Last year I wrote a post about visiting some of the many Norfolk pubs. Well, I have been back to Norfolk, and surprise, surprise, I visited more pubs. Some were the same old favourites like the Fat Cat, the Plough and the Brick Kilns, but many were different. Here are some of the new pubs I visited.
This pub which encompasses two adjacent buildings and has two names was holding a beer festival when we visited during the City of Ale festival, a 10-day event that many Norwich pubs participated in to showcase the wonderful ale brewed in the area. This lovely olde-worlde bustling pub is full of nooks and crannies and I love it – I could spend ages gazing at the little higgledy-piggeldy snugs and the crooked beamed ceilings. There was a large choice of beer on offer – I went for a Tipples Lady Evelyn, which was refreshingly hoppy with quite an unusual flavour, and @pintsandpubs had a Golden Triangle Pale Ale with gorgeous Cascade and Summit hops – very Oakham Citra-esque. We then shared some Green Jack Ripper upon realising it was 8.5% – very resinous, tasty but dangerous!
A visit to this pub was recommended by Rob, manager of the Elm Tree, Cambridge, and upon entering I realised I knew Ben, the manager. Nice surprise. He runs this Milton pub with Becky, and they have done a great job turning this unassuming little boozer just outside the city centre into a really cosy space with games room and lounge area and friendly locals - plus great beer and cider. It recently won the CAMRA’s East Anglia Regional Cider Pub of The Year 2012. Lots of Milton beers were on tap, however, I enjoyed a lovely Brewshed Junga from this great brewery in Bury St Edmunds, an easy drinking bitter brewed with the Polish hop Junga. This pub is definitely worth a visit.
The Plasterers Arms, Norwich
This pub is a short stroll from the city centre down a little side street. Once inside it’s very bright, nicely decorated, and loads of beers on tap. The young managers are really friendly and don’t mind you sampling tasters. I went for a Hardknott Katalyst, but to be honest this wasn’t to my taste – flavours of asparagus and celery, both of which I dislike. So I swapped it for a Golden Triangle City Gold, which was refreshing and light and hoppy with a smokiness which reminded me of Fat Cat Bitter, one of my favourites. Nice pub and worth a stroll out to.
This is the home of the Chalk Hill Brewery, and I had a pleasant Chalk Hill Brewery Tap Bitter at only 3.6% – this also reminded me a lot of Fat Cat Bitter, with its smoky flavours. They brew 5 other beers, including a 5% mild. The pub itself is a lively young feeling sort of establishment, with its pale wood and red walls and TV screens to watch the sport. I found the metal pump clips really difficult to read until I got really close to them – or maybe that was just me after a few too many during the City of Ale events…
The latest offering from the Fat Cat group is their third pub in Norwich – just slightly outside the city centre (as they all are) at Thorpe St Andrew – an easy bus ride from the city (we got the 123). It’s only been open for a few weeks (at the time of writing), and they have done a fantastic job turning the former Mustard Pot pub into an almost exact replica of the Fat Cat on West End Street, with the same black and white tiled floor, red walls, breweriana everywhere and lots of Fat Cat beers and guests on tap. And it was busy, just like the others. I went for a Crouch Vale Yakima Gold, beautiful US hop flavours (I had already had some Fat Cat beers in the other Fat Cat pub, the Bitter and Cougar being some of my favourites). I love this mini chain, and it appears that everyone else does too.
The Nelson Head, Horsey
This little pub is located on a small no-through-road near Horsey Wind Pump, and is my sort of pub. Inside its one large room, with long tables on the left and a dining area to the right, plus a tucked away cute dining room. There were fairy lights around the fireplace, and the open fire was roaring and the smell of smoke was beautiful (it was cold outside despite the fact it was June). I particularly loved the beer garden – in a field opposite, through a bunting-covered archway (we visited during the Jubilee celebrations). Fantastic views. I had a Woodfordes Wherry, and @pintsandpubs had a Nelsons Revenge. it was very nice indeed. One to return to.
This pub is next to the riverside pub The Rising Sun, but is very different in character. It’s a lovely dark wood building, but the tables are laid out neatly for diners and there was a firm focus on food - it makes you feel like you had to stand at the bar, which was certainly the busiest area with locals chatting and laughing. However, we took a seat at one of the set-out tables, and after the waitress asked us if we were dining and we said no she was kind enough to clear it for us. We both enjoyed a wonderful Tipples Redhead – lovely spicy berry flavours.
Litchfield Arms, Yarmouth
We popped to this backstreet boozer in Southtown (far from the tourist area) as @pintsandpubs went to college just down the road. It’s not a pub that’s in the good beer guide, or any beer guide for that matter – it’s just a simple little corner pub with small windows you can’t really look into, and it looks slightly daunting to be honest. But once inside it was very nice. The barmaid (or possibly landlady) was very friendly, there were children inside as a Jubilee disco type thing was going on in the corner with a DJ playing 80s tunes next to a dancing area (such as Eddy Grant’s ♪ I don’t wanna dance ♪, and nobody was, at least at that point). We had some GK IPA as that was the only ale available, but it was on a ‘smooth or flat’ pump which the barmaid quite liked, and I have to say it may be one of the tastiest IPAs I have ever had the pleasure in drinking (flat). A pleasant surprise.
The location of this pub is wonderful – opposite Malthouse Broad. I can just imagine going past in my boat, spotting this pub, and not wanting to travel any further. It’s a large building with a pleasant seating area outside, with an outdoor pool table under its own gazebo. I enjoyed a lovely home-made veggie lasagne inside next to one of the porthole round windows in the right hand bar and drank a hoppy Crouch Vale Brewers Gold – very tasty and a friendly atmosphere. The left hand side of the large pub is more modern and is really a dining area – children were playing in this raised section. Really nice pub.
White Horse, Neatishead
A traditional pub in this little village which probably hasn’t changed much over the years. There are a few stuffed birds dotted about, and the small bar areas feel quite bare and old fashioned (in a good way). There were a few locals in the pub, chatting and reading their papers, and I enjoyed a Wherry and a bag of crisps whilst we talked to them. It feels like this is a proper pub that has stood the test of time, and is now the only remaining pub in this pretty village.
We have driven past this large old pub several times but never stopped, so this time we thought we’d pop in for a half. It used to be a farm house but has only been a pub for about 50 years. The inside area is divided up into a couple of bars and a dining area. We sat at the bar and chatted to the landlord who told us about the little blind barking dog that one of the locals had bought in and had sat upon a bar stool – don’t get too close as he bites! he said. He also said the pub was haunted. The pub is full of beams, fairy lights, and many chalkboards with dining options for that evening. I had an Adnams Ghost Ship (in keeping with the haunted pub theme I have eerily just realised), a light and tasty easy drinking session beer from this Suffolk brewery. I’m glad we dropped in at last.
Another pub in a lovely location, opposite the river at Rockland St Mary. It’s light and airy inside with stripped wooden floor. I chose an Adnams Ghost Ship again and sat outside opposite the river watching a little girl rowing her dog along the river in a little dinghy, her dad keeping a close eye on her from his large boat. Great spot and nice looking pub.
This little seaside resort has a pub in a wonderful spot, on the cliffs looking down on the beach and sea from its large grassy beer garden. Inside it’s a traditional pub with a dining area and conservatory, and the food was reasonably priced. I had a Wherry and @pintsandpubs had a Nelsons Revenge (nice and fruity and full flavoured) and we took them outside to take advantage of the great views. It was a bit breezy, but that didn’t put us off – it’s not often you get a view like that from a beer garden.
This isn’t a pub as such, but the Wroxham Barns craft centre has its own little brewery and bar called Uncle Stuart’s. There is a bottle shop selling their beers, plus a little bar, brewery room and outdoor courtyard where you can enjoy the beer. On tap there were three beers: Winter Ale, Queen’s English IPA and Wroxham Barns Bitter which I went for – easy drinking with caramel flavours, very nice. I had a sample of the IPA which was also very good, resinous smoky flavours. A cute little place.
The last pub we visited on this trip, and what a great one it was. The approach is down a driveway to the Gunton Hall estate, a thousand acre deer park which is stunning in itself – especially when you see the massive beer garden with views of the park and herds of deer, and its own outdoor bar and BBQ area. Inside is equally as stunning, with a traditional lounge area with comfy sofas, a dark wood bar area with pool table, and a classy restaurant with open fire and a chef who cooks in front of the diners. I enjoyed a Green Jack Orange Wheat Beer, a hoppy and spicy beer brewed with Citra hops with subtle hints of orange and marmalade. It was served in a traditional dimpled tankard, and tasted all the better for it. A wonderful find, and I can’t wait to go back when its warm enough to sit outside and soak up the views (come on British summer, it’s mid-June – time to start warming up now!)