Norwich beer festival hailed a success

The 33rd Norwich Beer Festival has been hailed a success after ale lovers turned up in their thousands to sample the best beers the region has to offer.

St Andrew's and Blackfriars Hall in Norwich was the place to go for beer lovers across the county and the continent last week.

Festival-goers were able to sample more than 230 cask-conditioned real ales, at least 75 of which were brewed in Norfolk, as well as taking in the 12th Cider and Perry Exhibition, with more than 25 varieties from East Anglia and the West Country.

But it was a dark beer from North Yorkshire that most people were talking about after Mrs Simpson's Thriller in Vanilla, produced by Brown Cow Brewery from Selby, was voted the beer of the festival by visitors.

It will take a few days for the exact numbers to be calculated, but Martin Ward, festival organiser, said he was very pleased with how this year's event had gone.

He said: 'We've had some positive feedback this year, which is great because normally we don't get that sort of thing and just get moans and groans.

'We can't really say at the moment how many people came as we haven't crunched any figures but would say its on a par with last year. We had customers from Australia and Denmark who came along and really enjoyed it.'

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Mr Ward said that staff tried to ensure that visitors had just a good a range and selection of beers at the end of the week as they did the start of it.

He added: 'The feedback from staff and customers has been that it went really, really well.'

The clear-up, which started after the last pint had been served on Saturday night, went on right through until yesterday afternoon.

And with the operation now completed, attentions have turned already to next year's festival.

Mr Ward said: 'When I said thank you to members of staff that helped out, everyone asked if I was doing it again next year. I said 'maybe' and they said 'yes you are' so we will start long-term preparations.'

The festival, which has become a diary date for all beer lovers over the past three decades or so, introduced third of a pint glasses for the first time.

Punters were able to buy festival glasses and T-shirts at the event, and were also able to get their tankards engraved, in between drinks.

This year's event supported Norwich Door To Door, a charitable organisation whose objective is to enable social inclusion for severely disabled children, disabled adults and older mobility-impaired people who are on low income and find they are unable to use mainstream transport or the volunteer car schemes.

For more details about the festival, visit