Britain's original 'beer week' is back showcasing Norwich's best brewed beers

  • Alice Neil reports on the Norwich City of Ale

A festival which styles itself as Britain's original "beer week" has returned for the first time since the Covid pandemic.

Norwich City of Ale is made up of a month of events celebrating the best of beer, with tours and trails showcasing the city’s pubs and breweries.

This year the festival has also paired with Belgian brewers from Leuven, bringing Belgium beer to the festival.

The festival has been running since 2011, but this year is the largest yet, with 59 pubs and 32 breweries taking part.

59 local pubs and 32 breweries will be showcased at this year's festival. Credit: ITV News Anglia

Philip Cutter, co-chair and founder of Norwich City of Ale, said: “When I formed City of Ale with Dawn Leeder, we realised that pubs were really struggling, so the idea was to try and invigorate the pub industry and get people to engage and visit pubs as much as they could.

“The idea is to try and get people back into pubs, and it’s great that people really do still love pubs and really do want to support local pubs and local brewers," he added.

“Back in the late 80s, Norwich had one brewer, and now we’ve got over 30 using locally sourced malt and barley which is grown in the fields of north Norfolk.

“People want to come to Norwich and celebrate what we have as an industry and the best place to drink real ale is in a pub and I’m proud to be part of that."

As part of the festival, a series of nine trails will run for a month until 25 June.

The trail series is based around the "Strangers" who first came from Flanders to Norwich in the 14th century, bringing with them their skills and trade.

Each trail takes drinkers to around seven pubs and aims to encourage people to get out and discover more of the city and its history.

There are nine ale trails, each representing a Norwich trade Credit: Norwich City of Ale

Clive Lewis, Labour MP for Norwich South, said: “What it will do for the city is what it’s done for a long time, which is bring the focus on beer, local breweries, on the whole culture of drinking good quality ale.

“I think it brings people together, it brings our city together, we’ve got a long history of people coming in from Flanders, Belgium, and Holland.

“This is about real people, real pubs, real ale, keeping it local and people having a good time and creating jobs."

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