As mentioned already, GBG2019 sees Milton Keynes emerge as an unexpected winner.

As many re-entries as total newbies, all making Si wish he was doing Bucks all over again.  Mind, FOUR of those symbols are microbreweries, not pubs.

Milton Keynes suddenly as GBG friendly as Halifax

If only MK CAMRA had given me a sneak preview of the GBG19 entries I’d have visited the newbies when I was sent there, TWICE, in early September.

Still, the next entry, the Talbot in Loughton is, pleasingly, open from 11.30am (10am at the weekend).

Loughton is the bit you get to if you do a chicken run across the road that separates the station and the Central MK hell from the villages.


Look !  Moats, Manors and medieval fish ponds.

I didn’t see any of those, just an Ember Inn. You have to walk past a Harvester to get there.

Signpost points to IKEA and BrewDog
FREE DRINK ! Afraid not

So. We have Milton Keynes. We have Ember Inns.  We have too many beers.  We have first pint of the day. And we have non-stop Aretha.


But we also have the happiest barman* in the Kingdom (of Britain, not Milton Keynes).

Genuinely, not per the Greene King happy bar staff manual.

I asked for a recommendation.  I got one.  I hoped “Bunny Hop” wasn’t a Spring beer they hadn’t finished selling yet.

All your craft favourites

Cheap at half the price mate !”  (it was £3.70 a pint, this ain’t Spoons).

The Talbot is a beautiful pub, gastro or not, almost Brunning & Price without the bile beans.

Needs carpet lessons from Spoons
Fireplace for burning Si’s Project Calypso papers

Carling please mate

It even livened up a bit as a Man U fan with ’70s replica shirt came in on the dot of noon.  Half an hour drinking time lost mate !.

Obviously I sat outside in the sun where the Purity warmed up and at its peak rated NBSS 3.5. A vote for Purity and Ember in the same post !  #EndOfTimes


Pub life in Bucks rarely felt better. An old lady rambler on her way to Stony Stratford even smiled at me.

Is there something in the water in Milton Keynes ?  I thought it was Birmingham that added fluoride.


*You may not believe it, but 83% of pubs give me a decent welcome these days.  The odd one, like an empty village GBG pub near Bracknell yesterday, seems able to complete a transaction without a please, a thank you or a smile though.




    1. Not sure about cheap, but I find it the least attractive option in the Midlands gastropubs it pops up in continually. Can’t believe it’s anyone’s beer of choice. Quite like the strong one in their posh central Brum craft bar to be fair.


  1. “Needs carpet lessons from Spoons” – no, a plain carpet best shows up vomit, rodents and anything else that shouldn’t be there.

    Milton Keynes is an anagram of Silent Monkey.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It’s a drastic rebranding, but there’s been loads of those. I guess Marston’s bought Charles Wells and so the Wells brand is redundant as far as they’re concerned. I don’t like it, but that’s probably more because the beer will probably be a shadow of the foamy ale it was as a high volume brand in the ’90s. Have you tasted it ?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The Bombardier I’ve had in the US as always been okay, but a touch too sweet for my tastes. Their old branding was unapologetically British to the point of being almost comical, but I had affection for it. The new look is classy, I suppose, but I’m not sure what feeling it’s supposed to project. Looks a bit like an old German beer label to me.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Rather than “the Wells brand is redundant” it’s probably more now to do with “Wells” the Wells company owning pubs and opening a smaller brewery – and dropping “Wells” from “Bombardier”, like “Thwaites” from “Lancaster Bomber”, is less likely to mislead anyone although it is still brewed in Bedford.
        “Comically and unapologetically British is spot on” is probably the “English, Ever Reliable and Damned Tasty – Bang On” of a few years ago.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Had Purity UBU a couple of times recently in Wetherspoons. Always think of it as a decent traditional, i.e. copper-coloured, slightly biscuity, bitter. Even Cooking Lager tried it and liked it.


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