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Norfolk beer

Beer and brewing in Norfolk

North Norfolk has the ideal conditions for growing malt barley for beer – a perfect combination of soil type, height (yes, in Norfolk!) and the maritime climate of salty sea frets (that’s mist to you and I).

So it’s no surprise that Norfolk also has over 50 breweries – putting it in the top three in the country. And with that number of breweries, you can tell that Norfolk likes its beer!

And we like pubs too, from traditional thatched country inns, to coastal establishments that are practically on the beach, to a city that traditionally had a pub for every day (and a church for every Sunday of the year so one could repent for perhaps one too many).

Pubs and inns in Norfolk


With over 1000 pubs across Norfolk today, the chance to sip a perfect pint amongst beautiful scenery is never far away. Be it the vibrant atmosphere of Norwich city centre pubs nestled alongside our 11th Century Cathedral and cobbled streets or situated along waterside settings, Norfolk pubs are part of the rich tapestry of our fine county.

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 world-renowned 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.

So, by the 1980s the fledgling Woodforde’s Brewery was the only Norfolk brewer… its idyllic Fur & Feather pub is right beside the brewery and well worth a visit.
Luckily since then 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 50 micro-brewers and a wonderful array of pubs where one can seek out these characterful ales firmly putting Norfolk on the real ale map.

Broads pub

Norwich has its own ‘City Of Ale’ festival celebrating its huge number of quality inns and pubs, 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 (there are plenty of pubs where you can moor for an hour or two, or for the night) 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!

PS And let’s not forget that we have a distillery too – St George’s at East Harling, home of the English Whisky Co!

Pub bar in north Norfolk

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