From barley to beer
Norfolk farmer Teddy Maufe, of Branthill Farm and The Real Ale Shop tells us why we produce the best malting barley - and the best beers...
Norfolk is steeped in the whole barley to beer story, for north Norfolk offers the perfect combination of soil type and maritime climate to produce the finest malt that great ales demand.
Premium varieties for beer making (and whisky), such as Golden Promise and Maris Otter, thrive in light, sandy soil over chalk; mild winters and summer sea frets mellow the crop, bestowing unique delicate flavours.
For centuries Norfolk produced this superb malt from local maltings and had hundreds of brewers. However, after the second world war there was a huge consolidation of brewers and when the continental tidal wave of lager swept in, there was only 'Watney's Red Barrel' left to wipe off the bar.
How to hop...
So, by the 1980s the fledgling Woodforde's Brewery was the only Norfolk brewer… Luckily since there has been a huge counter revolution of micro-brewers springing up producing a great variety of ales offering a rich diversity of flavours for the discerning customer.
Norfolk now has over 25 micro-brewers and a wonderful array of pubs where one can seek out these characterful ales firmly putting Norfolk on the real ale map. Norwich has it’s own 'City Of Ale' festival celebrating the huge number of quality inns and pubs it has, many offering a wonderful pint of the local Norfolk ales.
So the history of beer in Norfolk has gone full circle and once again great real ale can be found from the Broads to the North Norfolk coast, where many pubs are successfully starting to match their local ales with the local food – from mussels to prime Norfolk beef, enjoy the full Norfolk food and drink experience, which rivals anywhere else in the world!