A truly Norfolk ale brewed for Norwich City of Ale

Norfolk Brewhouse team

Norfolk Brewhouse team - Credit: Archant

County growers, maltsters and brewers are teaming up to create a truly Norfolk ale to celebrate Norwich City of Ale 2015.

The ale is a collaboration between two North Norfolk brewers, The Norfolk Brewhouse, based in Hindringham and Cromer's Poppyland Brewery.

To demonstrate its local provenance, drinkers will be able to know the precise farms where the crops were grown – something which required considerable effort by Crisp Maltings of Great Ryburgh.

The beer, which is yet to be named, is being brewed to appear at the fifth anniversary City of Ale festival to be held in Norwich from May 21 to 31.

David Holliday, who established Norfolk Brewhouse with his wife Rachel in redundant buildings on his family's farm in 2012, said: 'We wanted to brew a beer which would allow us to feature the people involved in the whole chain of the brewing industry from grower to brewer – to show the personalities involved, and in so doing highlight how important beer and agriculture is to the rural economy of Norfolk.'


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The need to name the precise farm on which the barley was grown meant a way had to be found for local maltster Crisp Malting to isolate malt from just one field.

Euan Macpherson, Crisp's managing director, said: 'We take great pride in working with so many Norfolk growers and brewers that the opportunity to be part of an ale which presents the people behind the beer was an opportunity not to miss.

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'We knew we had some excellent maris otter malt coming in from Church Farm, in Heacham (which is owned by G W Harrrold and Partners) and it was a case of corralling that delivery and using only that barley in our separate pilot plant. It certainly wasn't an everyday occurrence but was great to be part of.'

Farm manager Bruce Lockhart said: 'In total we farm 4,500 acres in Norfolk, 200 acres of which last year was maris otter. The coastal location of the Heacham fields are particularly suited to growing barley. Light, sandy soils over chalk provide the best land, while the mild winters and a maritime climate create the ideal growing conditions.'

Norfolk mint and honey are also planned for the ale and a test brew at Poppyland is set for the end of the month.

Brewer Martin Warren said: 'I often use wild Norfolk plants to add uniqueness and specific provenance to my Poppyland beers. However normally I brew batches of 200 pints at a time, and working with Norfolk Brewhouse will increase the final brew size 15 fold to 3,000 pints.'

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