Craft Cans

Norwich City of Ale

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Norwich is a city of superlatives.

Norwich City of Ale 2018The county town of Norfolk boasts more medieval churches than any city north of the Alps.

Its magnificent cathedral – one of the finest Romanesque structures in Europe – has the largest cloisters in England, and its twelfth-century castle is one of the best-preserved Norman buildings in Europe.

The city also has the largest intact medieval street plan in Europe, the biggest six-day-a-week open-air market in the country, and possibly the oldest hotel in the UK (the thirteenth-century Maids Head).

It doesn’t end there. One other superlative to add is that Norwich boasts arguably the most spectacular resurgence in beer and pub life witnessed by any part in the UK.

Just forty years ago, Norfolk was a beer desert. Its various breweries had been gradually subsumed into the giant that was Watney’s and local cask beers had been washed away by the torrent of keg Red Barrel that was hosed into the county’s pubs.

Today, in an astonishing turn-around, Norfolk is home to more than forty breweries. Twenty-six Norwich pubs make it into the latest Good Beer Guide and the beers they offer read like a Who’s Who of great beers.

Remarkable Revival

Quite rightly, this remarkable revival is now celebrated in an annual, city-wide festival known as Norwich City of Ale.

The first event took place in 2011. Over the course of ten days, thirty-one pubs and thirty-five breweries collaborated to stage a beer jamboree on a scale not seen before in the UK. Events included ale trails, a brewers’ market, tours on a vintage double-decker bus and in-pub festivals, quizzes and other entertainment.

The celebration was a huge success, drawing in visitors from across the country that boosted not just the city’s pubs and Norfolk’s breweries but also the local hotel, restaurant, shop, taxi and other trades. Understandably, it has now become an annual fixture.

This year’s event – featuring tap takeovers, talks, festivals, collaboration brews and more – will take place 24 May–3 June and, if you’ve ever needed an excuse to visit this lovely city, then this is it.


For more information, see the City of Ale website.

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