2017 set to be the year of beer for Norwich with bumper programme of festivals

Brewers and publicans at the first City of Ale 2017 meeting. Picture: Red Flame PR

Brewers and publicans at the first City of Ale 2017 meeting. Picture: Red Flame PR - Credit: Archant

Rather than competing for the crown of best beer city in the country, leaders of the Norwich City of Ale will travel to Sheffield next month to share ideas and visions for a bumper year of beer festivals.

Named the top two friendliest cities in the UK in the Co-op 2017 survey, Norwich and Sheffield were also the only two cities in the country to make the Travellers Today Best Cities in the World for Beer last November.

With the National Winter Ale Festival fast approaching in February, Phil Cutter, landlord at The Murderers, will be stocking a new range of beers brewed in Sheffield but made from Norfolk malt.

Dawn Leeder and Phil Cutter, co-chairs of Norwich City of Ale, will be visiting Jules Gray, chief instigator of Sheffield Beer Week on Wednesday, February 8.

Ms Gray, who runs Sheffield's Hop Hideout, was invited to Norwich for last year's festival where all agreed to work closer together in future. The visit will be the first step towards putting that plan into action.


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A series of joint seminars and tutored tastings are also in the planning stages for City of Ale, which is set to launch on May 25.

Last year Norwich City of Ale held a number of widely acclaimed tasting sessions pairing some notable beer writers such as Roger Protz and Adrian Tierney Jones with local brewers.

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Ms Leeder said collaboration between the two cities would help boost the profile of the event.

'We have got so much to share and so much to offer,' she said. 'Sheffield is a much bigger city, and City of Ale concentrates fully on cask ale as a local product. Obviously we are very much a local endeavour.

'Clearly we hope for a lot of people from Sheffield to decide to come to Norwich for the City of Ale. Norwich now has three major beer festivals a year. If we are the City of Ale it is quite right and fitting that we should have regular festivals throughout the year.

'I would say it is no coincidence the National Winter Ale Festival is coming to Norwich this year, I think we have made a contribution to that.

'Clearly Camra has recognised Norwich is a real-ale destination. That is what we set out to achieve and we are now in our seventh year.'

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