The popular City of Ale festival is back in Norwich for a third year with a bigger and better event promised by organisers.

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The festival of beer, from May 23 to June 2, will again celebrate all that is good about local pubs serving local beers made from local ingredients.

And it will hope to build on the success of the previous two events, which have helped establish Norwich as the UK’s City of Ale.

Last year’s event ran for 10 days from May 31 to June 10, with 35 breweries – the same number as the first City of Ale event – and 45 pubs, a 45pc increase on the previous year, taking part.

There were 240 beers on offer and 192 events were held, also up on the previous year, including a number of heritage events such as guided walks and talks.

A multimedia display of Norwich’s fabulous brewing and pub heritage ran daily on the big screen in the Fusion gallery at the Forum and the popular brewers’ market returned to Millennium Plain featuring a dozen or so stalls with local ales. Twenty thousand programmes were distributed free of charge, among the pubs and all round the city.

St Gregory’s Church hosted the launch and closing parties, with other events such as the political debate and pub quiz attracting large audiences. Dawn Leeder and Phil Cutter, co-chairmen of Norwich City of Ale, said: “We’re gearing up for what promises to be a great year for ale in the fine city with the Camra members’ weekend in April closely followed by City of Ale 2013 in May/June. This year, City of Ale is going green in 2013, with an appropriately bottle-green logo. We’ll be extolling the virtues of local pubs, local breweries and local ingredients.”

Publicans and brewers can find out more by attending the first City of Ale open meeting on Monday, January 21 at 10am at the Murderers in Timberhill.

Organisers will be discussing subscriptions, rates and deadlines, sponsorship and promotional materials, plus any other business, and there are also some promotional bookmarks to collect.

City of Ale 2012 began last January with a beer writers’ weekend designed to generate advance publicity for the main event. Six writers were invited to a reception at the Forum where they were welcomed by the sheriff and a party of publicans, brewers and beer lovers.

They were billeted free of charge in various hotels and guesthouses arranged by VisitNorwich, and 22 pubs were visited over the weekend.

Norwich City of Ale is a not-for-profit organisation with the mission to promote Norwich, nationally and internationally, as the UK City of Ale.

City of Ale featured in Camra’s 101 Beer Days Out edited by Tim Hampson who came on the beer writers’ weekend and also took part in the political debate. The Good Beer Guide 2013 also ran a section on Norwich City of Ale, with a city centre pub crawl featuring six City of Ale pubs.

Publicans and brewers who wish to find out more about the City Of Ale can email info@cityofale.org.uk

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