Beer enthusiasts in the city have had their suspicions for some time, but it has now been confirmed - Norwich is definitely the real-ale capital of Britain.

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Armies of volunteers pounded the streets of Norwich and York at the weekend to take part in a ‘beer census’ to find out the full range of ales on offer across the two cities.

It was a tough job, but somebody had to do it and the Norwich and Norfolk branch of Camra (Campaign for Real Ale) enlisted the aid of about 30 foot-soldiers to visit every pub in the city on Saturday.

They logged every beer available, enjoying a few halves along the way, with their counterparts at York’s branch of Camra doing the same in the northern city.

And it was Norwich’s pubs which came out on top at the end of the census, with 254 real ales available compared to 247 in York.

Ian Stamp, pubs officer for the Norwich Camra branch, said: “We all know that Norwich is the UK Capital of Real Ale – we proved it last year, when we found 215 different beers on sale in the city, not quite reaching Sheffield’s total, but claiming the title on the basis that Sheffield is well over twice the size of Norwich.

“Since then Derby have also tried to claim the UK title, even though their pubs had fewer beers on sale than Norwich, and again, Derby is much bigger than Norwich.

“So to keep Norwich on the map in the run up to the 2013 National Camra AGM, which is being held in the city, we had to prove we were the best – and have a bit of fun into the bargain.

“It was great fun. We got out to some pubs we don’t often go to so it was good to get out and about, meeting the landlords.”

Mr Stamp, other members of Camra and drinkers made the Reindeer in Dereham Road their HQ on Saturday.

Phil Cutter, landlord at the Murderers in Timberhill in the city centre, said it was good to have some healthy rivalry, while the census also won the support of Ralph Gayton, the Lord Mayor of Norwich.

The event, which came hot on the heels of the successful City of Ale Festival, fits in with the Evening News Love Your Local campaign, which aims to get people using their local pubs.

• To see more stories from the campaign visit and if you have a pub story call Evening News reporter David Bale on 01603 772427 or email


  • Scania, ref relative size of Norwich and Derby, it depends on which figure you use. The "Urban area" population of both towns is around 230,000 but includes areas outside the official boundary. The Norwich figure within the boundary drops to around 140,000 while Derby`s drops very little. Anyway, however you look at it, Norwich is a good place to find good beer these days! Only a relatively short time ago it was all Watney`s Red, Starlight & Norwich Bitter; Whitbread`s Tankard & Trophy. More adventurous outlets offered Tartan Bitter, Double Diamond and the surreally bad Tolly Cobbold.

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    Mad Brewer

    Monday, July 2, 2012

  • "Derby is much bigger than Norwich". Err....not sure about that actually. I'd say there is very little difference.

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    Sunday, July 1, 2012

  • Derby 230000 York 182000 Norwich 125000 from UKCities

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    Ian S

    Sunday, July 1, 2012

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