City prepares to welcome national Winter Ales Festival for three years stay in Norwich

Norwich Beer Festival 2016

Norwich Beer Festival 2016 - Credit: Archant

Details have been released ahead of the first year of Norwich playing host to the national Winter Ales Festival – after being awarded the privilege for the next three years.

The Norwich & Norfolk branch of the Campaign for Real Ale (Camra) has been handed the festival which will run from February 21 to 25 next year at the St Andrew's and Blackfriars' halls – the home of the annual Norwich Beer Festival.

Alongside the February festival, the Camra branch will be organising The Fringe from February 18 to 25 with special festival beers and events hosted across Norwich's many pubs and brew houses.

Rob Whitmore, the festival organiser, said: 'We are proud to be hosting Camra's National Winter Ales Festival here in Norwich and hope that both Camra members and non-members will enjoy the array of ales on offer.

'There will be the darker ales, more traditionally associated with a winter festival, plus a large variety of ruby and lighter hoppy ales, as well as perries and ciders.'

Dawn Leeder, co-chair of Norwich City of Ale, said it was inevitable the festival would be held in the 'home of ale'. She added: 'We are absolutely delighted, and it is entirely appropriate that the Camra National Winter Ales Festival should come to Norwich.

'We have been promoting Norwich as the city of ale and it is great to know Camra agree with us. Real ale is a very wholesome, natural product, and real-ale drinkers are very mature, sociable people. Ale is just part of that mix of community pub life, and I think this can only impact the city positively.

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'We have lots of great local breweries, and some of the finest malt and barley in the world. The people who come will spend money outside pubs and beer because they need to eat and sleep, so it is all very good for the economy.'

As always at the national festival, the Champion Winter Beers of Britain will compete to find a winner is each category – Strong Milds/Old Ales, Porters, Stouts and Barley Wines/Strong Old Ales. The overall winner will also be selected and announced at the festival.

Local entrants include Adnams, Cambridge Brew House, Green Jack and Milton.

Tuesday, February 21 is for Camra members only and will run from 5.30pm to 10.30pm. All other days are open to members and non-members alike and will run from noon to 10.30pm each day.

For more information on the festival, admission prices and The Fringe visit the website

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