Norfolk and Normandy are linking together to make an ale of two cities as part of this year’s Norwich City of Ale Festival.

Now, in its 8th year, more than 40 pubs across the city  will take part in this annual celebration of cask ale and beer tourism.

And for the first time a French brewer is collaborating with one of Norfolk’s finest, celebrating their common heritage.

Norwich and Rouen share a history and connection going back much further than when the two cities became twinned in 1959.

Both cities are important centres of agricultural areas and Norfolk and Normandy also share a common heritage in that both areas were settled by Vikings.

The new beer was created by David Holliday, of the Norfolk Brewhouse together with brewers from the Northmaen Brewery, Normandy.

Holliday said: “The City of Ale Festival is always such a great celebration of Norfolk breweries and Norwich pubs, two very important aspects of our vibrant culture.

“The twinning with cities is also important to Norwich and when I explored the agricultural similarities of the two areas I felt that creating a beer which could complement the strengths of both regions would be a fitting tribute.”

“Finding the right brewer was also very important to us, as we wanted to make the link with the rural and city communities in France in the same way that the City of Ale does with Norwich and Norfolk.”

That task proved easier than might be imagined as luck would have it Rouen is home to a city centre craft beer pub – La Taverne de Thor (The pub of Thor) – which is owned by Northmaen Brewery – a farm and brewery based just 20 miles from Rouen.

“The fact that we found not only a brewery with a city and county base was fantastic but to then learn that they grow their own barley on the brewery farm was the icing on the cake. We are such advocates of Norfolk grown Maris Otter barley that to find someone who was equally proud of their malt was just fabulous,” he said.

Pictured from left: Northmaen Brewery’s Thomas Renaux, Simon and Dominique Camus, Norfolk Brewhouse’s David Holliday and City of Ale organiser Phil Cutter

City of Ale 2018 runs from 24 May – 3 June. For more information visit

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