Wildcraft Brewery

micro-breweries in north norfolk

In the whole of Norfolk, there are over 1,000 pubs, with many in north Norfolk. For centuries, world-renowned malt was produced from Norfolk maltings and the area was home to hundreds of brewers taking advantage of the idea climate and conditions in the region. The light, sandy soil over chalk; mild winters and summer sea frets (mist) mellowing the crop which create unique delicate flavours.

The second world war brought with it a huge consolidation of brewers, when the continental influence of lager arrived. By the 1980s, Woodforde’s Brewery in Woodbastwick was the only Norfolk brewer with the charming Fur & Feather pub right beside it. Since then, there has been a sharp rise in micro-brewers producing a great variety of ales and with that, a diversity of flavours. There are now over 50 micro-brewers in the county. Here’s a round up of some of the best micro-breweries in north Norfolk.

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Poppyland Brewery, Cromer. Poppyland Brewery in Cromer was founded in 2012 in a former car dealership garage in West Street. The award-winning brewery is known for its distinctive brews frequently using local foraged plants, to give you a real taste of north Norfolk. Several years on, the brewery has gained a reputation for doing different. It was started by Martin Warren who wanted to produce a beer that mirrored the character and culture of north Norfolk, drawing inspiration from the local environment and history. He used the best ingredients and new techniques, seeking to innovate and delight customers. Visitors can take a tour of the brewery. 

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Poppyland Brewery

Whin Hill Norfolk Cider, Wells-next-the-Sea. Whin Hill Norfolk Cider has the whole package with the small farm-to-table company at Wells-next-the-Sea producing cider, perry and apple juice from its own orchards, using traditional methods.

You can enjoy full-bodied ciders, distinctive perries and smooth juices (for the designated drivers) from cider apples and perry pears grown in orchards at Stanhoe, close to the north Norfolk Coast and harvested using traditional methods. The ciderworks and shop are on the main car park at Wells-next-the-Sea and the site is in a secluded courtyard with plenty of seating to sample a glass or two.

Whin Hill Norfolk Cider began in a small way in 1993 with friends Jim Fergusson and Pete Lynn making cider from spare apples from the garden. Initially, all cider not drunk by themselves was sold to local pubs. The friends soon realised that in order to produce the style of cider they wanted, they needed to have their own orchard and Whin Hill Norfolk Cider was conceived in the spring of 1994 when 1,000 real cider apple trees were purchased from Herefordshire. In 1997, the business expanded into an 18th-century barn and outbuildings just off the main car park in Wells-next-the-Sea to be used as a ciderworks and a shop to supply almost their entire production direct to customers.

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Whin Hill Brewery

Wildcraft Brewery, Buxton. Foraging takes centre stage again at Wildcraft Brewery, as well as supporting the local area. Owners, Mike Deal and Mark Goodman, aiming to have the smallest carbon footprint they can, run a brewery where beers were made with foraged ingredients. Wildcraft launched its first brew in November 2016, which sold well and received great feedback. Since then, 13 different brews have been created, including various ‘wild’ ales and craft spirits, including ‘Bathtub Gin’.

Wildcraft organises its own events each year as well as supplying ales for others. As a brewery focused on community, they put on events throughout the year that feature local beer, ciders, gins, live music, children's entertainment, local producers and more. Brewery tours and tasting dates are available and the Wildcraft ales can be found at various local events and outlets. 

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Wildcraft Brewery

Panther Brewery, Reepham. This award-winning microbrewery based in Reepham, north Norfolk uses traditional brewing techniques to create a range of sleek, modern and full flavour real ales which are available in seven different breeds. Established in late 2010, the microbrewery uses locally grown barley and other locally sourced ingredients to produce their array of core beers, small batch beers and seasonal specials. Panther Brewery is named after the larger panther-like creature that some of the inhabitants of Reepham claim to have seen stalking the local countryside. They supply their bottle conditioned and cask conditioned real ale to outlets all over Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridge and also London.

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Panther Brewery

Norfolk Brewhouse, Hindringham. Started by Rachel and David Holliday, Norfolk Brewhouse is situated within an old barn, on an arable farm in north Norfolk. The rural setting – right in the heart of the country’s finest malting barley region – enables the brewers to make the most of all that is around them; chalk-filtered water from the brewery’s own well and Norfolk’s finest malting barley. The names of the beers – Moon Gazer Ale and StubbleStag premium lager – were inspired by the surrounding wildlife.

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Norfolk Brewhouse

Yetman’s Brewery, Holt. The brewery is situated in a 200 year-old barn, just outside Holt, overlooking barley fields and livestock. The brewer only uses Maris Otter malted barley and whole hop flowers, which provide more intense, clean flavours. The beer produced has won many awards including Yetman’s Red being awarded Champion Norfolk Cask Bitter 2019 by Norfolk and Norwich CAMRA, Yetman’s Orange voted as Best Bitter at the 2018 Norwich Beer Festival and Yetman’s Green won Bronze Medal in the Norfolk Camra Bottled Beer Competition 2015 for Strong Beer. The beer can be bought from many outlets in north Norfolk, plus a few in Norwich and East Anglia.

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Brancaster Brewery, Brancaster. Brancaster Brewery is a five-barrel brewery producing small batches of high-quality real ale using local ingredients. It takes its name from the village Brancaster Staithe, which is steeped in brewing history with records showing brewing dating back to Roman towns. The demand for barley was great and the country's largest malthouse was built in Brancaster Staithe in 1797 (using bricks salvaged from the nearby Roman fort), just across from The Jolly Sailors pub. While the Malthouse no longer stands, Brancaster Brewery is keeping a brewing tradition alive in north Norfolk by producing quality ales from the finest regional produce at The Jolly Sailors pub. 

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Brancaster Brewery

St George’s Distillery, Roudham. Although not a brewery, worth a mention is the home of The English Whisky Co. This is the first distillery in England in more than 100 years and is based just off the A11 at Roudham. The distillery is open to the public seven days a week for the chance to see the gleaming copper stills or visit the shop, where are more than 200 different whiskies for sale. St George’s Distillery started life in December 2006 and opened its doors to the public in 2007. Tours take you to the distilling floor where you can find out how whisky is made, see the casks and breathe in the aroma caused by the Angels Share escaping, before finally finishing with a tasting.

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St George’s Distillery

Beers of Europe, Setchey. Again, although not a micro-brewery, the Beers of Europe store in Setchey, King’s Lynn needs a mention as it's the biggest beer shop in Britain! They have a fantastic range of products to choose from including more than 1,700 different beers from around the world and over 1000 malt whiskies, spirits and liqueurs as well as selling home brewing equipment.

The store is well worth visiting and is a pilgrimage site for beer and beer fanatics seeking premium and rare beers from Europe and beyond.

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Beers of Europe