Fem.Ale @ The Plasterers, Moonshine @ The Spiegeltent NNF14, 23 May

Fem.Ale 2014, with Emily Winng, Milly Hirst, and “Moonshine” Spiegeltent late at NNF14, 23 May 2014

Norwich is on a roll at the moment, with superb events all over the city, and seemingly all of them packed to the rafters. The Plasterers especially so. It was hosting the 2014 Fem.Ale celebrating a huge range of beers all brewed by women. Every pump in the pub was devoted to one of these ales and I tried several of them, starting with a dark porter, which was delicious, as was everything I tried. I’ve seen The Plasterers packed out for gigs such as The Vagaband and The Bunkadoos but I’m not sure I’ve ever known it so full to overflowing as this.

With Blondie tracks being blasted out I was interested if Milly would be properly heard but with a bit more volume and that voice of course she was and commanded attention. A short but beautiful set in a noisy pub she was utterly unfazed and even played a cover I’ve not heard before, as well as a couple of my big favourites, You Are Lovely, and the new song about her grandmother which I think is probably her best work to date.

Milly Hirst

Milly Hirst

A couple of days earlier I had hoped to catch Emily Winng at Live Art but it was brought forward by half an hour so I unfortunately arrived just as it was finishing, although I was able to catch one of the other Live Art performers, Julian Fox. I was therefore extremely pleased to be able to come here and see her on the same bill as Milly at such a brilliant festival. There was another band playing, called Other Half but I missed much of their set as I had to go outside for while and chat to friends as it was so hot and packed inside, not that I am complaining, it’s most pleasing to see decent pubs so full for such occasions.

Julian Fox at Live Art! NNF14

Julian Fox at Live Art! NNF14

Emily was performing with Iain Lowery on guitar and keys, Emily herself on percussion and lead vocals, she is another lady with a special voice. It was a performance full of fun and power, Jamaica and Waved Me on My Way (?) were real standouts. Great delivery, sassy vocals and a very fine performer. She was joined by various Sargasso’s at various points, who were in attendance also having a fine time, as was the entire pub.

Emily Winng

Emily Winng

Welcome to FEM.ALE 2014, celebrating beer brewed by women and enjoyed by all.

It’s no surprise to those of us here in Norfolk that men and women alike are partial to a pint of ale. But here at FEM.ALE we want to celebrate the beer loving women who are brewing great ales all over the country. So for The City of Ale Festival 2014, which every year celebrates the great pubs of Norwich and their glorious craft beers, we’re hosting our first all female brewed beer festival at the Plasterers Arms, where all 15 gravity pumps will be dedicated to Brewster brews (NB: a Brewster is a female brewer).


We’ll be welcoming ales from
Brentwood, JoC’s Brewery, Buntingford, Ilkley, WEST
and an Adnams brewster will be making a very special beer just for FEM.ALE.


10:00 Beers with Breakfast event from Dea Latis, a group of women passionate about bringing beer to more women. They work with female brewers and beer sommeliers to match beers to breakfast fare with delicious consequences. Have a look at a previous Beers with Breakfast event here: http://dealatis.org.uk/?s=breakfast&submit

and a blog post by It Comes in Pints? here: http://icipints.wordpress.com/2013/12/27/second-breakfast-a-morning-tasting-with-dea-latis/

19:00 Live music from PONY UP
Female artists will be playing us into the evening in partnership with PONY UP promoter Rosie Arnold and DJ’s and dancing will go on til late!


13:00 Brewster Industry Panel
We’ll be taking a look at the beer industry, with a panel of four Brewsters talking about the brewing process, the ingredients they love and being a woman in the business.

14:00 Beer tasting with the Brewsters
After the panel we’ll have a chance to taste where this brewing knowledge goes!

19:00 Meet the Brewer
Saturday evening, we’ll have a special beer tasting of Norfolk Brewster Jo C’s three magnificent brews, and a chance to ask her more about her brewing.

Following the tasting, more DJ’s and dancing and of course delicious beers!


On Sunday afternoon we’ll be hosting some live blues music to wind down the weekend and raise a toast to some excellent beers and the women who brew them!

This is an inclusive event, where everyone is welcome to celebrate beer brewed by women and enjoyed be all!


Following this, I went across the city back to the Spiegeltent to enjoy the lovely atmosphere outside and also perhaps catch a bit of “Moonshine” for the Spiegel Lates, and this I did in fact end up doing after meeting up with some friends. This too was pretty full right up until the 2am curfew. So lovely to have this festival mood in the city with people dancing and smiling throughout the night.

adnams spiegeltent beer tent


moonshine @ NNF14

moonshine @ NNF14

Moonshine at the Spiegeltent with special guests Alex Black and Shed Knows.

Join us from 21:00-23:30 in the outside bar, and from 23:30 onwards inside the Spiegeltent, as we bring a selection of afro beat, psychedelia, soul and more.

It’s free in the outside bar, £3 entry to the Spiegeltent.

Thanks to Milly and Emily.

words and photos, richard shashamane 2014









This entry was posted in Festival, live music and dance, Milly Hirst and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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