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Leading beer writers help put Norwich City of Ale 2012 Festival on national map

PUBLISHED: 06:30 07 February 2012

City of Ale closing ceremony at Dragon Hall.; The Sheriff of Norwich, Chris Higgins, celebrates with Dawn Leeder, chairman of PintPicker; photo by Adrian Judd

City of Ale closing ceremony at Dragon Hall.; The Sheriff of Norwich, Chris Higgins, celebrates with Dawn Leeder, chairman of PintPicker; photo by Adrian Judd

Archant Norfolk 2011

A visit by beer writers from across the country to Norwich to wax lyrical about its pubs and its beer ahead of this year's City of Ale Festival is already paying dividends with national praise.

Six beer writers visited Norwich at the end of January for a weekend of events aimed at giving Norwich’s pub heritage and this year’s event, the second Norwich City of Ale Festival, the platform of national publicity.

Writers were treated to a reception at The Forum before being taken on tours of Norwich pubs - on foot and by vintage bus - where they were given the chance to sample not only the beer but also the surroundings.

The event has prompted early praise for this year’s festival, which takes place from May 31 to June 10, to a national audience.

Leading beer writer Jeff Evans, who for more than 20 years has been tasting the best beers in the world and writing about them, is responsible for online beer magazine Inside Beer.

He atttended the preview weekend and has praised Norwich City of Ale in a piece which can be found on his website.

He said: “Having witnessed the great success of this bold, beery initiative, other places will follow with their own equivalent festivities in due course, of that I am in no doubt.

“But Norwich, in typically superlative fashion, will always be the first – and quite possibly always the best – City of Ale.”

The weekend also captured the imagination of fellow beer writer Adrian Tierney-Jones who wrote about the event on his blog, Called to the bar, and said: “I used to think little of Norwich but after this weekend, I think it’s become part of me.”

Dawn Leeder, co-chairman of Norwich City of Ale, said she was delighted with the publicity - and hoped it would be a sign of things to come.

She said: “We’ve had two very good results so far and are very hopeful there will be more to come. These are very respected beer writers who do indeed command a national audience so we would hope that would significantly raise City of Ale’s profile which is exactly what we set out to achieve.”

Ms Leeder said 32 pubs had so far signed up to this year’s festival - one more than last year - with seven new watering holes already on board.

The next Norwich City of Ale meeting takes place on Thursday, March 1 at 10am at The Whalebone, Magdalen Road, Norwich.

The festival fits in with the Evening News’s Love Your Local campaign which aims to get people to support their local pubs. For more stories visit www.eveningnews24.co.uk

Have you got a story? Call reporter Peter Walsh on 01603 772436 or email peter.walsh@archant.co.uk

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