County Stat Attack Week 7 - Norfolk

Norfolk is our first dip into the flatter lands of East Anglia. With Suffolk to the South, Cambridgeshire and Lincolnshire to the West and the North Sea with the Wash to the North and East. The highest point is Beacon Hill at a rather modest 103 meters perhaps the most striking feature though would be the Norfolk Broads, a network of rivers and lakes creating a popular tourist area.
Prior to the Romans invading, the area was populated by the Iceni people, the most famous of whom would be the famed Queen of the Iceni, Boudica, who twice attacked the Roman invaders. After the Roman withdrawal came Germanic people, notably the Angles, followed by invasion of the Danes, from whose language many of the place names come from. It has always been largely an agricultural area, particularly after the pumping out of the wetlands using Dutch pumping methods, creating excellent soils for growing.
The largest city and capital is Norwich, other larger towns are Great Yarmouth, King’s Lynn and Thetford.

We have 46 Active and 24 Closed Breweries on Ratebeer totalling 70, with 6 of these being Client / Commissioner Brewers.
The oldest Brewery for Norfolk that we have on Ratebeer is the well established but relatively recent Woofordes of Woodbastwick (Est 1981). There is however a re-introduction of a particularly old Brewery in the form of Lacons which initially came into being in 1760 when John Laycon inherited an even older brewery. It became the principal brewery in Norfolk and in 1952 floated on the Stock Market, by 1965 it was taken over by that destroyer of Breweries, Whitbread and was closed down, the brands eventually ending in the hands of Anheuser-Busch Inbev. In 2009 the rights to the Lacons name were obtained and a new brewery with the Lacons name was created in Great Yarmouth.
The brewery with the largest range that we have for Norfolk is Wolf Brewery with a modest 68 beers on Ratebeer.
The Best Brewery for 2019 was named as Duration Brewing of West Acre (Est 2018) and the Best Beer was from the same brewery – Duration Bet the Farm a 4.5% American Pale Ale.

The top 10 beers for Norfolk are –

  1. Grain / Old Chimneys Good King Henry
  2. Poppyland Tragic Empress
  3. Duration Turtles All the Way Down
  4. Woodfordes Norfolk Nip (Oak Barrel)
  5. Redwell India Pale Lager
  6. Grain Porter
  7. Ampersand Pewter
  8. Grain Slate
  9. Humpty Dumpty Wherrymans Way IPA
  10. Humpty Dumpty 21st Anniversary

The Top 5 Places Are –

  1. Fat Cat, Norwich – 97
  2. Beers of Europe, Setchey – 97
  3. Plasterers Arms, Norwich – 93
  4. Fat Cat Brewery Tap, Norwich – 89
  5. Kings Head, Norwich – 85

The top 5 Raters of Norfolk Beers are –

  1. @fonefan
  2. @imdownthepub
  3. @Grumbo
  4. @madmitch76
  5. @harrisoni

To get into the top 50 for Norfolk beers you will require 63 Ratings

The person who resides in Norfolk with the most ratings on Ratebeer is –
@StueyD last seen in 2017.

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I’m on 58 ratings from Norfolk so just outside the top 50

My highest and most rated brewery for Norfolk is Poppyland, as they did gluten free beers under the original owner, and my highest rated beer for Norfolk is their Tragic Empress Imperial Porter at 4.0.

There are 12 active cideries in Norfolk. My most rated cidery is Crone’s, their rum cask is their highest rated at 3.8 (my 3rd highest rating overall for Norfolk). In terms of cider ratings lists I’m top for Norfolk with 28 while fonefan has rated the most cideries with 9. Other notable cideries in Norfolk are Whim Hill, Norfolk Raider, Norfolk Cider and Harleston - their Ice Cider got a 3.9 from me (my 2nd highest rating for Norfolk)

Haven’t managed to rate any places in Norfolk, only one visit to Norwich a long time ago in pre-ratebeer days.

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Norfolk is certainly quite a favourite county to visit in our household, my wife likes it due to the lack of hills, for me it is for the fantastic city of Norwich, one of the best beer cities in the country imo, which I would certainly recommend to those who haven’t been before. We have travelled to Norfolk on many occasions, mostly staying around the coast, I have walked the Peddars Way and also the Coastal Path, which they combine to make a longer walk. We used to visit the Beer Festival on the Steam Railway platform in Sheringham every year until they became a bit off hand with the quality. Football wise I have visited Carrow Road a few times, in the away end obviously, you could always visit the pubs before and after the game there and get some banter, probably a whole lot stranger though we once blagged our way on to the Banbury United team bus for an away match at Kings Lynn, we had to hump the kit and everything around but otherwise we were on our own getting stuck into the beer and supporting the team, unfortunately Kings Lynn fans have a reputation as being the toughest in non-league football, made for an interesting day.

I currently have 377 ratings for Norfolk, with a few more to come in the garage, putting me into a solid 2nd place. With Beer Festivals and visiting Norfolk often I can keep them ticking over. Norfolk is my 18th highest county for ratings with an average of 3.2 but I do have 53 individual Breweries, 37 currently open and 16 closed, placing me top of that particular list.

My top 3 breweries in terms of numbers are Wolf Brewery with 26 beers, Woodfordes with 25 beers and Humpty Dumpty Brewery with 24 beers.

I have 7 beers with a rating of 4 or over, the best being –

  1. Woodfordes Wherry – 4.6
  2. Woodfordes Norfolk Nog – 4.3
  3. Humpty Dumpty Wherrymans IPA – 4.2

The beer I have had with the highest average rating I have had is Grain Slate that averages 3.52 which I gave 3.6.

The Breweries that I have given the highest average rating for are (5 or more ratings) –

  1. Front Street Brewery, Ave 3.54 (Closed)
  2. Brancaster Brewery, Ave 3.467
  3. Ampersand Brew Co., Ave 3.411

I have managed to review 42 places in Norfolk putting it as my 12th highest County, my top 3 pubs are

  1. Plasterers Arms, Norwich – 88
  2. Fat Cat, Norwich – 86
  3. Nip & Growler Ale House, Kings Lynn - 86
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I lived in Fakenham from 1967 until 1970, finished school there and left to join the RAF, no job prospects in the area really, although all the ‘locals’ stayed. Couldn’t hit anyone at school, they were all related, caused a few problems. Parents remained for a few more years before legging it to Uxbridge (Dad was RAF too).

In later years I’ve been to Norfolk many times, my best mate used to live in Lingwood, very close to Uncle Stuarts brewery, it was his garage actually!

Norwich is a lovely city and has some great pubs, had a holiday on the broads and have loads of happy memories of my times in the county spanning many years.

Anyway here’s my stats for the county;

117 beers (plus 1 I haven’t written about yet), which puts me at 24th in the rating pecking order.

Highest rated beer is Humpty Dumpty Porter (4.1), overall ratings come out at 3.31.

23 different breweries of which 5 have closed.

20 from Wolf (also highest average at 3.45)
14 from Humpty Dumpty
13 from the closed Uncle Stuarts

Very surprised to find I have only reviewed 4 places in Norfolk as I’ve drank in Norwich on quite a few occasions, last time during a CAMRA AGM weekend and I know I visited loads of pubs. Visited the Great Yarmouth Beer Festival once and been to Beers of Europe three times too.

Interest fact: There is a direct bus service from Peterborough to Great Yarmouth every half an hour during the day and it’s free if you are as old as me!

<*))))))><

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I was surprised that Ionly had 26 Norfolk beers from 13 breweries and then remembered what a black hole for beer Thetford is, having spent a week in the Centre Parc there plus a couple of visits to see a friend of my wife who lives there.

I was given a pink pass to go ticking one day of the holiday. It was the one Friday that Old Chimneys Brewery was shut for personal reasons, Iceini Brewery was seemingly abandoned with a burnt out portacabin out front and Brandon Brewery was also locked up. The first 5 pubs I went to only sold Green King IPA. The 6th had two guest beers I’d already had. Ended up having a couple of beers over the border in Suffolk, at the pub nearest to the Centre Parc. My only purchases in Norfolk ended up being from Eastern European shops in Brandon and Thetford. Plus a Redwell beer in a restaurant - it would have been more but most of the beers on their menu were out of stock. As a result my sole rating for a place in Norfolk is one I’ve never been to: Beers of Europe. I guess I could add the Eastern European supermarket in Thetford as it did have a decent enough range.

My top rated beers:

Poppyland Tragic Empress 4

Humpty Dumpty Shaltai Boltai 3.9

All Day Printers’ Ink 3.8

Ampersand Experiments in Evil 3.8

Poppyland Stormbrynger Rye Brown Ale 3.8

Duration (5) and Lacons (3) are the only breweries with more than 2 ticks. Shortly joined by Ampersand as I have one of their Baltic Porters in the stash.

Edit: on two occasions works trips to Norwich have been cancelled. The first time I e-mailed the guy who ran Icieni Brewery to ask if any of the Protz 300 ticks were available anywhere and he sent me his mobile number so I could arrange to pick them up at a pub.

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122 Norfolk ratings for me with an average of 3.2 … this places Norfolk in joint 31st for county scores so hovering above the relegation zone of sorts!

One beer to hit 4 … the Grain re-hash of Old Chimneys GKH

Highest rated beers dominated by the more interesting breweries for me in that area … Poppyland, Duration … also had a BA All Day beer just last week that was a solid 3.8.

Of the old school brewers some of Lacons high ABV offerings also feature in my highest rated Norfolk brews.

Place wise … as @imdownthepub alludes to, Norwich is a great beer town/city … have done a few crawls there over the years as recently as 2 or so years back and can thoroughly recommend it.

Place wise I’ve reviewed all of the top 5 for the county … all Norwich aside from BOE.

Used to use BOE a lot pre and very early RB days but got fed up with them for two reasons … 1) out of date beers landing on my doorstep (and many with little shelf life left) and the amount of ‘OUT OF STOCK’ on the site. Actually started an order back in the summer … first time in 6/7 years, for German beers and gave up after 10 minutes as everything I wanted was out of stock ! Never visited in person.

Note for self … must catch up on N Yorks !

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I thought Glen might go for Norfolk next! I love North Norfolk and have holidayed there probably a dozen times. One day I’d like to live there.

94 rates for me, spread over 23 brewers. Poppyland account for 31, and I was sad when Martin, the brewer hung up his wellies. I’ve visited a few times, and chatted all things beer, and often he’d see me away with a bottle of something out of his own stash, or an unlabelled “try it, you might like it” affair. His beers hold 13 spots in my top 15.

No place rates because I’m a lazy bugger, but some of my favourites are the White Horse, and the Jolly Sailors in Brancaster Staithe, the Hoste Arms in Burnham Market (for the people watching as well as much as the beer), and also the Dun Cow at Seahouses for beer and other worldly sausage rolls.

Was meant to back there earlier this month, but obviously that didn’t happen. Fingers crossed for a 2021 visit…

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Just the 3 rates for me, one each from Grain, Duration and Lacons - the Grain being their take on Old Chimneys Good King Henry, and weighing in at a healthy 4.1. As far as places are concerned, that would be a big fat zero - but I think the last time I was there was back in the 90s. Not a county I’m very familiar with, but sounds like Norwich might be worth a visit one day

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Aha! Can the county of Colman’s cut the mustard?

When I lived in Cambs (2014-17) I beefed up my Norfolk ratings. Hardly anything since (although I do have a Duration in the fridge), but at 92 rates I’m still able to hold onto 35th place. 20 breweries tried as well, the most rated being Grain (15), Woodfordes (14) and Redwell (11). Highest rated of breweries over 5 rates are Redwell (3.45), Grain (3.4) and surprisingly Elmtree (3.33).

Top beers are:
Grain Redwood (4)
Redwell White IPA (3.9)
Grain Lignum Vitae (3.9)
Redwell Pacific Pilsner (3.9)
Grain Porter (3.8)

Got a fair few places in the day, 17 most of which are in Norwich as are all of the top 5:

Plasterers Arms (88)
Norwich Tap House (86) (now closed but I thought it was amazing)
Fat Cat (82)
Fat Vat Brewery Tap (82)
White Lion (78)

The highest-rated non-Norwich place is the now closed Railway Arms at Downham Market train station (76). Great place, bugger all for beer but loads of East Anglian ciders. One of many places that left us too soon.

I haven’t been to the county since 2016, so I imagine there have been loads of changes. It’s inconvenient to get to now, and except for Norwich the county really isn’t my vibe (I am more of a city guy and my other half even more so), but I do wonder if we might go back some day to do the Suffolk & Norfolk coast. Still haven’t rated Beers of Europe - one of those shops that I order from online but would like to go in person - and I am sure there are little undiscovered gems. So there’s still work to do. Meanwhile I need to seek out someplace where I can get Norwich beers in the Midlands.

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Just 5. Three from Duration, one from Ampersand and one from Poppyland.

Nothing much to add here as it’s not a county I’m familiar with. But I will say both Duration and Ampersand appear to be the most interesting breweries (to me) from the county.

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The first of my neighbouring counties to make the Stat exciting times.

I do have a soft spot for Norfolk. I used to holiday on the north coast Wells-next-the Sea as a child, and in my ear teens went their lots with the RSPB or family birding trips. Also went in Autumn last year and managed to try a few new beers and breweries.

I have tried 120 beers from 32 breweries (31 are still open). I do like Poppyland and recently have tried a few interesting beers from All Day. Poppyland are my top rated Norfolk Brewery (3.68 average).

My top 5 beers are:

Surprised by the Elmtree beer, less so the others.

Place wise, I have been to and ordered from BOE a few times, but never a go to place for me (maybe a surprise it’s top). My top rated placed are:

The other places are beer shop in Norwich and Cromer respectively.

Other things of note, I had a very enjoyable trip to Ampersand in the south of the county last year. I’m sure

I will be back to Norfolk again soon.

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Surprisingly modest number of ratings given the number of times I drove down the A47 either for a holiday with the kids or to deliver or retrieve from UEA in Norwich. My mere 13 confirm that Duration and Grain produce some good ale although Humpty Dumpty has eluded me so far.
As with so many of these things, it reminds me that I need to get out more when viruses allow, and have at the very least a leisurely weekend in Norwich; which is also one of my favourite acronyms.

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Just a short trip up the road from where I live in Suffolk by car or train. I’ve been off again on again focusing efforts and I’ve got plenty in the cellar to get to. However, I’m currently at 52 rates so just off the top 50. It’s a priority this coming year along with a few other counties. Additionally, I would have been in top 50 this year as @Grumbo and I had planned to do a pub crawl in Norwich prior to lock down. Obviously, that was derailed!

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Can’t believe it’s Tuesday again already; have completely lost track of the days over Christmas!

Norfolk’s my 14th most rated county, with 57 rates, putting me just outside the top 50.

Quite surprised by my top 5 beers, I don’t think I’d have guessed these:
|Tindall Liberator|4|
|Ampersand Pewter|3.8|
|Uncle Stuarts Local Hero|3.7|
|Brancaster Oystercatcher|3.7|
|Wolf Golden Jackal|3.6|

I’ve tried 32 different breweries; my most rated breweries are Woodfordes (8) and Wolf (7). I always think one of the issues with rating in Norfolk (outside Norwich) is that bars are dominated by the main beers from Woodfordes, Wolf & Adams, and you need to resort to bottles if you want to find the smaller breweries. Fortunately there are a huge number of farm shops & beer shops with good bottled selections.

I’ve rated 10 places; my top one is Beers of Europe (based on visiting this huge, wonderful temple of beer in person, rather than using their rather clunky website). I also like St Andrews Brewpub in Norwich, and used to like Uncle Stuart’s brewery bar before it sadly shut (a great man creche whilst the ladies of the family went to the neighbouring craft shops!).

I’ve been on holiday to Norfolk 5 or 6 times with the in-laws, and have rather fallen in love with the North Norfolk coast (despite the lack of hills). Sheringham is a wonderful friendly little town with stunning sunsets, lovely ice cream and great walks, and Norwich is one of my favourite county towns to wander around and explore.

Unusual things to see are the red and white cliffs at Kings Lynn, the miles of lovely empty beaches (why is it so quiet when it’s do accessible from London?!), the aforementioned Beers of Europe warehouse, and getting the boat out through the marshes to the seals on the Blakeney Point nature reserve. However, as avowed foodies the main thing my wife & I like is the huge amount of local food available everywhere here… it’s possibly the best county of all for locally produced food!

Glen beat me to saying about the highest point, but as an ardent hillbagger I’ll have to mention it anyway. It’s a lovely walk out from Sheringham to Beacon Hill (especially if you go via Beeston Bump). The earthworks on top of Beacon Hill are known as Roman Camp, but there’s nothing Roman about them; they’re actually the remains of Napoleonic era fortifications. The nearby Roman Camp Inn is a bit hotel-y but does at least have local guest ales on.

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Sadly not… Colman’s is no longer produced in Norfolk. Even the mustard shop and Museum in Norwich has gone.

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Oh no! The mustard museum was a bit silly but you could, unsurprisingly, find some quality mustard there.

OMG that’s a tragedy. I always ask for Colman’s when requesting mustard. Now produced in Burton on Trent and even Germany. What is the world coming to?

These guys might be what you’re looking for mustardwise - they have a former Colman’s chap involved and are looking to open a visitor centre & shop in Norwich soon:

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Cheers, looks good.

I know the guy who used to dress up as the Colmans pig on matchdays at Norwich City, circa 95-98.

He lives in Germany now … Stuttgart … met him for a beer there on a German trip about 6 years ago !

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