Cheers! Glasses raised as Norwich celebrates City of Ale launch
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The kegs are full, the pumps are primed and the suds are flowing freely following the launch of this year's Norwich City of Ale festival.
The 10-day celebration of brewing, pubs and the quaffable concoctions they proffer got underway with a garden party at the Narthex at the Cathedral of St John The Baptist today (Thursday, May 25).
More than a few mugs were raised by the 60-odd guests, and the city's Golden Star Morris dancing side pranced about in praise of the brew.
Phil Cutter, landlord of The Murderers pub and festival co-chairman, said 42 pubs were taking part in this year's City of Ale, the seventh time it has been run.
Mr Cutter said: 'City of Ale is here to celebrate what the great British pub is about and what beer means to Norfolk.
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'We have a brewing heritage that we can definitely date back to 1247 and there's a possibility that malt and barley have been grown in the fields of north Norfolk for over 2,000 years, so that's something we should really be proud of.'
Golden Star Morris member Rachael Miller said: 'We've conducted a thorough survey and we can safely say Norwich is the best city for beer and ale. The festival is great for the city and we're delighted to be a part of it.'
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David Fullman, Norwich's lord mayor, arrived at the launch in a horse-drawn dray along with the sheriff of Norwich, David Walker, and other dignitaries.
Mr Fullman said: 'What I like is that it includes everybody.
'There is a great deal on offer to make everybody feel welcome in the city.'
The festival incudes live music events, barbecues, workshops, brewery tours and beer tastings.
Visitors can explore the pubs in different parts of Norwich using beer trails outlined in the City of Ale programme.
Mr Cutter said the event was an excellent chance to explore the city's rich pub heritage.
He said: 'It's great to see people out and about doing the trails and going into pubs they wouldn't necessarily go into.'
Mr Cutter said the festival was now also run in other cities across the country.
The festival runs until June 4.
More information about the festival, including the official programme, is available online at cityofale.org.uk