TOP 100 PUBS – THE FAT CAT, NORWICH

dav

At last, you cry, a pub I’ve heard of. And surely a shoe-in for any Top 100 at very least.

I wasn’t sure the Fat Cat was a shoe-in, so on my night in Norwich I did the necessary research.

You know where Norwich is, I’ll spare you the map.  You probably know where the Fat Cat is.  Still interesting seeing how many pubs there are round there, though;

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To be fair, I’ve been in the Fat Cat twice and scored the beer very highly (NBSS 3.5+), so any reservations I have must have been down to three things;

  • It’s all beardies and beer bores
  • There’s too many handpumps to maintain quality 
  • There’s no Draught Bass anymore

Guilty on the last point anyway, though that’s true of about 4,300 other pubs in the Guide, and at least the Fat Cat had it on recently (I was told).

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On the second point, the case for the prosecution starts with the beer board;

31 (thirty-one) beers on a Monday

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I don’t like that, not at all.  It feels like a cask beer lottery to me.

The defence will say “Ah, but a beer shrine like the Fat Cat can turn those over, no problem“.  But this isn’t a vast pub by any means; there weren’t many more customers than ales while I was there.

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So I drank their beer.  In pints, of course. The Crouch Vale Yakima was well presented but a bit sharp, the Boltmaker from a Tim Tap Takeover was well presented but a bit plain. NBSS 3 both, but they wouldn’t have converted Mrs RM from the evil keg.

I prepared to write my savage piece. But then, seeing that Abbot appeared to be the beer of choice, if only because it was £3 a pint, I went for that.  And a pork pie.

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The pork pie was a stodgy joy; the Abbot was cool, smooth and complex.  A straight NBSS 4.5, and an early contender for Beer of the Month.  You didn’t expect that.

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And while I don’t like the idea of 31 pumps, I have to say they’re all beers from good, established brewers.  It’s not a ticker’s pub.  Some terrific stronger beers,mind.

Of course, pubs are about people, not pumps, however fast their throughput.  My main reservation about the Fat Cat was unfounded.

As you’d hoped for in a backstreet city pub, there’s a great mix of locals and visitors.  A bit like Stockport’s Magnet or Burton’s Coopers Tavern (if only that was in the Beer Guide, heh ?).

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Blokes in Hi-Vis jackets at the bar, schoolteachers complaining about pupils at the adjacent table, folk getting growlers of beer to drink while watching “Gunpowder” on the I-Player.  I couldn’t fault the atmosphere.

And the pub itself is a marvel, up there with the Cambridge Blue for brewerania.

If anything, it’s too attractive. It’s a good job I didn’t stop for a second Abbot, or I’d have had that Bass sign off the wall.  I’d have left the Red Barrel.

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9 thoughts on “TOP 100 PUBS – THE FAT CAT, NORWICH

  1. I know what you mean about the too attractive. A bit too perfect. Really a nice pub and crowded when we were there. I always think Abbot an underrated beer. I love it. Nice full bodied beer. I’d go on, but I would rapidly become a pub bore if I did.

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  2. I have done all pubs in that area of Norwich, a city i love.
    But it does come under my beer bore pub list,but i did visit it on a Saturday dinner time.
    If i do get the chance i will name my top 100 beer bore pubs,no doubt all will be in or have been in the GBG at some point.
    Numbers 1 and 2 will be the Co Op pub in Huddersfield ram packed with beer bores talking about it and the one near the bridge in York that used to be called The Lendal Bridge Inn another pub packed with people talking about beer.
    I have never liked GK Abbot,far too strong for my liking,probably because i prefer drinking large amounts of beer under 4.0% .

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  3. 31 pumps does seem rather ambitious.

    It may be sacrilege to say in the UK but if you’re going to have lots of different beers on hand then do it in bottles like the Delirium Cafe does:

    http://www.deliriumcafe.be

    (apparently they’re up to 3162 on hand)

    Mind you, they have a fair number of taps as well.

    As for me, I’m eagerly awaiting December 1st when I can start the fourth year of my very own beer advent calendar:

    http://centralcitybrewing.com/central-city-parallel-49-great-white-wonder-adventure-pack/

    Cheers!

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  4. Leaving aside the too-many-handpumps issue, “predictably good beers from reliable established breweries” is a surprisingly under-used selling point in the free trade. There’s a lot of beers on there that I’d be happy to see more often.

    Liked by 1 person

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