Preparations are well under way now for the festival to open on the Monday 23th October, and will run until Saturday 28th October, with a few festival specials to celebrate the 40th year.
The Norwich Beer Festival in October takes place in the medieval halls, known as St Andrews and Blackfriars Halls. The Halls are a friary complex dating back to the 13th century, rebuilt in 1470 and Grade 1 listed. The friary survived the reformation as it was bought by the City Corporation for public use – an inspired and far-sighted decision!
The 40th Norwich Beer Festival offers a nostalgic appeal, with a range of beers served from wooden casks and some of the beers originally ordered for the first beer festival in 1977. Festival organisers have tracked down beers originally brewed for the first beer festival, though Martin added ‘unfortunately not at 1977 prices!’.
For those who have never experienced the festival, you can expect a vibrant evening with entertainment, games, food and beers. There is such a wide variety of beers, ciders, world beers and even wine, you can’t fail to find something you like! There are even gluten-free beers. Quieter sessions tend to be at lunchtime and in the early half of the week as the festival builds to the popular Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights.
Monday and Thursday evenings will feature a brass brand. Brass bands have become a popular feature at Norwich Beer Festival and the 40th celebration simply wouldn’t be the same without! The performance will be fitting tribute to the start of the 40th Norwich Beer Festival. Bands will also play most lunchtimes and evenings, for the full line-up please visit the Norwich CAMRA website.
Music-free sessions in St Andrew’s Hall are on Tuesday evening and Wednesday lunchtime. On the busy weekend nights, visitors can still enjoy a quiet conversation in the marquee, cloisters and Blackfriars Hall. There is also seating in the cloisters and marquee.
Opening times and prices, a map of where to find the Halls and a layout plan can all be found on the Norwich CAMRA website. The website also has a guide and will have beer and cider lists nearer to the opening date, so you can plan your visit beforehand. On entrance to the halls visitors may purchase a festival glass and beer cards, as cash is not accepted at the bars, and remaining beer card tokens may be cashed-in at the end of the visit, or donated to charity.
The 2017 charity of the Norwich & Norfolk CAMRA Branch is Leeway. Established in 1974, Leeway is an independent charity providing support to adults, young people and children who are experiencing domestic abuse in Norfolk and Waveney. Every year the charity provides specialist support to over 8,000 adults, children and young people.
There will be a special treat for home brewers as they will be able to sample winners of the Great Anglian Brew Off. Home brewers from across the region have been given the opportunity to launch their own beer for the 40th Norwich Beer Festival as part of a competition held prior to the festival with Anglian Craft Brewers in association with CAMRA.
The selection of real ciders and perries has grown year on year, as the appeal for ciders has grown in recent years, with drinkers preferring a wide selection of flavours and styles. This year the festival will offer 80 different varieties, mostly from East Anglia.
For more information, beer lists and admission times and prices visit norwichcamra.org.uk and see Norwich Beer Festival.