By Dawn Hopkins
We have had two meetings since the last blog, the first at the wonderful Whalebone on Magdalen Rd and the second at the very lovely Angel Gardens on Angel Rd. A big thank you to both pubs and Landlords for hosting the meetings and providing sustenance in the form of posh biscuits and hot dogs (because we’re worth it)…
Well in this time a lot has happened – we now have 40 venues involved in the festival and 29 local breweries, with still a few days to go until the deadline of March 31st to get signed up. This year’s City of Ale website is now up and running and we are forging ahead with preparations to make this festival even more successful then the last one.
A full complement of Heritage events has already been planned to take place at The Forum and at other venues in the City, including walks, talks, displays, films, a night of traditional pub games and a heritage pub quiz. Norwich has a wonderful pub and brewing history, and this year no-one will go home without knowing about it!
- The Forum
Events being held at St Gregory’s Hall have started to really take shape – we now have three MPs confirmed for the Political Debate on Friday 1st June – Toby Perkins, Labour MP for Chesterfield and Shadow Pubs Minister, Chloe Smith, Conservative MP for Norwich North and Economic Secretary To The Treasury, and Simon Wright, Liberal Democrat MP for Norwich South. We are looking to recruit one more member for the panel from the beer and brewing industry, and BBC East’s David Whiteley will be chairing the debate, which will focus on pubs and brewing. This event will be free to attend (and likely to be quite lively!).
The Pub Quiz Grand Final will be held on Tuesday 5th June and we have a very experienced and dedicated Quizmaster, David McDermott, to host the event and ensure no foul play! All pubs involved in the City of Ale are invited to send a team along and there will be a cash prize (as well as heaps of praise and much kudos) for the winners.
An auction will be held on Saturday June 9th, and professional Auctioneer James Darwood will be encouraging attendees to bid for lots associated with beer and brewing, including ‘brewer for the day’ experiences and pub and brewery memorabilia.
And alongside the pub trails that proved so popular last year, the vintage bus will be returning (our unique version of the booze cruiser) and there will also be a ‘Bloomin Ale Trail’. Organised by Norwich in Bloom (did you know that Norwich is one of the 5 finalists in the Britain in Bloom competition?), City of Ale pubs are invited to take part, and entrants can vote for the pubs they consider to have the best displays.
So, we have pubs, we have breweries, we have politicians, we have heritage, we have masses of entertainment, we have a big red vintage bus and we now have flowers – looking like it’s gonna be a bloomin’ fantastic festival! (Sorry, had to be done…)
The next meeting will be held at The King’s Arms, 22 Hall Rd, Norwich on Monday 2nd April.