Local breweries selected to run bars at new winter beer festival in Norwich

Norwich Beer Festival 2015.
Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Norwich Beer Festival 2015. Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

Four local brewers will run headline brewery bars at one of the UK's largest beer festivals set to be held in Norwich.

Norwich Beer Festival 2015.
Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Norwich Beer Festival 2015. Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

The National Winter Ales Festival, which is run by the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) and is home to more than 300 real ales, ciders, perries and international beers, will be taking place next month at the iconic venue The Halls.

Each of the local breweries - Woodforde, Norfolk Brewhouse, Lacons and Green Jack - was chosen to headline at the festival because of their dedication to producing quality, award-winning cask conditioned real ales.

The Champion Winter Beer of Britain will be announced at the start of the event on February 21, which will then open to the public from February 22 - 25.

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.

Norwich Beer Festival 2015.
Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Norwich Beer Festival 2015. Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant


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It comes after it was announced last month that Norwich had been awarded the privilege of hosting the festival for the next three years.

It will add to the already-busy calendar for beer drinkers, as CAMRA's local festival, usually held in October, will continue.

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The Winter festival is set to feature local catering from Pandora's Kitchen and a selection of live music from talented musicians and bands on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings and a special musical attraction on Saturday afternoon.

In addition, a selection of local pubs will be extending the festival to the city centre of Norwich with the 'Fringe', hosting a wider selection of festival beers and events from February 19 - 25.

Norwich Beer Festival 2015.
Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Norwich Beer Festival 2015. Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

Festival-goers will be able to track the beers available by using an online beer list and can find the pubs in a Fringe guide.

Rob Whitmore, National Winter Ale Festival organiser said: 'We feel is a huge honour to be chosen to run a headline bar at a National CAMRA beer festival, and we have some great breweries here for that. This is the first year that the National Winter Ale Festival is taking place in Norwich, and we are really pleased to be able to use the event to promote the fantastic local breweries in East Anglia as well as the rest of the UK and give people an opportunity to meet with brewers directly. We hope the Festival with the exciting addition of The Fringe and its associated events will help to boost tourism for the city of Norwich and encourage more people to make a weekend or even a weeklong trip to Norwich.'

More information on the National Winter Ale Festival can be found at nwaf.org.uk

The breweries

• Woodforde's has been brewing in Norfolk for over 35 years, and pioneered the new wave of artisan brewers in the 1980s. Their range is underpinned by the flagship Wherry bitter, which is still recognised as one of the UK's greatest ales.

• Norfolk Brewhouse, like many other brewers, uses the world's premium malting barley – Maris Otter – which is exported to over 20 countries around the world. The beers on offer at thier Maris Otter Bar will include collaboration brews with growers and maltsters, as well as an imported ale to demonstrate the global appeal of the malt.

• Lacons brewery dates back to 1760 and has recently returned after a 45 year break from brewing to much critical acclaim. Festival-goers can expect a varied range of beautiful ales including Norfolk CAMRA champions Encore and Affinity, and some excellent winter brews.

• Green Jack is a multi-awarding winning traditional real ale brewery based in Lowestoft in Suffolk. They have won over 100 awards at independent CAMRA and SIBA beer festivals. Green Jack beers are known for their subtle balance of sugars, malt and hops and are produced with a unique and contemporary take on traditional English beer styles.

Beers on offer

On offer 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.

As always at the national festival, the Champion Winter Beers of Britain will compete to find a winner is each category.

The categories are 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.

Festival organiser Rob Whitmore, the festival organiser added: 'We are proud to be hosting CAMRA's National Winter Ale Festival here in Norwich.

'We hope that both CAMRA members and non-members will enjoy the array of ales on offer.'

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