Best beer city? Report (commissioned by Sheffield) claims Sheffield has better ale than Norwich
- Credit: SIMON FINLAY
Norwich has gained national recognition as the city of ale. But its crown is under threat from Sheffield, which claims it is the country's beer capital, reports
It is a story of the ale of two cities.
First is Norwich, which has a well-established reputation as a centre of beer brilliance, which once had a pub for every day of the year and has launched a city-wide festival that inspired others across the country.
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Then there is the young pretender, Sheffield, where academics at the University of Sheffield have commissioned a report to stake the city's claim to being top of the hops.
It claims Sheffield is the UK's beer capital, with the number of new breweries increasing and a high number per capita.
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The report's author Pete Brown, a beer writer from nearby Barnsley, notes: 'In recent years Norwich has staked a claim to be the UK's premier cask ale destination, and has gone pretty much unchallenged.'
It could easily turn into a bitter battle, with accusations of the Steel City of Sheffield turning Steal City in a quest for hops and glory.
The last city to try to nab Norwich's ale crown, York, was seen off following a comprehensive beer census (it is hard work but someone's got to do it) by members of Camra (the Campaign for Real Ale) in both cities.
Its members found that Norwich had 254 real ales available compared to 247 in York.
Dawn Leeder, co-chairman of Norwich's City of Ale, which was launched in 2011, said she welcomed the competition.
'You can't blame Sheffield for wanting to stake their claim and make a song and a dance,' she added. 'They probably feel left out as we're having all this glory.'
She said Norwich did not commission reports claiming to the best – coverage was independent.
And Sheffield's claim to have more breweries per capita did not stand up to scrutiny, as figures included many breweries outside the city, such as in Doncaster and Rotherham.
But she added: 'I think it's very healthy competition. We don't really have any rivalry with Sheffield. We like their beers and we're planning some swaps next year.'
A tale of two cities: Sheffield vs Norwich
Population = 551,000
Famous people = Jessica Ennis, Sean Bean, Jarvis Cocker
Musical exports = Arctic Monkeys, The Human League
Number of breweries in city = 23 (one per 23,900 people)
Number of breweries in region (including Barnsley, Chesterfield, Doncaster, Rotherham, Bassetlaw, Bolsover and parts of Derbyshire) = 57 (one per 32,100 people)
Some of the breweries: Kelham Island, Abbeydale Brewery
Football teams = Sheffield Wednesday (Championship) / Sheffield United (League One)
Landmarks = Crucible Theatre, Arts Tower, Park Hill flats
Population = 213,000
Famous people = Stephen Fry, Delia Smith, fictional radio presenter Alan Partridge
Musical exports = The Singing Postman
Number of breweries in city = nine (one per 23,600 people)
Number of breweries in county = 40 (one per 21,900 people)
Some of the breweries: Chalk Hill Brewery, Redwell Brewery, Golden Triangle Brewery
Football teams = Norwich City (Premier League)
Landmarks = Castle, Cathedral, Puppet Theatre