England’s most famous beer cities join forcesBy Phoebe French
Sheffield and Norwich, described as two of England’s ‘most famous beer cities,’ are coming together to champion their local brews. With a focus on education and discovery, both of beers and the cities’ pubs and bars, the alliance aims to boost the economy and stimulate tourism.
The initiative will take the form of a collaboration between organisers of Sheffield Beer Week and Norwich City of Ale.
Sheffield Beer Week takes place in March and features more than 40 pubs, bars and shops, whilst Norwich City of Ale is a 10-day event at the end of May/beginning of June, and involves 45 pubs and 40 local breweries.
Although the two cities will continue to promote their own beers at their respective festivals, a series of joint seminars and tastings are currently being planned.
Jules Gray, chief instigator of Sheffield Beer Week and owner of Hop Hideout said, “It’s really exciting to be working with Dawn and Phil of Norwich City of Ale, and to have access to all their experience.
The aim is to work together to showcase the vibrant beer scenes in our great cities and encourage people from around the country to visit.”
Dawn Leeder, co-founder of Norwich City of Ale, agreed, stating, “The overall aim is to reinforce the reputation of the two cities as must-visit beer attractions.”
She added, “We can learn from each other’s experience and plan some joint activities. We can show the importance of breweries and pubs to the economy and the community. And we can educate people about beer, beer styles, ingredients, flavours and aromas. The opportunities are endless.”
The concept was partly inspired by the success of the tutored beer tastings held in Norwich last year. Local brewers and celebrated beer writers such as Roger Protz, Adrian Tierney-Jones and Matt Curtis took part in engaging talks and tastings, elements that both Norwich and Sheffield want to roll out on a larger scale this year.
Phil Cutter, co-founder of City of Ale and landlord at the Murder’s Arms in Norwich, is going a step further. He will launch the partnership in Norwich with a National Winter Ales Festival fringe event bringing together both Sheffield and Yorkshire ales made from Norfolk malt that will be served in Norwich pubs during the week commencing 20 February.
Commenting on the event, he said: “Norfolk grows some of the very best barley in the world, much of it is malted locally. We’re proud to see it being used in many of Sheffield’s award-winning beers – and this exchange gives us the opportunity to try some of them.”