Milton Keynes and North Bucks Campaign for Real Ale

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T H E
C O N C R E T E   P I N T
2 0 1 6
2 3 rd   M i l t o n   K e y n e s   B e e r   &   C i d e r   F e s t i v a l
19th to 22nd October, The Old Bus Station, Central Milton Keynes, MK9 1LR.
Milton Keynes and North Bucks Campaign for Real Ale

August's Altbier Appointments

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An immediate start to the month with a branch meeting at the Barn, CMK on Mon 1st of August. As usual there will be a prompt start at 20:15 and we're usually finished within two hours. All welcome, although any voting will be restricted to branch members. Come along and have your say in your local branch.

Please note: All branch socials planned and advertised for August 2016 have been cancelled with the exception of the (rearranged) Wolverton social. We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.

Our first social of the month, planned for Sat 6th of August, has been cancelled due to insufficient numbers booking.

The Great British Beer Festival runs from Tue 9th to Sat 13th of August at Olympia in London. For full details of CAMRA's showcase of British and world beer, cider and perry, visit the GBBF website. Our planned branch social on Fri 12th has been cancelled due to the withdrawal of the Southern Trains direct service linking Milton Keynes and Olympia. It is still possible to get to the venue by train using alternative routes if you'd like to make your own arrangements.


Craufurd Arms, Wolverton.

The original Wolverton social planned for the middle of the month has been cancelled due to the launch date of a new beer being moved to the start of the month. If you'd like to know more about the new beer, check our local breweries on social media. However, we have managed to rearrange a short pub crawl around Wolverton's pubs on Wed 18th of August. We'll be meeting in the Biergarten between 19:00 and 20:00 before touring the town's other pubs, the North Western, the Craufurd Arms and the New Queen Victoria. (By the way, if you're looking for Wolverton on WhatPub, it appears to be listed as Wolverton Bedfordshire.)

It's Bank Holiday weekend at the end of the month, so a handful of pub festivals are competing for your attention. First out of the blocks is the Black Lion, one of the best pubs in the neighbouring South Beds branch area. Their 'down on the farm' themed beer festival runs from Thu 25th through to Mon 29th of August. If you've been to any of their themed events in the past, you'll know they don't mess around and always make it worth the trip to Leighton Buzzard. Expect around 70 beers from 50+ breweries – we'll be very disappointed if they don't have some cows and goats on the bar. See Facebook for more info.


Cross Keys, Woolstone.

If you want something closer to CMK, the Cross Keys in Woolstone has its second festival of the year from Fri 26th to Mon 29th of August. There will be plenty of beer and cider, live music and great food. No tickets, no tokens and no fuss, they say on Facebook. Bus 18 on Fri/Sat day times, or the 8 stops ten minutes walk away. Don't forget the Barge Inn is just down the road if you need to escape the excitement.

Out in the northern extremes of our branch area, the Watts Arms in Hanslope is holding its annual beer and music festival on Sat 27th and Sun 28th of August. Running from noon to 22:00 each day, there will be live music and BBQ food to go with the beers and ciders, plus entertainment for the kids too. The 33 provides a good service to the village from CMK (and Northampton) until the early evening on Saturday, but there's no service on the Sunday. If you do visit Hanslope, remember our current Club of the Year, the Club, is just a hundred yards down the road and the Cock across the street is always worth a look for an unusual beer or two.

The latest edition of our FREE branch magazine, Beer Moos, should be available from all good (and some dodgy) local pubs. You can also download a PDF version of issue 38 if your local is daft enough not to stock it.

Last Updated on Saturday, 20 August 2016 22:42
 

Saturday's Stony Stagger

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The Old George and the Plough, Stony Stratford.

We complete this month's series of socials with our annual stagger around Stony Stratford's fine public houses from 15:00 on Sat 30th of July. That's right, another pub crawl! Join us at:

  • 15.00 Old George, 41 High Street.
  • 16.00 Crown, 9 Market Square.
  • 16.45 White Horse, 49 High Street.
  • 17.30 Fox and Hounds, 87 High Street
  • 18.15 Cock Hotel, 72-74 High Street.
  • 18.45 Bull Hotel (Vaults Bar), 64 High Street.
  • 19.45 Plough, London Road.
  • All times are (increasingly) approximate, but shouldn't bee too far out as we're a well oiled pub crawling machine at MK CAMRA.

    There are plenty of buses on Arriva route 6. If you want to join us for the 3pm start, hop on the 6 at Lakes Estate 13.40, Bletchley Bus Station 14.01, Food Centre 14.23, Point 14.26, MK Rail Station 14.33, Heelands Priory Common School 14.39, arriving Stony Stratford at 14.54. If you are coming from Wolverton, get the 14.52 arriving at 14.59. The number 6 runs every 20 minutes throughout the afternoon if you fancy joining us later.

    Service 6 will also get you back to CMK and Bletchley, leaving Wolverton Road (RTPI) every 20 minutes until 17.02, then 17.33, 18.13, 19.16, 20.16, 21.16, 22.16 and 23.16. Towards Wolverton (RTPI) buses depart every 20 minutes until 18.14, then 18.31, 18.55, 19.23, 19.54, 20.40, 21.40, 22.40, 23.40, 00.40. For alternative routes and full timetables, see the MK Council website. An Arriva day ticket will set you back £4.70, with the all operators MK Moove day ticket available at £5 if you need it.


    Don't forget: We are now taking bookings for a mystery tour of the branch's western villages planned for Sat 6th of August. A minibus will depart Wetherspoons, CMK, at 11:30 with a pick up in Bletchley about 11:45. We'll be back at 'Spoons around 19:45. CAMRA members can book places at £15 per person and non-members are welcome at £20 each. We need 12 people for this to go ahead, so contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it to reserve a place a.s.a.p.

Last Updated on Saturday, 30 July 2016 00:56
 

July's Jyssoping Joys

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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 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it 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...

Last Updated on Saturday, 16 July 2016 10:57
 

Pubs of the Year 2016

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Beer scores have been scrutinised, discussions held and votes counted... We can now confirm the MK & North Bucks CAMRA Pubs of the Year!

Pub of the Year 2016


Wheatsheaf, Maids Moreton

Presentation: Wed 6th April from 7:30pm.

Cider Pub of the Year 2016


Red Lion, Fenny Stratford

Presentation: Wed 16th March from 7:30pm.

Club of the Year 2016


The Club, Hanslope

Presentation: Sat 26th March from 2:00pm.

Congratulations to our three winners! We'll be making arrangements for the presentation of certificates shortly, so expect a few branch socials to be arranged to these quality local pubs and clubs.

Last Updated on Saturday, 09 July 2016 18:04
 
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