Norwich beer festival’s 40th birthday under way

The 40th Norwich Beer Festival. Warren Wordsworth and Percy Edwards who were both at the first beer

The 40th Norwich Beer Festival. Warren Wordsworth and Percy Edwards who were both at the first beer festival in Norwich. Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

A popular annual celebration of real ales, beers and ciders has returned to Norwich for its 40th festival.

The 40th Norwich Beer Festival.
Picture: ANTONY KELLY

The 40th Norwich Beer Festival. Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

Hosted in St Andrew's and Blackfriars Halls in the city centre, the festival will run until Saturday, October 28, offering both lunch and evening sessions.

Over the last four decades, the festival - organised by the Norwich and Norfolk CAMRA branch - has evolved considerably.

At the inaugural festival in 1977 there were around 20 beers on offer. This year there are over 220 real ales available, with almost every Trappist brewery in the world represented.

While the festival is undoubtedly a mouth-watering prospect for beer lovers, with a smorgasbord of the best independent brews set to whet the appetite, there is also plenty on offer for those without a predilection for beer.

The 40th Norwich Beer Festival.
Picture: ANTONY KELLY

The 40th Norwich Beer Festival. Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant


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This year there will also be a range of ciders and wines available, as well as food, games and brass bands.

However chairman of the Norfolk and Norwich branch of CAMRA, Ian Stamp, argued that nobody truly dislikes beer.

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He said: 'There is a beer for everybody. I always say, if you think you don't like beer, you're wrong - you just haven't found the right one yet.

'Unlike wine, beers encompass a massive range of flavours. There are four ingredients that all contribute to the flavour, whereas with wine all you have is yeast and grapes.

The 40th Norwich Beer Festival.
Picture: ANTONY KELLY

The 40th Norwich Beer Festival. Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

'We have such variation between our beers here, from light to dark, hazy and smooth; currently, I'm drinking a raspberry wheat beer.'

Committee member of the Norwich and Norfolk CAMRA branch, Warren Wordsworth, attended the very first Norwich beer festival as a punter back in 1977.

He said: 'To come into a hall and find 30 beers available back then was amazing, and it would have been impossible to predict the festival would have grown as it has.

'Initially it was just supposed to be a one off but of course it was very successful, so they made it bigger by moving into the main hall here and the rest is history.'

The 40th Norwich Beer Festival.
Picture: ANTONY KELLY

The 40th Norwich Beer Festival. Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

Pubs in the city will also be ready to host those visiting from afar, including CAMRA's 2017 award winners King's Head in Magdalen Street, Fat Cat Brewery Tap in Lawson Road and the White Lion in Oak Street.

The 40th Norwich Beer Festival.
Picture: ANTONY KELLY

The 40th Norwich Beer Festival. Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

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