Norfolk Breweries


Alewife Brewery

Alewife brewery offers a variety of beers. Personalised labels are available throughout the year for special occasions. They offer a fast and efficient mail order service. Alewife Brewery is the only brewery in Norfolk run and owned by a woman brewer. This page is best viewed with a 1024 by 786 pixel screen resolution and 32bit true colour.

This brewery, operated by Jane Taylor, started trading September 2000. The brewery aims to use, as far as possible, local ingredients grown naturally without the use of artificial fertilisers and sprays. All the beers are bottle conditioned and are sold mainly through mail order and Suffolk off-licences.

Opened: 2000
Brewer: Jane Taylor
Regular outlets: Not known.

Regular beers (all bottled only):
Personalized Bottls – Available for any Alewife beers throughout the year. Individual bottles or cases of bottles, labeled with a persons name of your choice.
Alewife Festival Ale – (ABV 6.5%) A smooth, dark, fruity ale brewed using chocolate malt and a mixture of the finest English hops, including Goldings. Fermented with Alewife Yeast and matured for several months before bottling to produce a truly festive ale.
Alewife Harvest Ale – (ABV 4.5%) A full bodied slowly fermented amber coloured bitter, brewed using lightly crushed pale malt, roast barley and Wye Challenger hops. Carrageen a type of seaweed is used to insure beer clarity during the brewing process.
Alewife Dark Skies – (ABV 4.6%) Dark Skies is a silky smooth stout brewed with lashings of chocolate malt to produce a black stout with a subtle bitterness.

Blanchfields Brewery

This brewery started production in November 1997 with a two and a-half barrel plant at the Bull public house in Fakenham. The operation has since moved to the present location. Local ingredients are used where possible, like malt from Crisp’s, the Norfolk maltsters.

Opened: 1997
Brewer: Graham Blanchfield
Regular Outlets

Regular beers:
Black Bull Mild – (ABV 3.6%) A dark mild traditional beer.
Bull Best Bitter – (ABV 3.9%) A hoppy session bitter beer.
Raging Bull Bitter – (ABV 4.9%) A full malt flavoured bitter.

Occasional/seasonal beers:
White Bull – (ABV 4.4%) A wheat beer.
Winter Warmer – (ABV 6.0%) A strong Christmas beer.

Blue Moon Brewery

Peter Turner opened a brewery in Hingham in January 1997, with plans to brew 200 gallons a week for the local club trade, free houses and private functions. The Hingham brewery then closed and the beers were brewed on the Buffy’s Brewery plant. With Peter Turner’s purchase of the Cock Inn, at Barford, a brewery was constructed in outbuildings at that pub.

Opened: 1997
Regular outlets: Cock, Barford.

Regular beers:
Easy Life – (ABV 3.8%) A decidedly dry bitter.
Sea of Tranquility – (ABV 4.2%) A rich hoppy beer.
Moon Dance – (ABV 4.7%) Amber coloured with a long, sustained finish.
Dark Side – Dark brown strong mild.
Hingham High – (ABV 5.2%) A strong bitter.
Milk of Amnesia – (ABV 5.2%) Dark, rich and heavy bitter ale.
Liquor Mortis – (ABV 7.5%) A complex beer, mid brown coloured.
Total Eclipse – (ABV 9.0%)

Brancaster Brewery

Started brewing in November 2003.
Opened: 2003
Brewer: N/A
Regular beers: Not known
Regular outlets: Not known.

Buffy’s Brewery

Situated alongside a 15th century house, near the Old Ram public house. The brewery’s capacity was doubled in 1997, enabling 50 free houses to be supplied but the beers are more widely available through wholesalers. Tours by arrangement.

Opened: 1993
Brewer: N/A

Regular beers:
Norfolk Terrier – (ABV 3.6%) Pale refreshing bitter.
Buffy’s Bitter – (ABV 3.9%) A flavoursome session beer, very well balanced throughout.
Buffy’s Mild – (ABV 4.2%) A stronger than average dark red/brown beer.
Polly’s Folly – (ABV 4.3%) A well-balanced amber beer with a flowery hop character in its aroma. The palate is clean and bitter.
Hopleaf – (ABV 4.5%) Pale in colour, using a blend of lager malts.
India Pale Ale – (ABV 4.6%) A bitter pale ale, very clean palate.
Polly’s Xtra – (ABV 4.9%) Full bodied, well hopped fruity beer with clean aftertaste.
Norwegian Blue – (ABV 4.9%) Malty complex best bitter.
Buffy’s Ale – (ABV 5.5%) A pale brown beer which is a smooth and malty, strong bitter throughout.

Occasional/seasonal beers:
Hollybeery – (ABV 4.8%)
10X – (ABV 10.0%) Robust ale overflowing with malt and fruit.

Regular outlets: Cherry Tree, Wicklewood.

Chalk Hill Brewery

Run by former Reindeer brewpub owner Bill Thomas and his partners, this brewery began production with a 15-barrel plant in December, 1993.

Opened: 1993
Brewer: N/A
Regular outlets: Alexandra Tavern, Norwich; Coach and Horses, Norwich; Rose Tavern, Norwich.

Regular beers:
Brewery Tap – (ABV 3.6%) A subtle, light beer with lingering hoppy bitterness.
CHB – (ABV 4.2%) Well balanced and subtle, mid-brown beer.
Dreadnought – (ABV 4.9%) A strong brown bitter which is full-flavoured, well-balanced, rounded and fruity.
Flintknappers’ Mild – (ABV 5.0%) Much stronger than many modern milds.
Old Tackle – (ABV 5.6%) Full bodied with a rounded fruitiness, hints of liquorice. Bitter aftertaste.

Occasional/seasonal beers:
IPA – (ABV 5.3%)

Finnesko & Firkin

The former Reindeer brewpub was bought in 1996 by the Firkin Brewery Company (part of Allied-Domecq). The pub reopened on October 10th, 1996, after extensive refurbishment, and a new brewery plant was installed to brew for this pub and the Fugitive and Firkin, also in Norwich.

The brewery ceased production in autumn 1999 with the sale of the Firkin pubs chain to Punch Taverns.

Opened: 1996
Brewer: N/A

Regular beers at the Finnesko & Firkin were:
Hoof Ale – (ABV 3.5%)
Finnesko Ale – (ABV 4.3%)
Cobblers Ale – (ABV 5.0%)
Dogbolter – (ABV 5.6%)
(This was the “standard” range available in most Firkin pubs — only the names of the first three were changed to reflect the pubs’ names).

Special Firkin brews (not necessarily brewed in Norwich) were occasionally available.

Fox Brewery

Entered the Norfolk brewery scene in the first half of 2002. Has a five-barrel plant.

Opened: 2002
Brewer: Mark Bristow
Regular outlets: Fox & Hounds, Heacham.

Regular beers:
Heacham Gold – (ABV 3.9%)
Oops ‘a’ Daisy – (ABV 4.4%)
Grace & Favour – (ABV 4.4%)

Humpty Dumpty Brewery

This brewery, previous based at the Railway Tavern, started production in November 1998, but moved to much larger new premises in autumn 2000. The brewing plant has the ability to produce about 3500 pints a week but there are plans for expansion. Many of the beers are named after Great Eastern Railway locomotive types or have railway associations.

Brewer: Mick Cottrell
Regular outlets: Not known.

Regular beers:
Nord Atlantic – (ABV 3.7%) A nice red session ale.
Little Sharpie – (ABV 3.8%) Refreshing golden ale with a Cascade hop fragrance.
Ferryman – (ABV 3.8%) Straw colored session beer.
Four Spot Chaser – (ABV 3.9%)
Swallowtail – (ABV 4.0%)
Tender Behind – (ABV 4.0%) Spicey wheat beer brewed with coriander.
Lemon and Ginger – (ABV 4.0%) Fragrant summer ale.
Swingbridge Ale – (ABV 4.0%) Golden ale.
Humpty Dumpty – (ABV 4.1%) Brewed with Challenger and Fuggles hops.
Ops On Train – (ABV 4.1%) Dry hopped medium golden ale.
Reedcutter – (ABV 4.2%)
Claud Hamilton – (ABV 4.3%) An oyster stout.
Brief Encounter – (ABV 4.3%) Dry and bitter with Goldings hops and Challenger added.
Iron Duke – (ABV 4.6%) Red with well balanced hops.
Butt Jumper – (ABV 4.1%) Medium brown sweetish malty ale.
Spark Arrester – (ABV 4.8%)
Railway Sleeper – (ABV 5.0%) Brewed with crystal and amber malts with Goldings hops.
Peto’s Porter – (ABV 6.0%)
Broadland Gold – (ABV 6.00%)

Iceni Brewery

The first brews appeared from Brendan Moore’s 10-barrel plant in January, 1995. Many of the beers have names derived from Celtic mythology and the Iceni tribe. Tours by arrangement.

Opened: 1995
Brewer: Brendan Moore
Regular outlets: Not known.

Regular beers:
Thetford Forest Mild (ABV 3.6%)
Fine Soft Day (ABV 4.0%) Full bodies and hoppy bitter ale.
Celtic Queen (ABV 4.0%) Well balanced, full flavoured, slightly sweet bitter.
Fen Tiger (ABV 4.2%) Full bodied bitter with a hint of coriander.
It’s A Grand Day (ABV 4.5%) Ginger flavoured bitter.
Gold (ABV 5.0%) — Crisp taste. Smooth and deceptive for its strength. Norfolk Lager (ABV 5.0%)
Raspberry Wheat (ABV 5.0%)
Men of Norfolk (ABV 6.2%)

Reepham Brewery

Founded in 1983, in a small industrial unit on the outskirts of the town sits Reepham. Now supplies around 20 local outlets. Reepham Brewery has produced a wheat beer, a raspberry ale and a low-gravity beer for drivers.

Opened: 1983
Brewer: Ted Willems
Regular outlets: Fat Cat, Norwich; Ribs of Beef, Norwich.

Regular beers:
Granary Bitter (ABV 3.5%) Predominantly hoppy pale beer.
Rapier Pale Ale (ABV 4.2%) Well balanced, dry and malty beer.
Velvet Stout (ABV 4.5%) Fruity, malty aroma with sweet mellow taste.
St. Agnes (ABV 4.6%) Golden hoppy bitter.
Brewhouse (ABV 5.0%)

Brewed for the Fat Cat, Norwich:
Fat Cat Pale Ale (ABV TBC)

Spectrum Brewery

Andy Mitchell, well known to many CAMRA members around the country, started brewing commercially in June 2002 on a “plant share” basis at the Blue Moon Brewery, at Barford. The beers are brewed using organic malt and hops, plus vegan finings are to be trialled.

Opened: 2002
Brewer: Andy Mitchell
Regular outlets: Not known.

Regular beers:
Light Fantastic (ABV 3.2%) Reasonably bitter with some refreshing tartness.
Bezants (ABV 4.0%) Golden hoppy bitter.
42 (ABV 4.2%) Hoppy, easy drinking bitter.
Reaper (ABV 4.4%) Red-brown bitter.
Red Sickle (ABV 4.5%)
Black Buffle (ABV 4.5%) A stout.
Wizard (ABV 4.9%) Mid-brown beer.
Old Stoatwobbler (ABV 6.0%) Chocolate, morello cherry, raisin and banano are amongst the flavours.
Trip Hazard (ABV 6.5%) Exceptionally malty.

Tindall Ales

Started brewing in October, 1998, at a site in Ditchingham. Moved to the present site around three years later.

Opened: 1998
Brewer: Not Known.
Regular outlets: Mermaid, Hedenham.

Regular beers:
Mild (ABV 3.7%) A dark mild.
Best Bitter (ABV 3.7%) Copper coloured bitter.
Fuggled Up (ABV 3.7%)
Liberator (ABV 3.8%) Yellow bitter with flowery bouquet.
Alltime (ABV 4.0%) Dark brown.
Mundham Mild (ABV 4.0%)
Ditchingham Dam (ABV 4.2%) Mid-brown coloured beer with a hint of ginger.
Ale Extra (ABV 4.5%) Sweet fruity ale.
Norwich Dragon (ABV 4.6%) Hoppy, yellow coloured bitter.
Norfolk ‘n’ Good (ABV 4.6%)
Honeydo (ABV 5.0%)

Uncle Stuart’s Brewery

Started brewing with a 20 litre plant, but this was due to be replaced at the end of March 2003 with a 100 litre plant manufactured by Mossbrew.

Opened: April 2002
Brewer: Stuart Evans
Regular outlets: None

Regular beers:
No.1 (ABV 4.0%) Dark, soft, tasty ale
No.9 (ABV 4.7%) Soft, ruby coloured ale
No.3 (ABV 5.6%) Powerful dark ale
No.2 (ABV 5.7%) Strong, pale and hoppy
Christmas Ale (ABV 7.0%) Very powerful seasonal warmer

Winter’s Brewery

Dave Winter, who has had previous award winning success as brewer for both Woodforde’s and Chalk Hill breweries, decided to set up his own brewery in September 2001. He purchased the brewing plant from the now defunct Scott’s Brewery in Lowestoft.

Opened: 2001
Brewer: David Winter
Regular outlets: Duke of Connaught, Norwich

Regular beers:
Mild (ABV 3.6%)
Bitter (ABV 3.8%)
Golden (ABV 4.1%)
Revenge (ABV 4.7%)
Storm Force (ABV 5.3%)
Tempest (ABV 6.2%)

Wissey Valley Brewery

Born from “Cap’n Grumpy’s Beer Co.”, out of The Ship at Brandon Creek, this brewery is situated in premises belonging to local pub, The Bluebell. It is run by former pub landlord Tony Hook who learned the arts of brewing traditional ales from former Greene King brewer John Palmer. This small 4-barrel-a-week plant aims at producing exclusive cask ales for beer festivals and selected pubs and sees a good future in selling bottle conditioned beers direct to the public through local markets and visitors to the brewery.

Opened: 2003
Brewer: Tony Hook
Regular outlets: Bluebell, Stoke Ferry.

Regular draught beers:
Mrs. Whiplash (ABV – TBC)
Wissey Dawn (ABV – TBC)
Wissey Sunset (ABV – TBC)
Wissey Wallop (ABV – TBC)

Wolf Brewery

Set up in 1996 by Wolfe Witham, previously a partner in the Reindeer Trading Company. The 20-barrel plant is housed in an industrial building on the site of a former Gaymer’s Cider orchard. About 90 outlets take the beers. Tours by arrangement.

Opened: 1996
Brewer: Not Known.

Regular beers:
Golden Jackal (ABV 3.6%) Golden hoppy beer.
Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing (ABV 3.8%) A dark mild.
Bitter (ABV 3.9%) Very malty with caramel notes, a full bodied bitter.
Coyote (ABV 4.3%) Straw coloured pale ale, quite fruity.
Woild Moild (ABV 4.8%) A strong dark mild.
Granny Wouldn’t Like It (4.8%) Balanced premium brew, with less malt and more hops with a dry finish.
Lupus Lupus (ABV 5.0%) Red coloured brew.
Timber Wolf (ABV 5.8%) Rich and warming winter ale.

Regular outlets: Griffin, Attleborough; Duke of Wellington, Norwich; King’s Arms, Norwich.

Woodforde’s Norfolk Areas

Norfolk’s oldest brewery (1981!), which started in Drayton, moved to Erpingham (beside the Spread Eagle), before moving to its present site in converted farm buildings. Water is from its own borehole. Tours by arrangement, and there’s a shop (seasonal hours, ‘phone for details) for all your brewery souvenirs, bottled beers and home brew kits.

Opened: 1981
Brewer: Bruce Ash
Regular outlets: Swan Inn, Ingham; Billy Bluelight, Norwich; Fur and Feather, Woodbastwick.

Regular beers:
Mardler’s Mild (ABV 3.5%) An excellently balanced dark mild.
Kett’s Rebellion (ABV 3.6%) A session beer.
Wherry Best Bitter (ABV 3.8%) Award winning amber beer with a distinctly hoppy note.
Great Eastern Ale (ABV 4.3%) Initially sweetish but with a dry aftertaste.
Nelson’s Revenge (ABV 4.5%) Premium bitter. The hoppiness and bitterness come through at the end.
Norfolk Nog
(ABV 4.6%) Full-bodied red/brown beer with plenty of flavour and aroma.
Admirals Reserve (ABV 4.2%) Malty copper coloured ale.
Headcracker (ABV 7.0%) Well balanced pale brown beer with a fruity and bitter aftertaste.

York Brewing Company

A small operation based at the back of the York Tavern public house, which started production in May, 1996.

Ceased brewing in autumn 1997.

Opened: 1996
Brewer: Not Known.
Regular outlets: York Tavern, Norwich.

Regular beers:
Old Duke (ABV 4.0%) Full bodied, dry session bitter.
Occasional/seasonal beers: None known.

179 thoughts on “Norfolk Breweries

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