Were it not for Covid 19, the Norwich City of Ale festival would have recently celebrated its tenth year. The launch party would have taken place at the Waterfront. Beer writers from all over the country would have descended upon the city, to discover the amazing beers produced in the region and to visit some of the wonderful pubs that adorn the streets of Norwich.
Pubs would be hosting festivals, quizzes, music nights, beer tastings, food and beer pairings, and all manner of other events. Brewers would be doing talks, showcasing their latest brews, and sipping the fruits of their labour.
Beer lovers would be working their way around the pubs on the ale trails, trying out new beers, and exploring the rich history and architecture of the city and its pubs. Norwich city hosts would be pointing visitors in the right direction for the next pub on the trail.
Happier times: the City of Ale launch in 2019. Photograph: Simon Finlay
People would be talking to strangers across the bar or beer garden, having a laugh, and making the most of the social environment that can be found in every City of Ale pub.
Phil Cutter, of the Murderers pub, joint founder of City of Ale, said: “We now have to wait until next year for the tenth anniversary festival. Do put Thursday 27th May to Sunday 6th June 2021 in your diary.
“In the meantime, the hospitality and brewing sectors have been really hard hit. Even those who are still buying beer have often ended up reverting to buying national brands of beer from supermarkets. But it’s still possible to support the region’s craft brewers, and if they are going to survive, it’s really important to do your best to find their beers and buy them.
“If you can also support the pubs that have found ways to offer some kind of service during lockdown, that will also provide a lifeline to great independent businesses that otherwise risk going under. If you’re in a position to do so, please do support the City of Ale breweries and pubs, and we will work together to make sure next year’s festival is the best one yet.”