July brings the height of the British summer (height of the flooding, that is) and another excure for pubs and clubs across the land to pack the weekends with festivals.
Regional Pub of the Year judging. If you'd like to participate in judging for the Central Southern Regional Pub of the Year competition, please contact us for further details. You will need to visit all three finalists and submit your scores and comments by the end of the month. The finalists are: the Cross Keys, Thame, the Lamb & Flag, Oxford, and the Queen's Head, Wokingham. You can be sure all three are great pubs given they have reached this stage of the competition.
We kick off with ChesterFest at the Chester Arms, Chicheley, on Sat 2nd and Sun 3rd of July. They will have an increased range of beers available, live bands and a BBQ. We'll be running the first brach social of the month to pay a visit on the afternoon of Sat 2nd if you fancy joining us. See the pub's website for further details.
Over in Leighton Buzzard, the Black Lion on the High street is holding a week long cider festival from Mon 4th to Sun 10th of July. In addition to the 60 ciders and perries that'll be on offer, there is live music on Mon, Fri, Sat and Sun, plus a special cheese and cider tasting session with Virtual Orchard on Wed evening (tickets £7.50). Easy access from MK and Buckingham via bus and/or train, so don't miss it if you are a cider fan.
Our monthly branch meeting will take place on Thu 7th of July, where we'll be discussing our possible involvement with next year's MK50 celebrations. You'll find us at our usual meeting venue, the Barn, CMK, with the meeting starting at 20:15 prompt.
Stony Stratford Cricket Club have their annual festival at their Ostlers Lane base from Fri 8th to Sun 10th of July. Over 30 beers will be on offer, plus some local ciders and plenty of prosecco. There will be a free cricket match on the Saturday (weather permitting), plus live music for your entertainment. Further details are available via the club's website and Facebook. (Note that there is a major event at the Bowl on the Saturday that will effect public transport in MK and you'll find taxis very difficult to find late in the evening and early Sunday morning.)
The village of North Crawley is our destination for a two pub social on Tue 12th of July. We'll be dropping in to both of the village's pubs, the Chequers and the Cock, which are just a few hundred yards apart. With no evening public transport, we'll be organising a fleet of taxis to suttle us to and from Wetherspoons on Midsummer Boulevard, departing 19:30 and returning for 22:45. To help us plan the number of taxis to order, please contact
to book a place or feel free to make your own arrangements.
The Swan, one of the five pubs in Winslow.
On Sat 16th of July we'll be reprising last year's popular Winslow and Padbury pub crawl for the third social of the month. As the X60 bus linking MK and Buckingham to Aylesbuury now runs later into the evening, we'll have more time to spend in the various pubs. There are five to chose from in Winsolw, an option to stop in Adstock to visit the Old Thatched Inn and two more pubs in Padbury. You might even find time to take in a pub or two in Buckingham on the return journey and there's even a beer festival in Maids Moreton that might tempt you to stay out longer...
Sat 16th of July is also the date for the 6th Buckingham Beer and Music Festival. As usual, this is run by Buckingham Rugby Union FC at their Floyd Field ground on Moreton Road (MK18 1RF), just five minutes on foot from our current Pub of the Year, the Wheatsheaf in Maids Moreton. They'll have around 30 beers and 10 ciders/parries, plus lie music from local bands and a BBQ. It runs from noon until 23:00 and is around 20 minutes on foot from the centre of Buckingham where you can catch the regular X60 and X5 bus services. Further details will be available on the festival's website. Entry is £15, including site entrance fee, glass hire and £5 worth of beer tokens. The beer and cider list is now online.
Milton Keynes Cider & Sausage Festival is back on Sat 16th and Sun 17th of July at Bowland Drive, Emerson Valley (MK4 2DN). There's a £5 entry fee for this one as funds are being raised for MK Rugby FC. Advance tickets and further information is available online. Bus 8 offers a regular service, with route 24/25 going a little closer during the day.
Fancy a game of Beer Roulette? July's Bierclub at the Biergarten, Wolverton, offers a selection of beers for a true blind tasting. They won't tell you what they are until the end of the evening and by they it'll be too late to deny you liked that cheeky half of Doom Bar they slipped in! Advance tickets at £15 plus fees might still be available online. Tasting from 19:00 on Wed 20th of July.
Swan Inn, MK Village.
Another weekend, another festival. SwanFest returns to the Swan Inn, MK Village, from Fri 22nd to Sun 24th of July. They say there will be "a great selection of real ales & ciders from local brewers, delicious BBQ bites, pizza & paella, plus fantastic live music all weekend" and based on previous events we don't doubt them. You can buy your tokens in advance via the pub's website if you have a dislike for queues. Parking will be very limited for the weekend, but bus 8 offers a good service that'll get you within a ten minute stroll, while services 11/12 and C1/11 will do the same on Fri and Sat.
MK11 at the Kiln farm Pub completes July's list of festivals with a cider 7 Pie Festival from Fri 29th to Sun 31st of July. We suspect they'll be offering a selection of ciders and pies, probably with some live music thrown in, but we could be wrong! Here's the Facebook event page for all the details.
The final branch social of the month is a pub crawl in Stony Stratford on Sat 30th, which will feature some/all pubs in the area offering real ale, starting around 15:00.
What is jyssoping? It is an alternative term for priming, historically used in the Birmingham and Warwickshire areas. Priming is the process of adding sugar to a bottle or cask to ensure secondary fermentation takes place. It is often unnecessary as there is sufficient sugar from the malt left in the beer after the primary fermentation, but home brewers often prime their beers to ensure they have plenty of condition when opened. We have no idea if there is any joy to be had in jyssoping...