ESCAMRA Visit To Norwich Real Ale Pubs
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Real Ale
Real Ale
The Murderers
The Murderers
The Rose
The Rose

ESCAMRA visit to Norwich Real Ale Pubs (August 2013)


Everton Supporters in CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale, like to visit pubs serving hand-pump cask ale on our travels around the country following the Blues.


Norwich is a renowned Real Ale city, so there were many good pubs to choose from. With them being very spread out though and only having a couple of hours we had to limit our selection to a chosen few.


Having ventured to several by the cathedral on our last visit, we vowed that this time we had to start off at a well heard of pub, chiefly due to its interesting name.

Dating back to 1530 and officially known as The Gardeners Arms, you can read all about why it is commonly known as The Murderers at

This includes how it gained it gruesome nickname when the landlady's daughter was murdered by her estranged husband in 1895.


A well placed board at the end of the bar provided the line-up for the opening day of the season. Alongside the beer's name was its strength and a small pint glass, chalk being used to try and match the colour of the ale. So we had Murderers Ale (3.6% Brown) Elgood's Prawn Free (3.7% Yellow) Fakir Brewery - Easy Old Fakir (3.9% Pink) Doombar (4% Brown) Brass Castle Tail Gunner (4% Brown) Winter's Genius (4.1% Black) Woodforde's City (4.1% Yellow) St Peters Ruby Red 4.3 (Red/Brown)


With these colours, you could almost play a cask version of snooker, potting the pints in points value order. However we only had time to try two of them so through sentiment rather than anything else opted for the Murderers and City, the latter given it was yellow and our opponents for the day.


Murderers Ale was a light amber colour and not surprisingly at 3.6% a bit bland. Woodforde's City was a touch paler but did have a bit more kick to it whilst being a refreshing pint that went down well. It may well have been a limited edition, both beers came in at around £3 a pint.


There were several rooms inside the wood panelled pub making it seem smaller than it actually was. Given that the 12.45 match was being shown in a back room, we opted to drink outside at the front in a small sectioned off area leading directly to a traffic free road.    


Next up was The Woolpack, up the cobbled street and through an alleyway on to the main inner ring road. There was a large drinking area outside with a number of blue tops in evidence.

At the bar, Bombardier was on offer, besides three Norfolk ales. Grain Best Bitter 4.2%, apparently brewed with a blend of pale ale, choclolate and crystal malts, along with two from Woodforde's Brewery. Nelson's Revenge 4.5% is described as an amber bitter with rich floral aromas and a taste of citrus. Sundew 4.1% is described as a subtle golden beer, light and refreshing. We could not disagree with the latter but as with a lot of lighter beers it did come across as a bit tasteless and at £3.39 a pint was not really worth that.   


The descriptions came from a free Woodforde's Pub Guide at the bar. Handily sized to fit in the back pocket and full of much more useful information than a match programme. This listed the many pubs across the south east of England serving their beer and has been stored away should we draw the likes of Colchester, Peterborough Southend or Ipswich in a cup competition. It also gave useful details on the rest of their range. For quick reference, Mardler's 3.5% is a mild, Wherry 3.8% a light amber bitter, Once Bittern 4% copper-coloured, Bure Gold 4.3% straw coloued bitter, Nog 4.6% a ruby red/black old ale (tasted too much of treacle when tried out at Norwich's Compleat Angler once, not recommended) and Headcracker 7% barley wine (not recommended either).


Last on our list was away from the centre and nearer the ground, but obviously unfamiliar with Evertonians as we appeared to be the only ones in what was quite a packed small pub, uphill if crossing the first river bridge outside the ground. The Rose had six beers from the Norwich Bear Brewing Co, a microbrewery, surprisingly available in 1/3 and 2/3 pint glasses as well as a half or a pint. Again it was quite impressive that a board above the bar gave the prices for all four measures along with the strength and colour. Classic (3.8% light £3.10 pint), Pooh Bear (4.2 amber £3.20), Legend (4.3 medium £3.20), New Season (4.5% light £3.30), NPA (4.7% light £3.30) and Platinum Blonde (5% light £3.40)

All the range can be read about at and whilst agreeing with the description of New Season as a refreshing amber-blush summer ale, brewed just in time to celebrate the start of the footy season, it was surprising to see it also described as a wheat beer. It was the most full bodied pint drunk all day and preferable to the Pooh Bear sampled by one of the party, as could be expected it did have that taste of honey.

Look out for more ESCAMRA trips following Everton. 





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