Leiston Abbey

Breweries & Taprooms

Food & Drink

Sarah Hardy celebrates the region’s independent breweries & taprooms

Norfolk & Suffolk boast almost 100 breweries between them, ranging from microbreweries such as Panther Brewery at Reepham through to bigger concerns like Greene King at Bury St Edmunds.The region’s fertile growing ground for barley, which is made into malt, a key ingredient in beer, is a major factor, as are the mild winters and salty sea frets.

The two counties have hundreds of pubs between them, ranging from wonderfully historic offerings such as the 14th century Green Dragon in Wymondham,  to the newly revamped Salhouse Lodge, just outside Norwich. There are beautiful riverside ones like Sculthorpe Mill, near Fakenham, remote ones best accessed by boat like the Geldeston Locks, near Beccles, ones by the sea like The Ship at Mundesley, and decent backstreet ones like the Rosebery in Norwich.

Taprooms, once the preserve of old men sipping their frothy pints and puffing on a ciggie, are enjoying a renaissance as more women and a younger crowd appreciate the craft that goes into creating the perfect pint. New World hops from countries such as America and New Zealand have allowed brewers to create fresh, aromatic beers, often with fruity flavours, which have appealed to a wider, less traditional beer-drinking audience.

Add in live music, pop up streetfood vendors selling global dishes and a family friendly atmosphere and it’s no wonder we’re all flocking to them!

If you are looking for a pub that specialises in great beer, check out the Campaign for Real Ale, Camra, website www.camra.org.uk. It lists many including, for example, its Norwich pub of the year; the White Lion on Oak Street in the city.

Bruin Maufe, founder of

Malt Coast Brewery Wells,


Who are you and what do you do?
We are a small independent micro-brewery based on an award winning malting barley farm just outside Wel0s next the Sea. We use this barley to brew beers with a focus on provenance – a genuine grain-to-glass story.

When and how did you get started?
My brother Max and I were based in London but were looking to get back to the family farm and diversify the business. The farm was already supplying local breweries (and even some in California!) with its malt so it seemed the obvious next step to start brewing ourselves. So in 2017 we started the process and looked to get back to Norfolk.

Tell us about your products.
We brew a core range of six beers from a Black IPA to low alcohol Farm Table Pale. The malt is the heart and soul of a beer so we try to ensure the malt shines through in all our beers.

Why do you think Norfolk has so many great craft breweries?
Norfolk is prime malting barley country and has a history of malting so it stands to reason, with a focus on and celebration of Norfolk ingredients, that the craft brewing sector is thriving here.

Where can we buy or sample your beers?
Our beers are available in many delis, restaurants and pubs along the coast. The Real Ale Shop based on the same farm, has our beers available in bottle, can and on draught. Some of the leading restaurants in London –  such as Nobu also stock our beer.

Any future plans?
We want to continue doing what we’re doing in what is an increasingly challenging business environment given cost pressures. We hope to offer a more extensive tap room experience on the farm in the future with a food offering.

Amy Hancock, marketing manager of

Lacons Brewery Gt Yarmouth,


Who are you and what do you do?
We’re an independent, family-run brewery in Norfolk with a very unique heritage. We brew modern-day beers for modern-day people supplied in cask, keg, bottle and can.

When and how did you get started?
We were established in 1760 and reclaimed in 2013. In the 1960s, we were taken over by a London brewer who decided to shut the brewery down. In 2013, after a 45-year hiatus, we reclaimed our independence and began brewing again, using the original Lacons yeast strain.

Tell us about your products.
Our multi-award winning core range consists of our flagship amber ale, Encore, alongside Legacy and Affinity. We also offer specialist, bottle-conditioned Heritage beers, mini kegs and our brand new Lager, Lgr in cans.

Why do you think Norfolk has so many great craft breweries?
We’re lucky in Norfolk to be surrounded by prime malting barley farmland. Local farmers tend to sell their grains to our main supplier Crisp Maltings so we know the grain we use is local. 

Where can we buy or sample your beers?
Our award-winning bottled and canned beers can be purchased online. If you’re in East Anglia, you’ll find our cask and keg beers in many of the local pubs.

Any future plans?
We are currently working on our brewery expansion project. We acquired adjacent buildings at our site in Great Yarmouth to house more fermentation vessels and have invested in a new on-site kegging plant and canning line to keep up with demand.



Dan Gooderham, who grew up in a pub in Bungay, has worked for leading Suffolk brewery Adnams for almost 13 years and has been head brewer for two years. The company has been making beers in the seaside town since 1872, and now produces about 27 million pints a year. They have a core range of about 15 beers including well known favourites such as Southwold Bitter, Ghost Ship, and Broadside, and swap in around the same number of seasonal, limited edition and collaboration brews throughout the year. ‘We do see ourselves as custodians of our heritage ranges,’ says Dan. ‘And it is always a challenge to maintain a consistent brew.’

The brewery’s most popular beer is now Ghost Ship, a pale ale with citrus flavours, which Dan believes reflects changing tastes and drinking habits. He reveals that there are two new beers to look forward to this summer – a collaboration with DEYA, a microbrewery based in Cheltenham, to create an elderflower summer pale ale and also a new IPA called LazySIPA, designed for warm summer nights. ‘That’s the fun side of my job, looking at new ingredients and creating fresh new flavours,’ he says.

Dan sees a bright future for both pubs and locally produced beers, saying: ‘The establishment of the pub will always exist. It’s the ambiance, the community spirit and the chance for people to chat together.’

If he’s looking to ‘quality control’ his beers, you might find Dan in the Lord Nelson in Southwold or the Bell at Walberswick, and he particularly enjoys a pint of Ghost Ship 0.5, a low alcoholic version of the popular beer.

Five of the best taprooms

Redwell Brewing

The Arches, Bracondale, Trowse, Norwich


There’s a large taproom and beer garden here (with a super trendy Airstream outdoor bar) where you can enjoy the gluten free, vegan beers. Tuck into the Redwell Vault Pizzeria offerings too, while Sundays sees a changing list of street food vendors on offer. Everyone from Norwich City football fans to cyclists rock here up.

Starwing Brewery

Church Road, Redgrave, Suffolk


There are nine beers on offer here, with a tap room, converted from an old redbrick sawmill, that opens on Fridays and Saturdays. There’s often live music, and events like October festivals too.

Duration Brewing

Abbey Farm, West Acre, Norfolk


Set on a gorgeous farm in west Norfolk, their taproom, Tap Days, opens Fridays and Saturdays from March to October. Six beers are on tap, plus wines, fizz and soft drinks alongside cheese and charcuterie sharing boards. Various pop up street food vendors such as East Coast Pizza and Feast (California burritos) are booked in, too.  It’s all very chilled, plus family and dog friendly. You might even stumble across a yoga class!

The Brewery Tap

Lawson Road, Norwich


This is part of the Fat Cat brewing empire and is a popular, lively place that serves ales from around the country. Add in live music and delicious loaded fries from Motherchip who have a residency here. There’s a running club and a cycling club to get involved with, too.


David Holliday of Norfolk Brewhouse, who makes the Moon Gazer range of beers, is embarking on his second charity fundraising event for the Norwich-based charity, It’s on the Ball, in the autumn. From October 1-7, he will be pushing a 75kg barrel of beer around the county, and aims to complete a marathon each day for seven consecutive days. It will take him on a 186 mile loop of the county, and he plans a fundraising event at the end of each day. He is starting in Cromer and finishing at Deepdale Campsite. The charity raises awareness about testicular cancer and provides support to sufferers and their families.

Find out more at www.moongazerale.co.uk

Tindall Ales Brewery

Seething Norfolk


Micro- brewery and creators of high quality modern award winning beer with the finest and often unorthodox ingredients.

On-site & online store. Local & nationwide Delivery. Cask, Kegs, Bottles, Mini kegs

The Real Ale Shop

Wells-Next-The-Sea, Norfolk


Great selection of Norfolk Real Ale, including their very own Malt Coast Craft Beer, local wine and a lot more. Draft beer and wood fire pizzas available Friday to Sunday throughout August.

Bull of the Woods

Bungay, Suffolk


Specialising in ‘exciting’ hand crafted ales and owned by brewing brothers Seamus and Rory Clifford on their family farm, nestled in the heart of the Waveney Valley near Bungay. Commited to experimenting with new ideas, whilst having several tried and tested favourites, namely the core beers; Rock Steady, Inca Gold and Twisted Wheel.

What else?

Barsham Brewery

Just near Fakenham, they hold Street Food Fridays on the last Friday of the month where there’s live music, a selection of street food concessions and a party atmosphere! 

Malt and Mardle

Check out this tiny micro-pub in Norwich’s Magdalen Street. It keeps a very good cellar and also offers local gins, wines and more. And snacks!

CAMRA Norwich Beer Festival

The annual CAMRA Norwich Beer Festival takes place in The Halls from October 23 to 29. Expect 300 different beers and 60 different ciders.