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Norwich Ale Trip

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Hi there! Our latest trip has been out to Norwich. We had rarely visited Norwich, let alone any pubs there, so we thought it was about time we widened our drinking to outside of Ipswich.  We headed to the train and set off for Norwich! The only thing Jon, Dan and Myself failed to take into account, was that this particular day was also the day that Norwich City played Manchester United at home. So the centre was busier than we had imagined, and then Norwich pulled off a 1-0 win so it got ever busier after the game! We decided to visit a number of pubs, and have a beer in each. Which worked out for the best as every pub we went to was very busy! It also means we will definitely have to head back to Norwich on a few occasions, to visit one or two pubs for a few beers and get a better of idea what they are like on a normal day.

Well, the first pub we headed to was The Rose Inn. This and Ketts Tavern which we were unfortunately unable to go to are two pubs that exclusively serve beer brewed by The Norwich Bear Brewing Co. The Rose Inn was not as large as we expected, but it was divided into two main area. To the right was the main bar, seats and through the back in a pool table and then the beer garden, and is what we could say as standard pub decoration. then down the right is a completely different style, with cream walls, hardwood tables, and comfy leather chairs. There is also a screen and TV which were being used to show the football. Even though the pub was rammed, we found a couple of seats in the far corner, although they were only free as they seemed to be the only seats without a view of the TV! We each had a Norwich Bear Brewing beer, which I believe are brewed on site, as I did spot some lovely shiny brewing tanks which put my 5 gallon hombrew rig to shame. We each tried a different beer, and had a pretty different opinion on each,

I had a Boudicca 4.5% – I really liked it, it was a bright ruby red, with a great bitterness. I thought it had a good full body and was nice and fruity. Jon had the Legend 4.3% – This was recommended by his friend Matt who lives in Norwich, however we found it was slightly disappointing, it seemed watery and not ideal at all. However Matt did say that the same pint from Ketts Tavern was completely different, so it may just be down to an unfortunate pint! Dan had the Platinum Blonde 5.0% – Was OK for a blonde beer, not one of the favourites but then again blonde beers aren’t our favourite anyway! Described as not bad, but nothing jumped out..

From here we headed off to The Trafford Arms. This looked a great pub, with a good selection of ales on.  It looked good inside, with bare brick walls and classic decoration. Unfortunately it was also so packed the only seats we found were outside. This is also a pub we plan to spend some time at when the footballs not on, as there was a number of beers we would like to try, and also they have a great looking menu for food. In fact we hope to head down for their annual beer festival on the week of valentines day. What better place to spend valentines day with the missus than a beer festival! So on to the beers we tried,

Jon and Dan both had the Moon Gazer Ruby Ale 4.0%, brewed by the Norfolk Brewhouse. They found it to have a woody taste, and it certainly was ruby in colour. It was a standard ruby mild and quite pleasant, although hinted a odd after taste which we couldn’t pinpoint. I went for Devils Advocate – They did warn me and even give me a taster of this dark lager, but the first half of the pint I thoroughly enjoyed! I am a fan of dark lagers, and always looking to try more. It tasted weaker than other dark lagers, and a tad watery for my palette. A half would have been much better, by the end of the pint I think I had had enough! It was also slightly hoppy for my liking, and lacked the bitterness I’m fond of.

We then headed off to The Gardener’s Arms! More widely known as The Murderers! This is a larger pub, which also houses a café too. This pub has a very interesting layout, unlike any other, there are numerous rooms, and steps everywhere taking you to more rooms. Its a quirky pub, and again was absolutely jam packed! With a number of TV’s so wherever your seated you can watch the game. And I know I’m sounding repetitive, and our trips to Norwich seems to be building up, but another pub we would like to go and spend more time at! Ok, and if your wondering why the ‘Murderers’ Arms, well he story goes that on one night in June 1895, a certain man Frank, argues with his estranged wife Milly, who happens to be the Landlady’s daughter. In short, they fought, she was battered, and died a few days later. Interestingly he was petitioned from the death sentence and was given life imprisonment. Anyway, if you ask at the pub you can get a much better explanation that that! So again onto the beers we tried…

Dan had Greene King’s Fireside 4.5% – Could definitely taste the ‘Greene King’ stamp on this beer. Unfortunately it was nothing special, a pretty standard ale. Something you can fall back on if the rest are not great! I tried the house ale, Coor’s Murderers Ale 3.6% – This is a standard house bitter, but I really enjoyed it. It was light, hoppy, and refreshing, a good pint to have on at all times I would think. Finally Jon had the Golden Triangle’s Black Hop IPA 4.6% – This is, a IPA but black. It certainly did live up to its name, black and very hoppy. It was full bodied, smooth with a good fizz. Jon was very pleased with it!

We next headed to The Belgian Monk. this is one of the pubs we were most excited about, as we are extremely fond of our Belgian beers! It certainly did not disappoint. As soon as we entered we were very happy, we were offered a menu and a seat at the bar. We considered eating there, but decided to just have a beer instead. We were completely spoilt for choice. In fact check out their beer list for an idea of what’s on offer. The staff are friendly and helpful, and were patient while we changed out minds again and again over what beer to try. It is a great little pub with a huge selection of beers on draught and in bottles. They also have a number of exclusive beers direct form Belgian breweries, that you will find nowhere else in the UK! This is definitely a pub we will visit again, and probably spend all day their working our way through the beers and our wallets. So when we had finally decided, we each ordered a beer,

I had the Petrus Dubbel Bruin 6.5% – This was one of their house beers, and I must say it was fantastic. Was a sweet malty dubbel, great caramel hints to it, everything you expect a dubbel bruin to be. Jon had the Petrus Blonde 6.6% – He named it the best blonde Belgian beer he’s ever had. Amazing blonde beer, smooth and very tasty. Dan had the Wittekerke Rosé  5.0% – This was a fruity pink beer! (Definitely suited Dan) This beer was intensely fruity, if you have ever tried a Frulli, that seems bland in comparison. this was bursting with fruit flavour, very sweet, refreshing, and great. Made with real raspberry juice added to the base of a white beer.

We reluctantly left The Belgian Monk and headed along to The Rumsey Wells. Another nice little pub, very busy again but found room in the large beer garden. Had a number of real ales on, a large range of bottled beers, and a couple of foreign beers on draught, so a good selection. I was excited to get a Benediktiner as its one of my favourites, but unfortunately they had trouble pouring it and gave up. Disappointing. In the end we settled on three of the guest real ales,

I had the Purity Brewery’s Mad Goose 4.2% – This was not for me. Too bitter for my liking, not enough body and I found it was really unpleasant. Dan had Purity’s Pure Gold 3.8% – This was as suggested, very golden. Not a beer that we would go for again. It was flowery and light and just not the style of beer we like. Jon went and got the König Pilsener 4.9% – Jon said he really enjoyed it. A nice light bodied pilsener, great and refreshing. A good beer.

The next pub we got to was The Wig and Pen. This was a cosy little pub, with another good selection of beers. It had a nice bar area in front of the bar, then a seating area where you can sit and order food towards the back, a good layout, and was warm and inviting. However again we sat outside in the small seating are in front of the pub. By this time we were a bit rushed so we grabbed a pint and started to neck it. Well almost, we sipped at an extended rate.

Jon and Dan both had Chalk Hill’s Old Tackle 5.6% – They really liked it, it was dark, smoky, and full. It tasted even darker than it looks, it was smooth and refreshing. The smokiness was just right, not too over powering, followed by a fruity flavour. I had Oakam’s JHB 3.8% – this is a very nice bitter! I’m fond of Oakham beers anyway, and had never tried the Bitter. A great hoppy bitter with a light fruity body. Yum!

So we headed back towards the station, with a bit of time to kill, and found ourselves in The Coach and Horses! It’s a pub Jon wanted to take us too, as he thoroughly enjoyed his visit previously, which you can read about here! Again a very busy pub, but as its pretty big we managed to grab a seat in the corner. As Jon’s post states, its a cracking pub. A great range of beers on, a range of draught lager, and 6 real ales from The Chalk Hill Brewery, which is a 15 Barrel brewery on the same site as the pub. So of course we had to get a Chalk Hill beer each!

Dan and Myself each had the Flintknappers Mild 5.0% – A great mild, a lovely wooden, roasted flavour comes through, with an edge of bitterness. If your into old style milds, this is a beer you must try! If mahogany had a taste, this would be it. Delicious looking pint with a dark red colour, and an all round good ale! Jon went for the Dreadnought 4.9% – This is a good full bodied fruity beer, its got a distinguishably sweet taste to it, and a nice richness. The Chalk Hill beers all have a ‘Chalk Hill’ taste to them. Which can only be described as a similarity throughout the range of beers, you can tell its a Chalk Hill, and that means it should be pretty good.

We definitely enjoyed our trip to Norwich. there are a number of pubs that we wished we had time to go to, and a number that we wish we could of stayed longer at! We will definitely be heading back to try a few more, and would heartily recommend a visit to Norwich for any real ale drinkers, as its a great city for pubs, food, and beer. We just missed the beer festival which is held around the end of October, but its said to be one of the best, so make a note in your diary now! Look out for a post or two when we head back for a longer visit to a few pubs.

Also check out the podcast from our visit here.


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This entry was posted on November 25, 2012 by in Days Out, Podcasts and tagged , , , , , , , , .
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