announced at the opening evening.  Competition ales, including winners, can be sampled by visitors in Blackfriars' Hall.

The chosen charity is the Benjamin Foundation and visitors are invited to donate cash and unspent tokens using the glasses stand box and collection pots.

Entrance is cash-only on the door, is free to CAMRA members and is open from midday all day Wednesday to Saturday.  Pre-event ticket packages, including beer tokens and souvenir glasses, can be secured.

For ticket packages or more information on the Festival and February Fringe visit winter.gbbfw.org.


Monday, 13 August 2018

Norwich Beer Festival is returning in October!

Norwich & Norfolk CAMRA get ready for the October beer festival, now in its 41st year.

Real ales from Britain's independent brewers will be on sale, along with ciders, perries, wines, bottled and draught beers.

The festival runs from Monday 22 to Saturday 27 October 2018 and will also be launching a new bar showcasing over 40 beers never before featured at the festival.  With a limited supply of each beer, it promises to offer some interesting flavours and new delights to real ale lovers. 

The Norwich Beer Festival takes place in the medieval St Andrew's and Blackfriars' Halls.  The Halls are a friary complex dating back to the 13th century, rebuilt in 1470 and Grade 1 listed.

When asked why the festival has been going from strength to strength, festival organiser Craig Harmer commented: ‘We appeal to the ale-lover but also offer something for everyone.  It doesn’t stop at cask ales, we have a world beer bar and craft keykeg beers, a bar dedicated to perries and ciders, with over 80 to choose from and several wines too, plus hot food, snacks and live music.’

Craig added that Saturday is a good day to visit the festival as it is open all day from midday with last entrance at 9pm and it is also not busy so you can usually just walk straight in at any time.

There is also a limited number of advance tickets if you want to guarantee entrance which are on sale now from the Norwich & Norfolk CAMRA website, this can be especially useful if arriving separately but meeting up as a group.

Some people have commented that the festival is so successful it attracts long queues.  To this Martin Ward, committee member, replied: ‘Gone are the days of waiting for a long time in a queue.  We now have a fast-track queue system and everyone is surprised how quickly they enter the Halls and are able to purchase their glass and tokens, even on the busier Friday and Thursday.’

For those who have never experienced the festival, you can expect a vibrant evening with entertainment, games, food and beers.  There is such a wide variety of beers, ciders, world beers and even wine, you can’t fail to find something you like!  There are even gluten-free beers.

Brass bands have become a popular feature at Norwich Beer Festival and local bands will also play most lunchtimes and evenings, for the full line-up please visit the Norwich & Norfolk CAMRA website.

Music-free sessions in St Andrew’s Hall are on Tuesday evening and Wednesday lunchtime.  On the busy weekend nights, visitors can still enjoy a quiet conversation in the marquee, cloisters and Blackfriars Hall.  There is also seating in the cloisters and marquee.

Opening times and prices, a map of where to find the Halls and a layout plan can all be found on the Norwich CAMRA website.  The website also has a guide and will have beer and cider lists nearer to the opening date, so you can plan your visit beforehand.

On entrance to the halls visitors purchase a festival glass and beer cards, as cash is not accepted at the bars, and remaining beer card tokens may be cashed-in at the end of the visit, or donated to charity.

The 2018 charity of the Norwich & Norfolk CAMRA Branch is Headway, Norfolk and Waveney’s brain injury charity.  They promote independence and rehabilitation, providing information and support services directly to those in need.

This year, the festival will be open longer on Saturday 28th October, as there will be no break between the sessions and Saturday admission will be from 12noon until 9pm, with closing time at 9.30pm, with cash entry on the door (or with a limited number of advance tickets) or free admission with a valid CAMRA membership card.  Entrance on Saturday is only £3 all day for non-members.

Norwich city pubs will also be ready to host those visiting the festival from afar, with a real ales and ciders, including CAMRA’s 2018 award winners – The Norfolk Lurcher (formerly the Ugly Bug), awarded rural pub of 2018; the Fat Cat Brewery Tap in Lawson Road awarded City Pub, Branch Pub and Norfolk Pub of the Year 2018 and the White Lion in Oak Street awarded Cider Pub of 2018.

The selection of real ciders and perries has grown year on year, as the appeal for ciders has grown in recent years, with drinkers preferring a wide selection of flavours and styles.  This year the festival will offer 80 different varieties, mostly from East Anglia.

Over the four decades the festival has evolved from around 20 odd beers served on small tables in Blackfrairs Halls in 1977, where the organisers visited breweries one by one requesting to buy beer for an unknown local festival.  Now there are over 220 cask-conditioned real ales on sale and the organisers have reached capacity!

Festival goers may also vote on their favourite beer in the festival competition.  You can vote for your festival beer using the voting form in the programme and the results should be announced at the end of the week before the festival finishes on Saturday.

A varied music line-up will be announced shortly for the 2018 festival and Blackfriars will be a music-free area.

Cash admissions will be available on the door at every session.  As always, CAMRA members have free entry all week with the presentation of a valid membership card.

For more information, beer lists and admission times and prices visit the Norwich Beer Festival web pages.



Thursday, 12 July 2018

Great British Beer Festival Winter 2018 supports local charity

The charity of CAMRA’s Great British Beer Festival Winter in 2018 was Age UK Norwich and attendees raised £3,651.

Emma Roper, Fundraising Manager, commented: ‘We are delighted to have raised such a generous donation which will help us to continue to widen our support for the older people of Norwich.’

Emma Roper of Age UK Norwich receives the cheque for £3651 from Chris Thomas, Treasurer of N&N CAMRA.

Age UK Norwich is dedicated to making later life the best it can be for anyone aged 50+.

They have been providing services to the people of Norwich, their carers and family members, for over 70 years, including: activity groups and social clubs; free advice; and dementia care support groups and services.

The charity also provides a volunteer befriending scheme.
 
‘Befriending for older people who are lonely and in need of a friendly chat and a bit of company can be a very rewarding experience’, explains Susan Ringwood, Chief Executive Officer for Age UK Norwich. ‘We currently have 197 volunteers helping locally and we welcome anyone who wishes to volunteer through our charity.’

If you would like more information about Age UK Norwich, you can visit their Information and Advice Team, located in the charity’s shop at 60 London Street, Norwich NR2 1JX, or call the team on Norwich 496333.

Martin Ward, Great British Beer Festival Winter Organiser commented: ‘We are delighted to support Age UK Norwich.  We all become older and the services provided by the charity are in great need and their drop-in advice centre is a great local resource.’

The festival returns to Norwich in February 2019, for the half-term week and the 2019 chosen charity is The Benjamin Foundation.

The Great British Beer Festival Winter starts on Tuesday, 19th February 2019, at The Halls, Norwich, opening with a CAMRA members-only preview from 5.30pm.  It is then open to everyone from 12noon until 10.30pm every day until Saturday 23rd February 2019.

The festival will feature a range of ales from traditional dark ales to light hoppy ales, with hot food available and live music.  Entrance is free to CAMRA members and non-members can pay on the door.

There is also a Fringe Festival taking place throughout February in local pubs and venues.

For more information about The Festival and The Fringe visit winter.gbbf.org.uk.

Monday, 9 July 2018

Fat Cat Brewery Tap in Norwich is Norfolk’s Pub of The Year

Norfolk members of CAMRA (the Campaign for Real Ale) have selected The Fat Cat Brewery Tap, in Lawson Road, Norwich, as their 2018 Norfolk Pub of the Year

To add to their accolades, the Norwich pub has also been awarded City Pub of the Year 2018 and Branch’s overall Pub of the Year 2018 by the local CAMRA branch and have previously won the same awards as recently as 2016. 

Landlords Mark White and Laura Hedley-White took over the pub, formerly known as the Cider Shed, and is part of the Fat Cat group of pubs. 

Mark said: ‘When we won the local CAMRA award in 2016 we thought we had reached a pinnacle, but now having won the Norfolk county Pub of the Year 2018 we are absolutely amazed and delighted.’ 

Laura also added: ‘We couldn’t have done it without our dedicated staff who create the fun and friendly atmosphere and push us to do the best we can.  It really does feel like one big family.’

The Fat Cat Brewery Tap is a characterful real ale hotspot serving its own Fat Cat beer and a selection of around 20 other real ales, plus 12 keg beers, around 10 traditional ciders and perries plus bottled and canned beer and a range of wines.

Described as a ‘year-round beer festival with live music and the most enthusiastic managers you could wish to find’ the venue also offers a popular range of mother chips and sharing cheese platters in colourful, original, rustic surroundings. 

In second position came the Kings Arms, of Shouldham (West Norfolk Branch); in third place was the Tombstone Saloon, in Gt Yarmouth (East Norfolk Branch); and in fourth place came the Old Kings Head in Brockdish (Mid Anglia Branch).

Martin Ward, of Norwich & Norfolk CAMRA, commented: ‘All pubs were of a very high standard and we would like to pass on our thanks to all those who were involved in the scoring and judging.’

Monday, 25 June 2018

Norwich hosts beer appreciation awareness!

A Beer Appreciation course has been hosted in Norwich for members of Norwich & Norfolk CAMRA.  The course is intended for members to attain the skills necessary to judge quality beers at local events and competitions and to enhance their own personal appreciation.

The Beer Appreciation course is recognised by CAMRA (the Campaign for Real Ale) and the training was hosted by Alan Edwards and held in The Beehive on Leopold Road, Norwich.  The course involved tasting 6 Norfolk beers and compiling tasting notes.

The course enables participants to judge local competitions and is particularly timely on the run up to the Champion Winter Beer of Britain competition which is due to be hosted in Norwich at The Halls on Tuesday, 19th February 2019 and will kick start the popular Great British Beer Festival Winter which will run until Saturday 23rd February 2019.

Those who passed the course were Dee Leybourne-Edwards who passed with top marks, Roy Edwards, Chris Wickens, Damian Lofthouse, Sheila McGinley, Steve Turner, Oli Fernandez, Hilary Goreham, Peter Goreham, Matt Sladen, Andrew Smith and Michelle Royall.  Charles Brett and Chris Rimmer also attended the training, but did not take the exam.

Local CAMRA members will be invited to join further CAMRA Beer Appreciation courses in the coming months.

Alan Edwards, trainer, commented: “It is a busy year for Norwich & Norfolk CAMRA, with the annual Norwich Beer festival in October and the Great British Beer Festival Winter in February, both at The Halls. 2019 will be the last year Norwich will host this festival having reached the end of the 3-year term before it moves to a different CAMRA location.

“There are also many other CAMRA festivals in East Anglia and now is a good time to join in the activities and campaigns to protect local ale, cider, perries and of course pubs and clubs."

Norwich Beer Festival, which runs from Monday 22nd to Saturday 27th October 2018, will also be launching a new bar showcasing over 40 beers never before featured at the festival, with a limited supply of each beer, it promises to offer some interesting flavours and new delights to real ale lovers.

The Great British Beer Festival Winter will also be hosting a Fringe Festival in local pubs and venues, with beer tasting events and meet the brewer events planned from 1st February 2019. 

CAMRA currently has a national membership of over 191,000 and the Norwich and Norfolk branch are active in offering social events, surveys and campaigns to protect local breweries, pubs and real ale, ciders and perries.