Old Bullards in Norwich, City of Ale

One more day’s cycling, to Norwich, over the Norfolk Alps from King’s Lynn. It was a quiet route.

Almshouses for Sale

After the abandoned Bullards pub in King’s Lynn, there was more old Bullards in Norwich. This was the brewery that opened in 1867, was bought by Watney Mann in 1963 (with 530 pubs) and closed by them a year after its centenary, vandals that they were. The name, at least, has been revived by a new brewery.

We arrived in Norwich by mid-afternoon, the day before the City of Ale Festival started. The Ale Trails (7 of them) were all marked in the programme and pal Keith was keen to complete one. As were some of the pubs that offered us pre-emptive stamps – each completed trail got you a different pin badge.

It’s an inventive piece of beer tourism in a city where even this Premier Inn has real ale.

We went to a dozen on and off the trails, mostly revisits but no one was complaining (apart from me). All I have to do now is to remember anything about them, so these are based on my increasingly brief then non-existent notes. This is definitely the Adam and Eve, the oldest pub in the city, built with a Dutch gable and constructed with typical Norfolk flint. Some parts date from 1249.

It’s lovely, all small rooms, low ceilings and decent Wolf Golden Jackal, from one of Norfolk’s longer established small breweries. We would have gone to the Maiden Head but it was hosting a presentation on how to avoid tax so we hit them hard in their greedy pockets. They missed out on at least two half pints which will surely teach them the error of their ways.

Instead we went to the Louis Marchesi. This turned out to be a reincarnation of former Guide entry Take 5, named after one of Norfolk’s top boy bands. Boudicca Queen of Hops was the gently hoppy beer of choice.

Unfortunately Alternative Lobster were not on, though they were due at the Coach and Horses, home to Chalk Hill Brewery.

We ate in Louis Marchesi (yes, food- poor I know) and Keith stayed on for a bit when the open mic night got going. He said it was proper music. One musician asked us if we were talking about charoots by which he meant Indian hash. The Urban Dictionary gives a couple of other definitions not suitable for a before-the-watershed blog. I went off piste to a couple of non-trail pubs. The Rumsey Wells surprised me with these handpumps.

Not my sausage roll

I remarked I had never seen the two on the right before and they turned out to be beer in cans, marketed by a clip. The cask Ghost Ship lacked its usual zing so it was off to the Belgian Monk, pausing to admire the site of the Farriers Arms.

The Belgian Monk was on one of the trails and, as implied, sold exclusively Belgian beer. There were some horrible pronunciations going on at the bar (and I don’t mean about the then upcoming EU elections). Norwich voted Green since you ask. The Ter Dolen Blond was rich and punchy. Top place.

Hard to say for some apparently

We met up again at the Walnut Tree Shades and joined in the quiz, imposing ourselves on, or as we called it ‘helping’ a team called Quizlamic State. We finished in the bottom three.

Everyone’s a winner in Norwich, apart from Quizlamic State obviously.

13 thoughts on “Old Bullards in Norwich, City of Ale

  1. “over the Norfolk Alps”

    (slow golf clap)? – (methinks that’s a bit in jest) 🙂

    “It’s an inventive piece of beer tourism”

    Sounds like fun!

    “so these are based on my increasingly brief then non-existent notes. ”


    “They missed out on at least two half pints which will surely teach them the error of their ways.”

    Only if they read this. 😉

    “home to Chalk Hill Brewery.”

    Blimey. According to the schedule below I missed World Gin Day.

    “I went off piste to a couple of non-trail pubs”

    Since your notes are non-existent I think you may have been piste long before that.

    “Not my sausage roll”

    Soon to become a household expression? 🙂

    “and they turned out to be beer in cans, marketed by a clip”

    I was wondering that about the Anchor Steam beer; and now I see it says ‘canned’ on the clip.

    “Hard to say for some apparently”

    Even more so after a few pints.

    ” ‘helping’ a team called Quizlamic State”


    “apart from Quizlamic State obviously”

    It’s no wonder with a name like that!


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Mostly quiet roads. The coast is lovely but busy. The last 13 miles into Norwich were along Marriotts Way, am old railway line with a reasonable surface. It starts near Reepham, a very pleasant large village and also goes east as far as Hoveton (by the Broads) along the Bure Valley Railway Path. No hills!


      1. I am a hobby rider not a “real” cyclist. I see the cyclists there on the smaller roads and it looks quite scary. I like the railway line idea and love the no hills idea….

        Liked by 1 person

  2. when ever I do the City of Ale trails, I only go to the Maids head hotel to get the trail stamp,its usually the most expensive & poorest kept half of beer,and thus most quickly drunk, you drink all day…so you probably had a lucky escape

    Liked by 1 person

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