CAMRA boost for smallest pub in Norwich

Regulars at a petite pub in Norwich already know that the best things come in small packages but will be hoping members of the regional branch of the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) think so too.

The former Vine Tavern in Dove Street is one of about 10 pubs in the area to have been short-listed for the Norwich and Norfolk branch of CAMRA's pub of the year accolade.

The pub, believed to be the smallest in Norwich, has been re-branded The Vine Thai Cuisine by licensee Aey Allen who reopened the pub, which now has a Thai restaurant upstairs, in December 2008.

Ms Allen said she is 'over the moon' with the news the pub, which is featured in the 2011 CAMRA Good Beer Guide, is in the running for the honour which comes just as they launched their own winter beer festival.

She said: 'It's my second winter beer festival and it could be the smallest beer festival in the world because it's the smallest pub in Norwich.

'This year we've done two or three more beers than before so I hope it will be a success again. We're unique in that we're the smallest pub in Norwich, we have a Thai restaurant and people can come in and enjoy the ale as well.

'The Vine always serves a nice pint and is well kept as I like the real ale myself and know the beers. So when I do the beer festival people can't wait to come and try my beer because they know I always pick the good beer for the festival.'

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The festival, which started yesterday and runs until Sunday has a selection of 12 different ales from across the country.

As well as being able to try ales from Hertfordshire (Highwayman), Nottinghamshire (Preservation Fine Ale), and Leicestershire (Acris) festival-goers will also be able to sample the best Norfolk has to offer.

Mardler's Mild by Woodbastwick-based brewer Woodforde's, Jack's Revenge by Acle-based Tipples, Stout Cat by Norwich-based Fat Cat and Dark Horse Stout by Snetterton-based Elmtree are among the best of the rest of the locally-brewed offerings.

The Vine Tavern closed two years ago with the owners saying it was struggling to make money. The pub had been known as the Vine Tavern since it opened in 1842 except for a short spell in the 1840s when it was known as The Albert Tavern or The Prince Albert.

Drinkers had feared the pub would close for good in December 2005 when its owners left for personal reasons but it was saved by licensee Jaime Kerr and her mother Leanne when they took over as tenants in February 2006.

The beer festival runs from 11am until close everyday except Sunday when it will finish at 4pm.

For more details call the pub on 01603 627362.

The beer festival fits in with the Evening News's Love Your Local campaign. For more stories log onto

Have you got a story for the campaign? Call reporter Peter Walsh on 01603 772436 or email