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Norwich pub's beer festival boasts brews from all 51 English cities

PUBLISHED: 07:58 13 September 2014 | UPDATED: 15:08 14 September 2014

The Fat Cat Brewery Tap.; Mark White and Laura Hedley-White.

The Fat Cat Brewery Tap.; Mark White and Laura Hedley-White.

Archant Norfolk Photographic © 2011

Beer festivals at the popular Fat Cat Brewery Tap in Lawson Road, Norwich are never run of the mill.

Mark White on his travels to get 51 beers for the festival. SubmittedMark White on his travels to get 51 beers for the festival. Submitted

Last year they found a CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale) award-winning beer from every ceremonial county in England to showcase.

And this year, they’ve gone one better. They have a CAMRA championship beer from every city in England, which brings this year’s total to 51 beers, plus a further 14 different Fat Cat ales all under one roof across one weekend.

The pub’s second annual beer festival, Tap Fest 2014, runs from Thursday, September 18, to Monday, September 22.

Mark White, who runs the pub with wife Laura Hedley-White, said: “In order to achieve our goal we have spent more than a few hours on the internet, made what feels like 4,000 telephone calls to breweries throughout the country and a 600-mile road trip to get four remaining beers that no-one else could source for us. We thought it was going to be easy – just get a beer from every city that has a cathedral.

“Alas, we were thwarted at the first hurdle. It seems the government and the monarchy share different opinions and lists on the internet as to what England’s cities really are. Were there 50, or 51?

“So we rang the Queen at Buckingham Palace and then Downing Street. Apparently ‘Her Maj’ wasn’t in, but we were pointed in the right direction.

“We were told to visit the website ukcities.co.uk – unfortunately it didn’t include the C word we were looking for… Chelmsford.

“Apparently Chelmsford was granted city status as part of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee but the website didn’t include it.

“But we finally tracked down our 51 beers, and now we have a beer festival that, we believe, has never been done before.”

The festival will also boast live music every day including the prestigious ‘Proms in the Pub’ performance with Cawston Brass Band.

Food will include gourmet, barbecue and hog roast, and an exclusive charity beer, Paws for George, brewed by the Fat Cat Brewery will be launched at the festival, with all proceeds going to the neonatal intensive care unit at the Norfolk & Norfolk University Hospital.

The landlords’ son George was very poorly when he was born in January, and they wanted to give something back to the unit.

The Evening News has been urging people to return to pubs in our Love your Local campaign. Is your pub holding a beer festival? Email david.bale2@archant.co.uk

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