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.

Monday, 26 March 2018

Branch 'Pub Of The Year' winners anounced

The Fat Cat Brewery Tap, on Lawson Road in Norwich, has been voted Norwich & Norfok CAMRA branch's 2018 Pub Of The Year.

The pub has been awarded both the 2018 City Pub of the Year and the Branch’s overall Pub of the Year by the members of the Norwich and Norfolk branch of CAMRA (the Campaign for Real Ale).

Landlords Mark White and Laura Hedley-White have received the news of the win. Mark said: ‘We are thrilled and very proud of what we have achieved and very thankful to our amazing team and to the support of our customers.

‘Our aim has always been simple; seek out the best and most innovative beers the UK has to offer, then serve them in the most fun environment we can create.’

Laura also commented that she is delighted to hear that they have once again received both awards, having also won back in 2016 and added: ‘We believe good music goes hand in hand with good beer, so we select some of the finest bands we can find for you to listen to whilst exploring our extensive ale and cider menu.’

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.

The Norfolk Lurcher, in Colton, has scooped the Norwich & Norfolk CAMRA 2018 Rural Pub of the Year.

Purchased a little over 10 years ago by Alison and John Lainchbury, who run the pub and restaurant with the help of their son Daniel and his wife Penny, The Norfolk Lurcher is the country place to visit for a great drink and good local food.

Home to the Ugly Bug Restaurant offering quality, fresh local food, the pub itself changed its name to the Norfolk Lurcher, named after the family dog, Alfie, a Norfolk Lurcher.

Daniel commented: ‘John, Alison, Penny, myself, and not forgetting Alfie, were all absolutely thrilled to hear that we had won this year. It was completely unexpected! We would like to thank our fantastic regulars, locals and CAMRA members who nominated and voted for us, without whom we would not be in this situation.

‘We would also like to thank our local brewers for making such amazing beers that everyone loves so much! We would equally like to thank our staff, who have worked so hard all year round to help us achieve this great award.’

The Norwich & Norfolk CAMRA Branch have also awarded the 2018 Cider Pub of the Year, won for the seventh time by The White Lion, Oak Street, Norwich.

Russell Corke, manager of the pub which is run by Individual Pubs, the trading arm of Milton Brewery, said: ‘We are delighted to win this award again which demonstrates our continued commitment to providing a range of quality local and traditional ciders for our customers.’

The runner-up in the City Pub of the Year is the Beehive, and the Rural Pub runner-up was the White Horse at Neatishead, both former winners.

Ian Stamp, the Norwich and Norfolk Branch Chairman said: ‘As always, the competition for Branch Pub of the Year was very tight, with only a couple of points (out of 40) separating the top ten pubs.

‘The Fat Cat Brewery Tap, a previous winner in 2016, well deserves the prize, as a well-managed pub with something for everyone - a fantastic range of both traditional and modern real ales and keg beers, a great list of ciders and perries, regular live music and great food, but also a "real pub" atmosphere. Congratulations to Mark and Laura and all their staff!

‘I would also like to congratulate Alison and John Lainchbury, owners of the Norfolk Lurcher, a new winner of our Rural Pub of the Year. They've worked very hard since buying the pub over ten years ago, and from my visits over the years I can vouch for the quality of the beer - we must visit the pub to sample the food, which I'm told is also excellent!’

The winners will be presented with their award certificates at the respective pubs in the near future.  Details will be announced on the branch Facebook page and website calendar.

The overall winner, the Fat Cat Brewery Tap, will now go on to the Norfolk Pub Of The Year competition and will be judged against the King's Arms, of Shouldham, West Norfolk Branch; Tombstone Saloon, of Great Yarmouth, East Norfolk Sub-Branch; and the Old King's Head, Brockdish, Mid Anglia Branch, to find the overall Norfolk Pub Of The Year.

The White Lion will also go head to head with other cider pub winners to find the overall Cider Pub Of The Year.

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

World Beers at the Great British Beer Festival Winter

CAMRA are hosting the Great British Beer Festival Winter, taking place in Norwich from 20 to 24 February and featuring World Beers in The Halls central marquee.

World beers have been selected from Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Spain, UK and the USA and will be showcased in the marquee, accessed via the Cloisters of St Andrew’s Hall.

All beers are note-worthy, but just to select a few to whet the appetite: 

There will be a bottled Australian golden ale, Little Creatures, laden with hops with loads of character. 

Austria’s Brauerei Schloss will also be represented with its Samichlaus Doppelbock, perhaps the rarest in the world! Samichlaus is brewed on 6th December each year and older vintages become more complex with a creamy warming finish.

There is a limited edition Alvinne beer, available in bottles at the World Beer Bar from the ‘Wild West’ of Belgium.  This beer is aged in French oak barrels (Chateau La Croizillé) from 2011 and contains a wide range of handpicked berries. 

There is naturally a large selection of Belgium beers including bottled Trappist beers from Belgium, Netherlands and Italy, together with a classic Belgium Dubbel on draft, with dry fruit flavours and gentle roastiness. 

There is a wide selection on draught, such as the Thirstin More from Warpigs brewery of Denmark, a hazy golden beer with an aroma of dry orange fruits, wheat, citrus and flowers. 

There is a collaborative brew brought to us by Fuerst Wiacek of Germany together with Zagovor Brewery, ‘German Movies’, a double dry hopped with Citra, Mosaic and Galaxy that they acquired from the Põhjala Brewery of Estonia.

There are also lagers from Germany, Poland and UK on draft.  Also look out for the array of draught UK beers from All Day Brewing, Ampersand, Burnt Mills, Little Earth Project, Nene Valley Brewery and Redwell, alongside a tempting selection of Belgium draught beers.

From the USA, we have on draught the Gangster Frog IPA, from Hopping Frog brewery, a crisp and satisfying American IPA with a bright, spicy citrus hop character up front and a distinct orange and tropical fruit hop bouquet, adding a welcome complexity.

Other special beers of note on draughtt at the festival include keg beers La Pirata ‘Lupulus’ session IPA (3%, Spain); Prairie Artisan ‘Birthday Bomb!’ (13% double imperial stout, USA); Zywiec’s vegan Blonde lager (5.6%, Poland); and Mahrs Brau’s ‘Hell’, a 4.9% lager from Germany.

Making its first ever UK appearance will be the American Citreamcicle from Mantra Artisan Ales. A vanilla and lactose IPA with a tropical bouquet.

Cheryl Cade
Cheryl Cade, who manages the World Beer Bar comments: ‘There is a limited selection of each beer, but there is such a wide choice we are sure you will find something of interest.  If you are unsure or can’t find what you’re looking for, please ask our experienced team of volunteers, they will be happy to help you find that special something.’

Cheryl is a Beer Sommelier and hosts beer events throughout the year through her business, The Thirst Consultants.  Cheryl is also hosting the Beer & Fine Dining Experience to be held at the Maids Head Hotel, offering a three-course evening menu pairing with different local beers on Sunday 18 February, 7.30pm.

Local brewers will be sponsoring the event as part of the CAMRA Great British Beer Festival Winter. Breweries are: Ampersand Brewery, Allday Brewing, Elmtree, Boudicca, Humpty Dumpty, Beeston and Panther.

To keep track of the draught beers (including draught world beers) on offer during the festival, you can view the online beer list, which is updated as they change:
www.norwichcamra.org.uk/bf

The World Beer Bar forms an integral part of the Great British Beer Festival Winter, which starts on Tuesday, 20 February, 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 the 24 February. For more information about The Festival and The Fringe visit winter.gbbf.org.uk.

Tuesday, 13 February 2018

Live music line-up at Great British Beer Festival Winter

An exciting mix of live music, featuring some of the most popular local bands, are ready to take to the stage for this year’s Great British Beer Festival Winter.   The line-up promises to be fun and get the crowd into the festival spirit!

Preparations are well under way now for the festival to open on the Tuesday 20 February, with a CAMRA members preview from 5.30pm, and will run from Tues 20 to Sat 24 February.  The winter beer festival takes place in the medieval halls, known as St Andrew’s and Blackfriars’ Halls and is organised by the local branch of CAMRA, who also organise the ever-popular Norwich Beer Festival.

A music-free session is on Wednesday and on the busy weekend nights, visitors can still enjoy a quiet conversation in the marquee, cloisters and Blackfriars’ Hall. 

Thursday evening will feature Sam Coe & The Long Shadows - a UK Country/Americana band from Norwich.  Their debut EP, “Santa Fe”, was released in 2017 to critical acclaim, followed by their first UK tour and support slot with The Shires. They have played C2C (Country 2 Country) Festival this year and last year and are currently recording their first full-length album, alongside GingerDog records, due for release in Spring 2018. You can grab a copy of their EP when they appear on Thursday evening.

Friday evening sees The Collective.  Established in 2007, this professional outfit are guaranteed to turn any event into something unique. A collection of permanent, highly professional musicians, who have performed with many top artists and have over 25 years’ experience, they are a band like no other. Classic soul, funk, disco and rock are seamlessly blended with the most up to date tracks. A real party band for a seriously fun night!
 
Saturday afternoon The Shackleton Trio (formerly The Georgia Shackleton Trio) will be delighting visitors to the festival with an exciting blend of Americana, folk and self-written material. Georgia writes and performs ‘wordy songs about other people’, instrumentally influenced by British, American, and Scandinavian folk traditions, with a regional twist from her native East Anglia.  The trio sees Georgia teamed up with guitar powerhouse, Aaren Bennett, and mandolin ace, Nic Zuppardi. Together they have toured the UK, Belgium and the Netherlands, appeared at the Rotterdam Bluegrass Festival, Cambridge Folk Festival, Towersey Festival, Broadstairs Folk Week, Folk East and concert halls and folk clubs across the UK.

The Vagaband
 Saturday evening audiences will be treated to The Vagaband’s soulful, rustic Americana-led, self-penned songs with heartfelt lyrics and dazzling displays of musicianship!  This very popular band offer gentle elements of soul and swing with traditional instruments and modern flair! Norfolk’s finest musicians will perform a fabulous show full of heart, soul and song.

Live music has always played an important part of Norwich’s CAMRA beer festivals and the Great British Beer Festival Winter is no exception.  The festival starts on Tuesday, 20 February, 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 including Saturday 24 February.

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

Monday, 12 February 2018

Brewery Bars at the Great British Beer Festival Winter

Local rrewers will be showcasing some of the best of the region at the Great British Beer Festival Winter in Norwich this month.

Breweries from across East Anglia will be taking centre stage at the Great British Beer Festival Winter 2018, taking place from the 20th-24th February in Norwich.

The local breweries will offer a range of their finest beers to festival attendees.  Breweries include:

Lacons Brewery - a multi award-winning brewery based in Great Yarmouth that can trace its history back to 1760. Their flagship beer ‘Encore’ has been awarded many local and world accolades and their ‘Patriot’ was awarded Bronze in the Golden Ale Category of Norfolk & Norwich CAMRA 2017 and their Audit Ale has won Gold in the World Beer Awards 2017.


Norfolk Brewhouse and H Banham Ltd – The Norfolk Brewhouse and H Banham, grain merchants and custodians of Maris Otter barley, will jointly run the Maris Otter Bar, giving visitors the chance to learn more about what makes Norfolk malt, its growers, maltsters and brewers so very special.

Moonshine Brewery - a Cambridge-based brewery whose Chocolate Orange Stout has been a three-times finalist in the “Speciality Beers Category” at the Great British Beer Festival as well as winning the 6th Elysian Festival, Beer of the Festival, and being 3-times winner of the Champion Speciality Beer of East Anglia. Their beers are hand-brewed and characterised by their clean, fresh taste. They will be showcasing a few of their special, one-off beers at the upcoming festival.

The Brewery Bars form an important part of the Great British Beer Festival Winter, which starts on Tuesday, 20 February, at The Halls, Norwich, opening with a CAMRA members-only preview from 5.30pm. It is then open to everyone continually from 12noon until 10.30pm each day until the Saturday, 24 February.

The Halls, including Blackfriars’ and St Andrew’s medieval friary complex, is also home to the Norwich Beer Festival, which is also organised by the Norwich & Norfolk Branch of CAMRA and which celebrated its 40th anniversary last October.

Martin Ward, the Great British Beer Festival Winter organiser, says: ‘I am delighted that we will be able to offer such excellent breweries at the Great British Beer Festival Winter. East Anglia is home to some of the finest breweries and beers in the country, and it is wonderful that we can shine a spotlight on these fantastic local brewers.’

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 £4 to non-members (£3 Wednesday) on the door.

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

Sunday, 11 February 2018

CAMRA Fringe Festival - Norwich Pubs host Fringe Festival

CAMRA have teamed up with Norwich pubs to create a month of celebration. The Fringe Festival will be hosted in pubs in central Norwich throughout February, with special events to celebrate CAMRA’s Great British Beer Festival Winter, taking place in Norwich from 20 to 24 of February.

Local pubs will also be getting involved as the Great British Beer Festival Winter extends to The Fringe which runs for the whole of February, with organised crawls and treasure trails, special events, competitions, featured brewers and a unique fine dining and beer experience.

The Fringe Festival, running alongside the Great British Beer Festival Winter is a fantastic opportunity for Norwich to promote the range of pubs around the City, and gives a new opportunity to explore them.

You may join the organised pub crawls or take your own route and visit The Fringe at your leisure, either way, you can enter the Treasure Trail to win £100 of beer!

A guide showing the featured events and the Treasure Trail is available at participating pubs and on the website winter.gbbf.org.uk/the-fringe.  The website also details the organised crawls, with the company of others, and are open to CAMRA members and non-members alike.

Special Fringe dates:
2-22 Feb - The Woolpack Yard –beer tasting palates and Green Jack takeover
5-11 Feb - The Trafford Arms – Valentine Beer Festival, live music, 60 beers!
8-11 Feb - The Ribs of Beef – ‘From the Big Smoke to the Fine City’ - London Breweries show case, including Howling Hops, Canopy, One Mile End, Wildcard, Fullers & Redemption
9 Feb - CAMRA Fringe Crawl – starts at The Angel Gardens 7.30pm, Friday
13 Feb - CAMRA Fringe Crawl – starts at The William & Florence 12 noon, Tuesday
14-17 Feb - The Rose – pie and porter festival
16 Feb - CAMRA Fringe Crawl – starts at The Golden Star 7.30pm, Friday
16 Feb - The Leopard – Lacons Tap Take Over Friday with Lacons festival beer
17 Feb - CAMRA Fringe Crawl – starts at The Rose 7.30pm, Saturday
20-24 Feb - The Great British Beer Festival Winter, The Halls, Norwich
20-26 Feb - The Ribs of Beef – ‘Abstract Jungle Show Case’
25 Feb - The Black Horse – comedy night, free entrance, 7.30pm, Sunday

Beer & Fine Dining Experience:
Also on 18 Feb - Maids Head Hotel - local Beer Sommelier Cheryl Cade, the Maids Head Hotel, and a selection of local breweries are presenting a three-course evening menu pairing with different local beers on Sunday 18 February – don’t miss this opportunity to enjoy fine local food and beer! Local brewers will be sponsoring the Beer & Food (Fine Dining Experience), as part of the launch of the Great British Beer Festival Winter. CAMRA, in association with the 4-star Maids Head Hotel in Norwich, will be holding a Beer & Fine Dining Experience on Sunday 18 February, at 7.30pm. Guests will be treated to a three-course dinner, matched with seven local beers. Breweries are: Ampersand Brewery, Allday Brewing, Elmtree, Boudicca, Humpty Dumpty, Beeston and Panther. Tickets are £35 pp and are selling out fast and can be purchased until Sunday 11 February - winter.gbbf.org.uk/tickets/beer-food/

Other highlights:
Earlham Arms - special ales and a chance to win a mini cask of Barsham ale
Lollards Pit – featured brewers, £3 a pint specials, £2.50 Mondays, CAMRA discount
Kings Head – East Anglian Breweries Showcase and a chance to win Boudicca beer
The Murderers – featuring local beers and a range of Lancashire real ales plus live music on Thursdays throughout February
The William & Florence – award-winning beers on tap in newly refurbished premises
Wig and Pen – A Taste of Norfolk, 5 local ales
The Rosebery – early bird £2.50 a pint on all cask ales from 1st-24th Feb, with CAMRA membership card (3-6pm weekdays, 12-6pm weekends) and showcasing a selection of top quality real ales from across the country

Live music:
Live music also features at The Golden Star and The Angel Gardens (Saturdays), The Earlham Arms (Sundays), The Belle Vue (3 Feb) and The Kings Arms (10 & 24 Feb).

Feeling hungry?  Try the special food matching events:
The Rose – pie and porter festival – 14-17 Feb
The Red Lion – special beers and pizzas
Wig and Pen – A Taste of Norfolk, pint of Norfolk bangers & mash £3!
The Buck – home-made pies for February
The Cellar House – Valentine Hot Mexican Night and music
The William & Florence – bottomless brunch 10am-2pm Saturdays and Sundays
The Angel Gardens – Sunday lunches served 12noon until 8pm!

The Fringe is part of the Great British Beer Festival Winter, which starts on Tuesday, 20 February, 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 the 24 February.

The Halls, including Blackfriars’ and St Andrew’s medieval friary complex, is also home to the Norwich Beer Festival, which is also organised by the Norwich & Norfolk Branch of CAMRA and which celebrated its 40th anniversary last October. 

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 £4 to non-members (£3 Wednesday) on the door.  For more information about The Festival and The Fringe visit winter.gbbf.org.uk.

Great British Beer Festival Winter - information update

The organisers of the Norwich Beer Festival are calling for all beer and cider lovers to enjoy another chance to sample many of their favourite ales, ciders and world beers in Norwich, in February!

The Norwich & Norfolk branch play host to CAMRA’s national event, the Great British Beer Festival Winter running from 21 to 24 February 2017 at The Halls - St Andrew's and Blackfriars' medieval friary halls – the home of the popular Norwich CAMRA Beer Festival, with a preview for CAMRA members on Tuesday 20 February.

Martin Ward, festival organiser, commented: “A year is far too long for beer drinkers to wait for their next great festival, so we are pleased to announce the dates for the Great British Beer Festival, Winter taking place in the beautiful city of Norwich.  It will attract lovers of the annual Norwich Beer Festival and visitors to the summer national festival in London."

The event has been likened to the national London Olympia event as ‘like it, but cosier!’.  If you’ve never visited the Halls, you will find the surroundings stunning as you’ll be sampling the beery beverages in the magnificent medieval friary halls, in the heart of Norwich. There will be hot food, snacks and live music to enjoy too.

Not to be confused with a beer festival for winter beers alone, this festival will have cask, KeyKeg and bottled ales of every style, season and shade!  Visitors will enjoy fruity ruby, full-bodied dark and popular light ales, as well as world beers and delicious real ciders and perries.

Local pubs will also be getting involved as the festival extends to The Fringe which runs for the whole of February, with organised crawls and treasure trails, special events, competitions, featured brewers and a unique fine dining and beer experience.
 
Tuesday 20 February is for CAMRA members only from 5.30pm to 10.30pm.  The rest of the week is free to CAMRA members and is open to members and the public all day from 12.00noon to 10.30pm 21-24 February.

Admission is by £4 cash-only payment on the door (£3 on Wednesday), or you can secure a quick entrance with advance tickets from the website, though hurry as these are selling fast!  For further details, visit winter.gbbf.org.uk.

Martin Ward explained: "This year is going to be a big one for the winter festival.  It’s now in its second year in Norwich and we have done much to raise awareness of the event.  Visitors have given excellent feedback on the choice and quality of the beers and we will have an equally extensive range this February."

Ian Stamp, Branch Chairman, added: "We are proud to be hosting CAMRA’s national winter festival here in Norwich.  The CAMRA summer event is hosted in London, whilst we will be hosting the winter event for three years, this being the second year.  We hope that both CAMRA members and non-members will enjoy the array of beers and ciders on offer."

As always at the national festival, the Champion Winter Beer of Britain competition will be judged.  Local and national brewers will compete to find a winner in each category and the winners and overall winner will also be selected and announced at the festival. 

For more information on the Great British Beer Festival Winter and The Fringe please visit the website winter.gbbf.org.uk.

Friday, 19 January 2018

2018 Norwich Beer Festival logo competition

The annual competition has been launched by CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale) to find the new logo for the 41st Norwich Beer Festival, taking place from Monday 22nd October until Saturday 27th October 2018.

The competition has commenced early this year as the Norwich & Norfolk branch will be hosting the Great British Beer Festival Winter (Tuesday 20th February until Saturday 24th February 2018). For more information about that, visit winter.gbbf.org.uk.

The deadline for competition entrants is 9pm on Monday 19th February 2018 and Norwich & Norfolk CAMRA are looking for innovative designs depicting a dragon of some form.

Members and volunteers can feel proud of another successful Norwich Beer Festival in 2017, which marked its 40th year and saw 18,000 visitors.

Now the preparations for the popular annual event can commence for 2018.

Ian Stamp, Chairman, said: “We are hoping to receive lots of entries, although they must include a dragon in some form, the entrants can choose a setting or background of their choice.

“We always look forward to seeing the selection of talented entrants. The logo of the winner will be depicted on the festival glass, programme, and other merchandise”.

As always, the essential element is that a dragon must be included within the design, although abstract is acceptable. Also, a maximum of five colours (four is preferable) can be used, including any black or white parts of the design.

Entrants are asked to specify "Adult" or "Under-18" and include their name, contact details and age (if under-18) within the email.

The main winner will be judged by the organising committee and will receive £100 along with a selection of merchandise featuring their logo at the festival.

There will be two runner-up prizes of complementary festival tickets, and the best under-18 entrant will receive a voucher.

All entries must be in a standard image format (JPEG, TIFF, PNG, GIF, BMP, or PDF). Vector files are welcome as long as a standard image format is included. Hand drawn entries are acceptable, but must be scanned or photographed.

All entries must be emailed to logo@norwichbeerfestival.org.uk and be received before 9pm Monday 19th February 2018. All email entries will be acknowledged.

All entries will become the property of the Norwich & Norfolk branch of the Campaign for Real Ale and may be used for display and publicity purposes.