Norwich beer festival will celebrate unique brews from across the country

Fat Cat Brewery Tap Tapfest beer festival. Staff members getting ready for the festival, left to rig

Fat Cat Brewery Tap Tapfest beer festival. Staff members getting ready for the festival, left to right, George Shotton, Jack Lawry, Charlotte Pullum, Shannon Corby, Laura Hedley-White, Mark White, Rebecca White, Will Chappell and Rich Rouse.Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

Beer lovers will be raising a glass to independent breweries across the country at an upcoming festival.

The Fat Cat Brewery Tap in Lawson Road, Norwich, is throwing the spotlight on niche producers at its annual sud-fest, to take place from September 15 to September 19.

The event will cap off a sterling year for the brewery/pub, having won Norwich and Norfolk Camra awards for 'Best Norwich Pub', 'Best Norwich and Norfolk Pub' and 'Best Overall Norfolk Pub'.

Landlord Mark White, who has run the venue for the past five years with wife, Laura Hedley-White, said: 'We've done beer festival before but we've expanded it in order to say thank you to everyone who voted for us.'

Mr White said choosing the right beers for the festival was a challenge, and the this year's line-up was sourced from as far afield as Cornwall, Scotland and Wales.

He said: 'We've spent a lot of time researching and getting in exclusive beers which are right there in the zeitgeist of the beer world at the moment.

'We're trying to choose brews that come straight from the brewer's hearts.

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'We're focusing on independent breweries this year because we find that beers that are brewed for the love of brewing tend to have a lot more flavour.

'And they just tend to be better and more drinkable.'

Mr White said they would be hoping to sell 4,464 pints of real ale, 945 pints of keg beer and 720 pints of cider over the four days of the festival.

The event will also feature live music, and two firkins of the brewery's own beer will be sold to raise money for a meningitis charity.

Mr White said people's beer tastes had developed considerably since he Laura started their brewery/pub.

He said connoisseurs actively sought out rare drops and described beer with terms such as 'quaffable' which were once reserved for wine.

Mr White: 'The range of beers that we put on has completely changed.

'When we started there were a lot more traditional beers, brown malt and stout beers.

'Every year we've been in the pub there has been a new sort of beer that has come onto the market that people have gone mad for.

'In the first year it was Citra hops, then it all went to light and hoppy ales.

'There has also been a fad for session IPAs, which are heavily hopped beers but they're not so strong.

'This year it's all about double IPAs.

'Trying to keep up with it all is the challenge.'

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