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 echelon 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).
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 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 World War II 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.
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. 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!
A list of some of the breweries in Norfolk:
Buffy’s Brewery, Tivetshall St Mary
Chalk Hill Brewery, Norwich
Elmtree Beers, Snetterton
Fat Cat Brewing Co, Norwich
Front Street Brewery, Binham
Golden Triangle Brewery, Norwich
Grain Brewery, Alburgh
Humpty Dumpty Brewery, Reedham
Lacons, Gt Yarmouth
Opa Hay’s Brewery, Aldeby
Panther Brewery, Reepham
Redwell Brewery, Trowse, Norwich
Tindall Ale Brewery, Thwaite
Tipples Brewery, Salhouse
The Why Not Brewery, Thorpe St Andrew
Wildcraft Brewery, Buxton
Winter’s Brewery, Norwich
Wolf Brewery, Besthorpe
Woodforde’s Norfolk Ales, Woodbastwick
Yetman’s Brewery, Bayfield