Video: Glasses raised for start of Norwich beer festival

Queuing for the 37th Norwich Beer Festival in St Andrews and Blackfriars Halls. Photo: Bill Smith

Queuing for the 37th Norwich Beer Festival in St Andrews and Blackfriars Halls. Photo: Bill Smith

Glasses were raised and toasts were made as the 37th Norwich beer festival kicked off in Norwich on Monday afternoon.

Queues started forming early for the annual event, which is again being held at its regular home, St Andrew's Hall & Blackfriars' Hall, now known as The Halls.

The festival normally attracts nearly 20,000 people and early indications are that this year's event will be as popular as ever.

More than 200 cask-conditioned real ales from Britain's independent brewers are on sale, along with draught and bottled beers from Continental Europe.

There is also a large range of traditional ciders and perries, with over 40 varieties from East Anglia, the West Country and elsewhere.

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This year's charity is The Hamlet Centre Trust in Norwich, whose aim is to support children and young adults with disabilities. More than £5,000 was raised during festival week for last year's charity, the Norfolk and Norwich Association for the Blind.

The event is organised by the Norwich & Norfolk branch of CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale) and festival organiser Martin Ward said: 'This year we are again showcasing a larger range of ales from one brewery not often found in Norfolk pubs. Marble Brewery from Manchester is this year's choice.

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'We will also be welcoming beers from new breweries including Tombstone, based in Great Yarmouth, and Two Rivers of Denver.'

The festival opened today with an afternoon session exclusively for local publicans, brewers and wholesalers. This is the branch's way of thanking them for their support throughout the year.

Tutored tastings will run again this year with tickets available for Tuesday-Saturday lunchtimes.

Beer cards will again be used for use at all the bars. They can be bought for either £5 or £10, with or without the glass deposit, and last year did speed up the entrance to the festival.

Entertainment will be provided by Hellesdon and Sprowston Brass, Vivace String Quartet, Norfolk Jazz Quartet, Hayley Moyses Bluegrass Forum, Cawston Band, The Vagaband, Dave Thomas Blues Band, Taverham Band, DixieMix Jazz Band, Cleaving Heevages, Norfolk Wherry Brass, Sheringham Shantymen and The Harvs.

The festival runs until Saturday, November 1.

Are you running your own beer festival in Norwich? Email

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