I’ve written previously about some of the wonderful places to drink in Norwich.
But unless you’re pulling down some serious bunce – or just have a disregard for the way the economy is headed – chances are you’ll have to do at least some of your drinking at home.
And in a lot of ways, drinking at home can be better. The glass is always clean, the beer is always the right temperature, and the loo is comfortingly within reach.
Here are some places in Norwich and further afield to buy a decent beer.
ABV Store Norwich
Norwich Market is the oldest fixed market in the country, and has undergone something of a revolution in the last year, with the addition of a cluster of foodie stalls and an associated increase in beards per capita. Holding up the liquid end of the deal is the ABV Store.
Perched on the edge nearest the Guildhall (opposite Tesco Metro) and run by two very nice gents, Dan and Matthew, the stall stocks most of the big names from the UK and Europe, and a smattering of beers from across the pond. I’ve picked up beers from To Øl, Cloudwater, Evil Twin, Mikkeller, Omnipollo, Buxton, Wild Beer and elsewhere.
With the supermarkets muscling in on craft beer, the stall has the very simple goal of stocking beers you can’t easily find elsewhere, and it does it very well.
An obvious but necessary inclusion, Brewdog has a very decent bottle shop.
I find it a little pricier than most other places (I’ve accidentally waved goodbye to £50 there more than once) but it stocks a lot of rare beers, lots of good imports, and of course the whole Brewdog range. There’s also a bunch of merch, growlers, glasses and even the odd homebrew ingredient.
Beers of Europe
First up, Beers of Europe is not in Norwich. It’s in King’s Lynn, a 45 minute drive through the wilds of Norfolk.
However, it is the shit.
This beer hangar has been stuffed to the gunwales with the finest beverages from around the globe for over a decade, with Belgian, US, German, Swedish, Danish, French and all manner of other nationalities on show.
Ambling by the steel shelves while gradually filling your trolley with rare and exotic finds is a giddy experience for a beer nerd, like a cross between Hamleys and safari.
They also do very nice things.
This is getting ridiculous now. Beautiful Beers isn’t even in Norfolk. It’s in Bury St Edmunds. Suffolk.
Geography aside, this place – run by the marvellous Rene van der Oort – is a gem.
If his name wasn’t a giveaway, Rene is Belgian and knows a thing or two about his homeland’s most magnificent export and stocks a rainbow of wonder – golden, brown, red, white, brown, lambic, Trappist, Abbey, sour, fruit, dubbel, tripel, dark, light.
He also does a good trade in craft beers and real ales, and it’s a top place for gift sets and glasses.
Brexit looks to have put the kibosh on him opening a store in Norwich, but the original store is worth the trip.