New breed of female brewers are a focal point for the Norwich City of Ale Festival

A new beer festival celebrating female brewers is being held at The Plasterers Arms and organised by

A new beer festival celebrating female brewers is being held at The Plasterers Arms and organised by student Erika Horton and landlord Benjamin Thompson.Photo by Simon Finlay. - Credit: Archant Norfolk

In bygone times brewing was mainly a woman's job and a new breed of female brewers is carrying on the tradition.

Left to right: Louise Rout Manager, Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden; Alex Youngman, assistant re

Left to right: Louise Rout Manager, Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden; Alex Youngman, assistant restaurant manager at the Maids Head Hotel; and Christine Malcolm, general manager, Maids Head Hotel. - Credit: Archant

To celebrate, a new beer festival is being run in conjunction with the City of Ale festival, at The Plasterers Arms, in Cowgate.

Belinda Jennings is a brewer at Adnams in Southwold

Belinda Jennings is a brewer at Adnams in Southwold

The pub will host the event called Fem.Ale – Celebrating Female Brewers from Around the Country from Friday, May 23, to Sunday, May 25.

All 15 of the pub's gravity pumps will be dedicated to female-brewed ales, with one from Southwold brewer Adnams crafted especially for the event.

The Plasterers' festival kicks-off with a Beers with Breakfast tasting for women only event, organised by Dea Latis, a group that aims to encourage more women to drink beer, from 10am to midday on Friday.


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The pub will be serving a six-course breakfast, with each dish matched with a different cask ale, and Belinda Jennings, brewer at Adnams, has created a single cask of a special City of Ale Saison to try.

The pub has a wide range of local beers – and on the day, every beer served will have been brewed by a female brewer.

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Later on Friday night, the Plasterers Arms will be toasting female brewers with a soundtrack of live music, with three of Norwich's best all-female bands.

The pub will also be looking into the brewing industry on Saturday, with a panel of female beer experts and more beer tasting.

Jo Coubrough, who owns Jo C's brewery in Fakenham, will also be hosting a spotlight beer tasting on Saturday evening.

The City of Ale festival's charity beer is Tidal Gold, which is a 5pc gold IPA containing 10kg of hops.

Hindringham-based Norfolk Brewhouse produced the specially-brewed beer and will donate 20p per pint sold to our sister paper the EDP's Flood Appeal to help communities affected by last December's tidal surge.

A competition to name the special charity beer was won by city housewife Marion Turner, from Fountains Road. Her suggestion of Tidal Gold for the name beat about 40 other entrants, and she received a demi-pin of the ale and a pair of VIP tickets to the City of Ale launch party on Thursday.

She said: 'I came up with the name because it had to be something to do with last year's tidal surge.

'My sister's got a caravan at Walcott, and a lot of her neighbours' caravans were ruined. And it's a hoppy beer, so I said gold.'

Rachel Holliday, who set up Norfolk Brewhouse with her husband David two years ago, said: 'It's a great name. We hope a few pints will be sold at the festival in support of the flood appeal.'

Meanwhile, during the City of Ale festival, the Maids Head hotel in Tombland will be supporting the restoration of Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden's 19th century thatched boathouse.

The hotel will be donating 5p to the boathouse project, for every pint of Maids Head Ale and Woodforde's Wherry sold at the Maids Head Bar, from May 22 to June 1.

Just over £1,000 has been donated since the Fairhaven public appeal to raise £15,000 by sponsoring sheafs of sedge or reed, was launched in April to help complete the restoration of one of the last remaining traditional wet boathouses on the Broads. It costs £7 to sponsor a sheaf of reed, £10 for a sheaf of sedge and £1.75 for a brotch pin, which secures the thatch.

Christine Malcolm, general manager, the Maids Head hotel, said: 'Many of our guests visit the Broads and we are pleased to be involved with the preservation of an important aspect of the area's history.

'We are looking forward to a busy City of Ale festival and hope to sponsor several sheafs of reed.'

Louise Rout, manager of Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden, said: 'Thank you very much to Christine Malcolm and the Maids Head team for their support and encouragement. I hope the City of Ale festival goes well and that there are lots of visitors to the Maids Head Bar.'

The Maids Head is also staging a free City of Ale event on the evening of Tuesday, May 27, with Humpty Dumpty Brewery, which will be running a tutored ale tasting session from 7.30pm to 9pm, featuring Little Sharpie, Humpty Dumpty Ale, Broadland Sunrise and Red Mill.

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