Three Beers: August 28

I drink beer and then tell you about it.

Ding dong!

I swing open the front door and there’s a delivery man stood there, big box in his hand. I sign for it. There’s lots of beer inside. I thank Jesus.

But once I’ve drunk said contents, who do I prattle on to about them? Boom, blog post.

Here are three of a mixed bag I’ve drunk this week. More to come, every week.

Beavertown x Trillium – Beaverillium

After a Friday late shift in the office (I work for a newspaper), I got home to the welcome sight of this bad boy staring out at me from the fridge.

I’ve been wanting to try something – anything – by Trillium for ages, and even half a Trillium would do. Beavertown I already know and love, so what could go wrong?

Turns out, not a lot. This whopping IPA is a beauty, showcasing the hops, mouthfeel, balance and refinement that both breweries have built their reputation on. Warming booze reined in by lots of tropical fruit and lasting bitterness.


Wylam x Brighton Bier x Magic Rock – Rize Up

Having destroyed a couple of Wylam beers recently – and with a trip up to their taproom in Newcastle in my cross-hairs for October – I was looking forward to this American Pale Ale. Magic Rock and Brighton Bier are no slouches either.

But while it poured great, and smelled great, it hit on a seemingly common trend of a lot of lower ABV IPAs and APAs in that it was a little thin, and didn’t quite follow through on the promise of a nose packed with tropical fruit. That might be more in keeping with the style of an APA, but with a description that promised oat and dextrin in the grist, I was expecting more body.


Stigbergets West Coast IPA

This is a beer I’ve heard good things about and should have been right in my wheelhouse. A West Coast IPA, with tropical fruits and lasting bitterness, they said.

It looked great in the bottle, and then the glass – all orange haze with an airy white head – but it was all fur coat and no knickers. I may have had a bad bottle, or the glass wasn’t clean enough (doubtful), but I found it had the mouthfeel of a soft drink – fizzy and thin – with some fruit and a little bitterness which didn’t last long. There was even a little sourness, which I found strange for the style.

However, I see Ratebeerians have been going ga-ga for it so I’m obviously up shit creek here.

Where to drink craft beer in Norwich

Norwich has tons of great places to drink craft beer. Here are six to get you started.

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.

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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.

Duration Beer

Duration Beer have launched their first creation with Cloudwater. And it’s a beauty.

Anyone paying attention to the British craft beer scene would know there’s an arms race going on, and hops are the weapon of choice. Beers are getting bigger and bolder, with brewers setting everything to stun.

But while big and juicy is king, there are some trying to change the direction of travel.

One of those people is Derek Bates, an American brewer of 15 years, who has wended his way from the US to London, and is now writing the opening chapters of an exciting project in rural Norfolk.

Bates is a mixed fermentation man. He’s all about the slow burn. Which is why he and wife Miranda have named their new project Duration Beer.

The story behind the brewery is for another time, but last night saw The Reindeer in Norwich host the launch of Duration’s first beer – Fool For You – brewed in collaboration with Cloudwater.

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A beautifully-balanced saison using three types of yeast – including a couple harvested from classic Belgian strains – and then parked on 100kg of gooseberries, it’s a biere de garde style, a good amount of which is being held back for Duration’s official opening party which should hopefully take place next spring.

The good news is that it’s a beauty. A soft fruity aroma, matched by a luscious mouthfeel, with the yeasts and gooseberry giving layers of stone fruits, biscuit and a subtly tart finish with a touch of dryness holding the whole thing up.


Speaking to Bates, it’s clear he’s know what he wants. While others on the brewing scene are going caveman style – bonking you over the head with hops or puckering sourness before dragging you back to their den – he’s more about complexity and balance. His empire will be built on koelschips, foeders, and the Norfolk air, which he hopes will give a unique wild fermentation akin to the grand old breweries of Belgium, and the adventurous American auteurs taking mixed ferm to new places.

Duration plan on releasing a beer every month or so until they officially open, but it won’t be until the brewery is up and running, and a thorough chat with their new terroir has been had, that it will really hit its stride.

It’s all about the long game.

Bizarre Love Triangle

I like beer. So should you. Let’s talk about it.


This is where I should be writing a fulsome throat-clearing; an explanation of why I want to start writing a blog about beer, of the inner turmoil and torment I’ve been through while deciding whether or not to start this blog. Whether I’m worthy. Whether I know enough.

But do you know what? Fuck it. I like beer. I want to write about it.

So you can poke the hand-wringing. Let’s get down to business.

About 4 years ago, I thought I was someone who liked beer. And, all things being relative, I suppose I was. I wasn’t afraid of trying new things, and I’d dip into new territory whenever the opportunity arose.

But then I tried Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. That was my Eureka Beer. I’d drunk Guinness and Woodforde’s Wherry and Adnams Ghost Ship and a million hand-pump, cask, frothy, room temperature real ales that tasted of Olde England. I knew beer could have some flavour. But this was different. It was mellow and banging at the same time, with citrus and grapefruit and pine and malt and sweetness and bitterness and I couldn’t even taste all those things at the time. I knew it was something different and that was it – I was on the road.

My beer awakening is a story echoed millions of times around the UK in the last few years. My city, much like yours, now has a Brewdog bar, and a couple of pubs that do the craft beer thing even better. People who made a point of drinking real ale have moved on to craft beer, and I’m in that club. Even the supermarkets are stocking beers that ponces wouldn’t be ashamed to be seen with.

Full disclosure – I’m a ponce. I hate drinking shit beer, even with people who don’t care about beer. I feel like I’m letting myself down. That I should be ingesting top quality, Rate Beer-ranking nectar permanently. There’s so much good stuff out there that I don’t want to waste my time and taste buds on dross. Just hook Cloudwater to my veins.

The mission now is to get others to genuflect to the high-end, and to share the love. That’s why I started this blog. To open others up to the possibilities of beer and learn from people who know better. I’ll be writing about the beers I love, anything new, anything local to me (Norfolk) and anything else related.