DIY brewing at the Great Yarmouth Beer and Cider Festival

DRINKERS can create as well as taste the brews at this year’s Great Yarmouth Beer and Cider Festival.

A beer and cider making competition is being held in the run up to the festival, which takes place from Thursday, April 28, to Sunday, May 1.

Held for the first time last year, the competition attracted dozens of entrants who created a variety of intoxicating tipples.

Hosted at the Blackfriars Brewery and Visitor Centre in the Courtyard, Main Cross Road, the festival will have more than 60 locally produced beers and ciders on tap, with a selection of tasty snacks available from Mary’s Country Kitchen.

This year’s festival has a royal wedding theme to celebrate the marriage of Prince William and Kate Middleton.

Drinkers can toast the couple with a patriotic pint of Honey Moon. A golden ale flavoured with stem ginger and pure Norfolk honey, 500 bottles have been produced for the occasion.

Now running his own award winning micro-brewery, Blackfriars owner Bill Russell started out making beers with basic home brewing equipment.

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He said: “I started off with a kit from Boots and would store the beer in the airing cupboard to ferment, much to the annoyance of many in the family. While some was awful, you drank it because you made it and after a few pints the beer would miraculously improve in flavour.

“I still get the same sort of excitement from brewing a beer now, just like at home you are still not sure how good it will taste.

“Home brewing is a bit more sophisticated now and some of the entries for last year’s competition were truly excellent. The winning beer, made by Richard Barnes, could have been produced on a commercial basis.”

Entrants will need to make three pint bottles, which must be delivered to Blackfriars Brewery by Friday, April 15. Judging takes place on April 18, with the winner announced at the Beer Festival.

The entrance fee is �5 unless a Blackfriars beer kit has been purchased. Entry forms are available from the brewery, for more information call 01493 850578.

The Mercury is the proud media sponsor of the Great Yarmouth Beer and Cider Festival. Discounted tickets will once again be available through the paper; look out for coupons in forthcoming editions.