Norwich beer festival just 4 weeks away

Last year's festival - The 36th Norwich Beer Festival opens at St Andrews Hall where large queues bu

Last year's festival - The 36th Norwich Beer Festival opens at St Andrews Hall where large queues built up outside. PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY - Credit: Archant Norfolk

Final preparations are being made for the 37th Norwich beer festival, which starts in four weeks' time on Monday, October 27.

The annual event, hosted by the Norwich & Norfolk branch of CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale), will again be held at its regular home, St Andrew's Hall & Blackfriars' Hall.

The beer, cider and perry ordering is nearly complete, the entertainment is all booked, shifts for volunteers scheduled -an estimated total of 10,000 volunteer-hours is required to run the festival each year- and logistical plans are in place.

Festival organiser Martin Ward said: 'Judging by the level of chat building up on our Facebook page and Twitter account (@NorwichBeerFest), people from near and far are gearing up for visiting Norwich and the 37th beer festival. This year we will again showcase a larger range of ales from one brewery which is not often found in Norfolk pubs. Marble Brewery from Manchester is this year's choice and again a range of their beers will be available in a dedicated area in St Andrew's Hall. We will also be welcoming beers from new breweries including Tombstone based in Great Yarmouth and Two Rivers of Denver.'

The festival opens on the Monday afternoon with a session exclusively for local publicans, brewers and wholesalers. This is the branch's way of thanking them for their support throughout the year.

Advance tickets for the evening sessions have sold very quickly due to using an online ordering and payment system for the first time, although some lunchtime session and Saturday night tickets are still available.

Tutored tastings will run again this year with tickets available for Tuesday-Saturday lunchtimes. A session on foreign beers will be led by Keith Loney, and cider and perry expert Mick Lewis will guide those keen to learn more on Saturday lunchtime.

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Beer cards will again be used for use at all the bars. They can be bought for either £5 or £10, with or without the glass deposit, and last year did speed up the entrance to the festival. As in previous years, unused amounts can be refunded, or donated to this year's branch charity, the Norwich-based Hamlet Centre Trust.

The trust's Leon Smith said: 'Local and public support of this kind is hugely beneficial for us, as I am sure most people can imagine, and will greatly assist in our work to support children and adults with disabilities in Norfolk'.

Meanwhile, Tim Page, a former chief executive of the East Anglian Air Ambulance, has been named as the new chief executive of CAMRA. Mr Page succeeds Mike Benner, who is now managing director at SIBA, the Society for Independent Brewers.

The festival runs from Monday, October 27 to Saturday, November 1. Are you running your own beer festival in Norwich? Email