Norwich’s City of Ale festival ‘biggest and beeriest’ yet
It has been dubbed the “biggest and beeriest” festival yet.
And now Norwich’s City of Ale celebration has wound down for another year organisers are celebrating breaking records with more than 100 events held over 10 days.
City of Ale was the first beer week in the country and has since been replicated in other cities such as Manchester, York and Bristol.
But Norwich remains the largest with 48 pubs, this year on seven ale trails.
Norwich South MP Clive Lewis took part in the pre-launch blind tasting, which co-chairman Dawn Leeder said ”helped highlight that the festival is about choosing something different, sipping and savouring”.
She said: “It also highlighted the range of beer styles, flavours and aromas – and the fabulous choice on offer. It was fitting that he visited the Murderers, run by City of Ale co-founder and co-chair Phil Cutter, where 50 different local ales could be found over the course of the festival. Clive also attended our launch event at the Black Horse, Earlham Road along with the Lord Mayor and Sheriff in full regalia.”
As hop hunters completed the trails, they were able to collect an enamel lapel-pin badge, featuring some of Norwich’s best-loved buildings, both ancient and modern.
And while the exact number handed out is not yet known, Mrs Leeder said last year’s total of more than 1,000 had been “easily” topped.
Three of the country’s most eminent beer writers, Pete Brown, Roger Protz and Adrian Tierney-Jones, held a Books and Beers tasting at Waterstones, and hosted various talks over the festival’s first weekend.
During the second weekend women brewers - known as brewsters - were highlighted in the Fem-Ale festival, mainly at the Plasterers Arms.
Norfolk and Normandy brewers got together, in the spirit of entente cordi-ale, to brew a beer with shared local malts.
The French team visited 3 times – to meet City of Ale members in March, then to brew the beer at the beginning of May, then for City of Ale itself.
Amitie was a collaborative brew between Norfolk Brewhouse and Northmaen Brewery, and it used a combination of Norfolk malt and Normandy malt, and French and English hops.
Boudicca Brewery organised a special talk on The Age of Boudicca at the Last Pub Standing with local historian, Dr Adrian Marsden, which was a sell-out.
And WildCraft Brewery ran its own ale trail with prizes and through social media where their mascot Brewy could virtually sit on your head.
For the first time, City of Ale had a pop-up stall on Norwich Market hosted by Sir Toby’s Beers.
There were countless tap takeovers and meet the brewer events – featuring local breweries including Golden Triangle, Humpty Dumpty, Blimey!, Lacons, Norfolk Brewhouse and Woodforde’s and ones from further afield such as Nene Valley Brewery in Peterborough at the Ribs of Beef and Tiny Rebel from Wales at the Mash Tun.
This year, the festival supported Break, which supports vulnerable children and young people across East Anglia.
Mrs Leeder said: “A special charity beer, Dawnbreak, was brewed to support it by Lesley George of Humpty Dumpty brewery and Dawn Hopkins, landlady of the Rose Inn. Many pubs were stocking it and 20p from each pint sold will go to the charity.”