I’ve lived in Norwich for four years, and been a visitor for many more. It’s the UK’s most complete medieval city, with historic flourishes at every turn, and the people are some of the most welcoming and friendly you could meet. It’s basically Britain’s Bruges.
As the well-worn saying goes, the Fine City has a church for every week of the year, and a pub for every day. Which makes it the perfect place to worship at the altar of craft beer.
But instead of worshipping, here are six excellent places to drink it.
St Andrews Brew House
As the name might suggest, St Andrews doesn’t just serve beer, it brews it too. A glass-fronted space occupied by brewing vessels to the side of the cosy bar is a reminder, while the larger restaurant area serves up just the grub you’re after. Burgers, pies, sharing platters with scotch eggs and pork belly, and fish finger sandwiches.
Their beers are a couple of crisp and sessionable pale ales, a bolder though equally easygoing IPA, a porter and a classic best bitter. If you time it right, you might also catch a glimpse of their DIPA too.
They chop and change their fridge line-up, with Beavertown and Ægir fixtures. The last time I visited there was a healthy selection of guest beers on tap – Cloudwater, Lost and Grounded and The Kernel.
Norwich Tap House
The OG of Norwich craft beer, the Tap House has been doing things right since 2012, and is still an essential stop.
Most European and British brewers worth their salt have made it on the chalkboard, including Mikkeller, Brewdog, The Kernel, Brew by Numbers, Wiper and True, and local favourite Redwell.
There are also a couple of fridges with solid cans and bottles – and it benefits from some very friendly and knowledgeable staff.
The Fat Cat Brewery Tap
A little out of the city centre but walkable, The Fat Cat has a feel somewhere between English boozer and German beer hall, and a beer list that could excite a corpse.
Choose from can, bottle, keg and cask, with everything from Kölsch to Imperial Stout, and a rotating cast of the big hitters of UK craft beer. They also brew a core line in-house. And there are cheeseboards. Cracking pub.
The Plasterers Arms
The Plasterers throws you a loop. From the outside, it’s an unassuming estate corner pub, and on the inside it shows football on big screens and has a bar billiard table.
But for craft beer lovers, the bar is next level.
The fridges are stuffed with Evil Twin, Mikkeller, Cloudwater, Beavertown, Magic Rock, To Øl and more, and the taps pump imaginative and delicious beers including sours, porters, big IPAs and bigger DIPAs.
The kitchen also serves up pizzas topped with wonder. Get your chops around Jerk Chicken, Korean BBQ and Sweet Chilli Prawn.
The Belgian Monk
Inside the Monk is all wood, and you get the sense that the spectacular list of Belgian beers they serve are soaked into the surroundings.
Saisons, krieks, brown ales, red ales, dubbels, tripels, lambics – they’re all there, from all the names you love. Scientists have proven that you can not fail to enjoy drinking a St Bernardus 12 while smashing through a giant bowl of mussels.
If you’ve been to a Brewdog bar before you know what to expect, but Brewdog Norwich is great. Spacious, with friendly staff, great food and a cracking beer list. There’s also a bottle shop with an excellent selection. Regular guest tap takeovers mean that even if you think the Scottish brewer’s own output hasn’t been outstanding of late, there’ll always be something on worth trying.