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 Newton Longville, the Crooked Billet will be running its Summer Festival from 7pm on Fri 26th until 7pm on Mon 29th of August. You'll have to work hard to dig through the food information on their website, but there are quick mentions for 'local' cider (five from Harefields, Northamptonshire) and beer too.
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.
You may be surprised that we're going to mention Frosts Garden Centre, Woburn Sands, but you might want to check out their Chilli Festival from Sat 27th to Mon 29th of August. It's five quid to get in, but you get all the garden centre stuff, more chilli related produce and activities than you can handle, plus a bar stocking local beers and ciders. Bucks Star and Hornes have their beer available and Concrete Cow have produced a special cask of chilli infused beer. Cider comes from Woughton Orchard and Virtual Orchard, the latter supplying a chilli and chocolate infused cider from their Coachbuilder range. We doubt you'll find a better selection of local drinks anywhere else. Check them out on Twitter too. Arriva's 300 bus route stops outside too, with a regular service even on the Sunday and Monday. Hot stuff!
Expect some serious fighting in Newport Pagnell on Sun 28th and Mon 29th of August, as it's Civil War Weekend. Around 500 soldiers will be in town to reenact battles between Roundheads and Cavaliers. All that fighting is thirsty work, so the Dolphin will be running a beer tent at the event on Bury Field Common (next to Queen's Avenue, MK16 8EU). There will also be a mini beer festival in the pub over the weekend, featuring beers from Charles Wells and local breweries, plus some ciders too. They asked us to suggest a beer that'd reflect the style available in the 17th century and it turns out it wasn't that different back then from what we drink these days. Beer of the day was reasonably well hopped and fairly low in alcohol, like today's traditional bitters, while Ale was stronger, sweeter and less well hopped, like a strong mild. The civil war saw the introduction of taxation on beer in 1643, so thanks for that.
Meet the brewer from Twisted Barrel (Coventry) at the Biergarten, Wolverton, on Sun 28th of August. It's a 'tap takover', so we assume their tap will have a Twisted Barrel beer on it. Maybe the handpump too. Oh, and some bottles will be available as well.
If you are over in Buckingham on Sun 28th of August, our branch Pub of the Year, the Wheatsheaf at Maids Moreton, is holding it's summer barbecue. In addition to the pub's range of fine well kept beers, Burnished Brass will be playing live in the garden.
The Ship Ashore, Willen, will have a mini beer festival on Bank Holiday Mon 29th of August. In addition to their usual range of six beers on the bar, there will be eight more outside in a marquee. £2.49 a pint too. See facebook for more info.
If you are out and about over the Bank Holiday Weekend, Arriva are running a two-for-one promotion on their day tickets for users of their mobile app. Think of it as a free half pint for both of you.