As October starts, traditional German Oktoberfests come to an end. Here in the UK, we're only just getting started and first up is the MK11 live music venue at the Kiln Fram Pub. Their Octoberfest runs from Thu 1st to Sun 4th October and offers 40+ real ales and ciders, plus some of that 'craft' nonsense. Plenty of live music, big screen coverage of all the major sports events and a giant inflatable pub completes the picture. For full details, check out the Facebook event, their website or follow them on Twitter @mk11livemusic. You'll find them on Keller Close in Kiln Farm, MK11 3LH. Arriva bus 6 has a frequent service that'll get you within a short stagger. Did we mention FREE entry?
Over in Buckingham, it's the Woolpack that's picking up the Octoberfest theme with German food and beers available on Fri 2nd and Sat 3rd. They'll also be showing the England vs. Australia rugby match on Saturday evening, but their big screen is in the Cote rather than the main pub. Great news if you don't like egg chasing. Don't forget the branch social will be in Buckingham on Sat 3rd and will include a stop at the Woolpack, currently planned around 3pm.
Our beer festival venue, The Buszy, is hosting MXMK (Made by Milton Keynes) on Sat 3rd October. It's a street food festival, which has nothing to do with eating off the pavement and everything to do with assembling the best of local outdoor food vendors and local produce. Mainly aimed at foodies, we mention it because they will also be selling beer from Concrete Cow brewery. Street food from 10am to 7pm, FREE entry, with all profits to MK Food Bank. There will also be a battle of the bands event on the same day, so plenty to occupy the crowds going to/from Stadium MK for the Japan vs. Samoa rugby game.
If you are looking for a pub beer festival with a twist, the Three Locks in Stoke Hammond is running a Cask Ale Tour of the UK over the entire month. Week one will see them feature beers from the north (e.g. Robinsons, Holts and Lees), week two will cover Scotland and Wales (e.g. Caledonian and Brains), week three sees beers from the west and the final week features London breweries. Keep an eye on their Facebook page for further information. The pub has a pleasant canal-side location, ideal for catching the last rays of autumn sunshine (or torrential drizzle) and can be accessed via Arriva bus 70 (the F70 serves the village).
Cider and Perry month
October is one of two CAMRA Cider and Perry months. Although we are not aware of any specific events happening locally, CAMRA has a list of events taking place throughout the UK. We did hold an event in May, the other Cider and Perry month, when Laurence Conisbee took us on a tour of the orchards near Woughton-on-the-Green. The blossom we saw then has matured into apples, which are now being harvested and pressed, making it a busy time of the year for our two branch producers Virtual Orchard and Woughton Orchard. There are many pubs in our area that stock real cider and perry, including our joint Cider Pubs of the Year, the Bell & Bear, Emberton and the Lamb, Stoke Goldington. Beer and Cider festivals are also a great place try a variety of different ciders and perrys and we are blessed with plenty in and around MK. Talking of which...
North Bedfordshire CAMRA hold the 38th Bedford Beer and Cider Festival at the Corn Exchange from Wed 7th to Sat 10th October. Hurry over to the festival website to check out the excellent (as usual) beer and cider lists, view the full programme and grab a copy of the poster to decorate your home/office/local. The festival is open from 4-11pm on Wednesday and noon-11pm on the other days. You'll find around 140 different beers, including some from the brand new Ampthill Brewhouse and the Bucks Star, Concrete Cow and Hornes breweries from within our branch. Over 50 ciders and perrys will be available (including some from Virtual Orchard), plus a selection of draught and bottled beers from around the world and English wines.
Transport from MK and Buckingham is fairly straight forward, although you may need to leave earlier than you'd like to catch the last services back. Stagecoach's X5 bus offers a regular direct service from Buckingham, Central MK and Coachway through to Bedford. Note that some services wait for a while at Coachway, but they do usually have toilet facilities. Day Return tickets cost £12.80 to/from MK or Buckingham. The last two X5s back depart Bedford bus station at 18:49 and 19:49. Stagecoach also operate service 40 from MK via Newport Pagnell until the early evening, with the last bus leaving at 17:45. Those who like to let the train take the strain can use the regular service on the Marston Vale line connecting Bletchley to Bedford via Fenny Stratford, Bow Brickhill and Woburn Sands. The last return services towards Bletchley depart Bedford at 20:55 and 21:57. Network Southeast railcards are valid on the route on Saturdays, giving a third off the usual £7.00 Bletchley-Bedford Day Return ticket price. See the National Rail website for further timetable information, connections to MK & Wolverton and ticketing options.
The 22nd Concrete Pint: MK Beer & Cider Festival, 2015.
If you fancy a break from the Concrete Pint, but still want to visit a beer festival, jump on the 33 bus to Hanslope and check out the festival at The Club. Their second festival of the year, it'll run from noon on Fri 16th to Sun 18th October. The MK Moove ticket will get you there and back for £5 until just after 7pm Fir/Sat. For more info, try Facebook.
The Regional Pub of the Year award will be presented to the Rising Sun, Berkhamsted, on Fri 23rd of October from 6pm. The 'Riser' is a truly outstanding pub and has beaten off some tough competition to make it through to the national finals. It's easy to access too, with up to three trains per hour from MK Central and Bletchley and two per hour from Wolverton, with return services running late into the night.