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Norwich’s Dragon Hall is all fired up over its beer festival

09:52 22 April 2014

Dragon Hall beer festival returns. Submitted pictures

Dragon Hall beer festival returns. Submitted pictures


It’s been dubbed the most relaxed and female-friendly beer festival around – in part because the organising team is made up of three women – and Dragon Hall’s 2014 three-day event returns from Friday, April 25 to Sunday, April 27.


The festival, based at the 15th century trading hall in King Street, is sponsored by Norwich’s Fat Cat Brewery and the specially etched souvenir glasses, which are included in the admission prices, feature a new logo from city artist Matt Reeve combining the Fat Cat and the Dragon Hall dragon.

All proceeds from the festival will help towards the upkeep of Dragon Hall which is cared for by an independent trust.

The women running the festival are chief beer selector Emma Pinder, Andrea Kirkby, who looks after the beer during the three-day festival and runs the bars, and Dragon Hall events manager Rachael McLanagan, who oversees it all.

A festival spokesman said: “Our first beer festival was held in 2011.

“This year we will be showcasing a selection of unusual real ales from across the UK, bringing some of the finest lesser known ales supplied by independent brewers to Norwich with as many ales from all over the county as can be fitted under the ancient timbers of Dragon Hall’s magnificent crown post roof and all around the building.

“Following an enthusiastic response from drinkers last year The Cider Corner will also return with its choice selection of real ciders.

“Delicious hot food will be available at all sessions as well as tea, coffee and soft drinks for drivers.

“There will be live music from a range of bands, to be announced soon.”

Dragon Hall has had a long association with beer drinkers.

From the death of its founder Robert Toppes in 1467 to its rediscovery in the early 1980s it was largely neglected with parts of the building being put to various uses ranging from shops to a vicarage to slum tenement housing.

Most relevantly it has housed at least three pubs, the last, The Old Barge Inn was serving thirsty drinkers until 1969. The building was owned by Watney Mann brewers until 1979.

It reopened following restoration and extension as a modern visitor attraction in 2006.

See for more details.

Are you holding a beer festival in Norwich? Email reporter



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