Thousands of people flock to Norwich Beer Festival during first two days of 39th yearly event

Drinkers enjoy the Norwich Beer Festival in St Andrew'sl and Blackfriars' Hall, Norwich.

Drinkers enjoy the Norwich Beer Festival in St Andrew'sl and Blackfriars' Hall, Norwich. - Credit: Archant

Nearly 1,000 years after the first recorded beer was brewed by German monks in monasteries, more than 200 types of the drink are available at an old place of worship in Norwich.

Once the home of Dominican Blackfriars, St Andrew's Hall is now filled with beer enthusiasts eagerly lapping up the choices on offer at the 39th Norwich Beer Festival.

'St Andrew's Hall is a fitting setting,' says festival organiser Rob Derbridge, of the Norfolk and Norwich Camra branch.

'We think we're the only beer festival in the country that is held in a monastery.'

Today marks the third day of the festival, which has become a regular feature in the city's calendar, and so far the turnout has been as expected.

'We've had around 5,000 people through the doors so far,' Mr Derbridge says. 'We estimate over the course of the festival (which runs until Saturday night) up to 60,000 pints of beer will be drunk.'

The festival, which is run thanks to the help of 420 volunteers, is held across St Andrew's and Blackfriars halls.

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Beer lovers can sample brews made just a few feet away in St Andrew's Brew House or drinks made 9,000 miles away in Australia.

Traditional pub food such as sausage, chilli, and chips are available, as are pub games including shut the box, skittles, and tombola.

Live music is provided tonight, Friday, and Saturday.

It is the sense of cameraderie and the chance to socialise over a third, half, or pint of beer which makes the festival so popular, according to Emma Pinder – the festival's deputy organiser.

'We get people from all over the country, both visitors and volunteers, it's a big social thing.

'We want to make beer more accessible, and to get people to come out and try some different things.'

One way of doing that is to sell beer that fits a vegan and vegetarian's diet.

And for those people who dislike beer, the festival offers an array of ciders, perries, and wine.

For more information on Norwich Beer Festival visit

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