I tend to frequent Spoons more regularly during their festivals, as, I guess, most of you do too. So it was with a sense of interest that I ventured in The Secklow Hundred, and the eponomously name Wetherspoons, whilst in Milton Keynes on Saturday,
The pleasure was not all mine though, as both these establishments are definitely below par. The Secklow Hundred is a Lloyds No 1 branded pub, but from experience that shouldn't make it inferior to a regular Spoons in terms of beer range or quality. I wish that were the case here though. Just two of the festival ales were on, and the one I tried Hydes Mumbo Jumbo was bland and soulless. Maybe it's meant to be like that but I doubt it.
I ordered a cheese baguette - described as mature cheddar with salad leaves, tomato and onion - and was presented with a baguette with barely a serving spoon full of grated, dry looking, cheese with no additions at all. In fairness it was exchanged with much apology, but the guy who served it me should have noticed it was hideously underfilled.
Onwards then to Wetherspoons, and at least the festival appeared to have been acknowledged. Our thirds, though, of Caledonian Smokey Pete, Highgate Red Rogue and Moorhouses Premier were again substandard.
I was shocked to read in a copy of the Milton Keynes CAMRA newsletter when I got home that this pub is a former branch pub of the year. I really do trust that it was much better once, as if not I do feel sorry for the people living in that area.
These experiences won't stop me drinking in Spoons over the next couple of weeks during the fest, but may make me more reluctant to pop into new ones without doing a bit of research first.