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Norwich pub voted best beer pub for the 10th time

PUBLISHED: 16:22 06 September 2019 | UPDATED: 16:22 06 September 2019

Landlord Colin Keatley, front, with some of the regulars at the Fat Cat pub. Picture: Denise Bradley

Landlord Colin Keatley, front, with some of the regulars at the Fat Cat pub. Picture: Denise Bradley

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A pub in Norwich has scooped up Beer Pub of the Year 2020 by The Good Pub Guide for the tenth time.

Landlord Colin Keatley with his son Will, at the Fat Cat pub. Picture: Denise BradleyLandlord Colin Keatley with his son Will, at the Fat Cat pub. Picture: Denise Bradley

The Fat Cat on West End Street has been in business since 1981 and it took the owners just seven years to win the Beer Pub of the Year for the first time in 1988.

In the pub's 28 year history, it has been awarded the prize ten times - including 5 times in a row - and the owner has revealed "keeping it simple" is the secret.

The Fat Cat pub in Norwich has won the Best Pub for Beer ten times. Photo by Simon Finlay.The Fat Cat pub in Norwich has won the Best Pub for Beer ten times. Photo by Simon Finlay.

Colin Keatley, who runs the pub with his wife, said: "It's an old style pub. We don't do food and we have a range of beer including own brewery that we've had for 16 years."

Behind the bar, you can expect an extensive range of beer including 12 hand-pumped real ales, around 20 gravity served ale, strawberry and cherry beer and a new extra white Belgian lager, Vedett.

The Fat Cat Pub has served its own beer, among others, for 16 years. Picture: ANTONY KELLYThe Fat Cat Pub has served its own beer, among others, for 16 years. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Mr Keatley, 69, said: "I'm a beer detective and I'm always sleuthing. I'm lucky that I travel quite a lot and one of my hobbies is looking for local breweries."

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He once found a "remarkable" beer in Siem Reap in Cambodia from a micro-brewery run by an Australian man and stocks Beer Laos, from Laos, in The Fat Cat.

Next on the cards for the pub are six American beers following a trip to New York with his son and daughter last month.

Mr Keatley added: " We hit some bars and found some beers we've never heard of. I've found some of them on the internet, so it will be a case of hearing back from the suppliers."

However the landlord maintains the best breweries are in Europe and said the Czech Republic is the place to go for beer lovers - although the inspiration for the name, The Fat Cat, comes from a less far flung destination.

Mr Keatley said: " I read an article about a man opening a pub in Sheffield and calling it The Fat Cat. His wife was a graphic designer and she would constantly draw fat cats so he said to her: 'I'm going to name our pub The Fat Cat.'

"I thought it was a brilliant name but I'm polite and I phoned him up and asked if I could nick it. He agreed, but on the condition we buy some of his beer - and I've been selling the beer ever since."

Mr Keatley previously worked in pubs and bars in London at the height of the swinging sixties and seventies and was the youngest licensee in the country when he worked at the New Inn Savoy aged just 21.

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