Cheers! Community to come together for 10th winter beer festival

Alan Oakes, organiser of the Heathlands beer festicals at Blofield Heath, tapping the barrels ready

Alan Oakes, organiser of the Heathlands beer festicals at Blofield Heath, tapping the barrels ready for the 10th winter beer festival. Picture: Heathlands Social Club. - Credit: Archant

Real ale-lovers have a special reason to raise a glass or two as a winter beer festival returns for its 10th year.

Heathlands Social Club at Blofield Heath, near Norwich, is staging its annual winter beer festival from Tuesday, November 12 until Sunday, November 17.

Organiser Alan Oakes, who was behind setting up the Heathlands winter and summer beer festivals, said that drinkers could come along and enjoy 12 specially-chosen winter real ales, which had been set up in racks, as well as another three beers at the bar.

If ale isn't to your taste, there are also three real ciders available.

The 12 racked beers - some light, some dark and others in between to suit all palates - come from around the UK to give a good range of tastes while the three winter beers available in the bar are from local brewers.

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The winter beer festival has become a popular event in the Heathlands social club calendar and helps to raise money to keep Heathlands community centre running.

Mr Oakes had the idea for the festival after going to one at a Cromer pub and approached the Heathlands committee about putting on its own. The Heathland winter and summer beer festivals took off and are now well established.

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He is expecting around 300 people to visit the festival over the week and sample around 1,000 pints of ale. Everyone is welcome to join in the festivities.

He said: "It is good PR, helps attract new members and is a good week all round."

The summer beer festival, which is held in July, will also be celebrating its 10th anniversary next year.

Heathlands Winter Beer Festival is open from 7.30pm until late Tuesday-Thursday, from 5.30pm on Friday, from 2pm on Saturday and from noon to 6pm on Sunday.

As well as the beer festival, Heathlands is holding another popular event this weekend with its annual Christmas fair on Saturday, November 16, from 2pm. There is a chance to get some early presents at a gift stall and there will also be cakes, a tombola, raffle for a luxury hamper and fun and games for the children.

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