"Come To Milton Keynes", sang The Style Council back in 1985. There aren't many reasons why you would. It's hardly worth a trek for anyone. It's a decent enough place to shop, but it's not really worthy of a visit for the beer lover.
I ventured there on Saturday though as the Milton Keynes Beer Festival was on its third day.
I was driven there by my wife, and we did a bit of shopping in the morning. It's a good job we were in the car with decent directions, as the venue seemed to be pretty much in the middle of nowhere, and hideously undersigned as far as directions are concerned. I'd read earlier in the week how tricky it was to find, and that is correct.
I met fellow RateBeerian Hughie there. He works in Milton Keynes luckily, so knows his way around. Otherwise I'm not sure I would have found my way back to the bus station to get home.
The festival featured 57 beers, four ciders and one perry. This is a low number for a festival but was probably just about right given the hard to find location. The number of punters when I was there was much lower than you would expect for a Saturday lunchtime, making a seat easy to find, and being served was a fast process..
The beers were predominantly local with fourteen brewers covered by the locale rules. All the Northamptonshire breweries were there including the brand new Silverstone Brewery. As predicted though their beer had ran out by the time I got there.
I was disappointed with the beer quality; I often am at indoor festivals except where extra effort has been made with the cooling. Sadly there appeared to be no cooling at all here, so the beer was a little on the warm side also.
The best beer I tried on the day was Golcar Dark Mild. I was shocked to realise I've never had a Golcar beer before and this was a decent lightly roasty dark mild to acquaint myself with the brewery. The Dark Star Porter was close behind.
We left the festival after a few hours to take in the delights of MK's Wetherspoons during their festival. More on that next time.