Now it’s officially out, I can applaud those new entries to the new GBG without risk of sanction of the CAMRA Curfew Enforcers (who have now been dispatched to Bristol to enforce Covid crimes like handpump counting).
It’s always best to get Buckingamshire over and done with early on. There’s 73 Guide counties and I recon Bucks is 75th on the list, just after the index.
But Milton Keynes looks quite nice in autumn as the leaves makes you temporarily forget about the relentlessly grim suburbs and chain pubs.
I always whinge about the geographical inconsistencies in the Guide, and this year the suburbs of MK get their own heading, rather than as subheadings under the city. Next year, who knows ?
And who cares, you say, there’s a pandemic on. But THESE THINGS MATTER.
I’d never heard of Stacey Bushes, but oddly enough my in-laws have as Mrs RM’s aunt lived there. Possibly not in the industrial estate housing Blackened Sun, but you never know.
The GBG not officially released, and I already had a philosophical dilemma; can you tick a GBG entry that only does take-out ?
Well, apparently you can if you have a taster, so I did, and took 4 pints of 7% Supercoven to my in-laws the next lunchtime. It lasted till supper.
A few streets down the endless grid system we have the annual MK entry from Ember Inns, who’ve I’ve come to quietly respect. There, said it.
Not because their pubs are things of beauty, or because they have sexier handwash than Craft Union, or because the staff are uniformly lovely,
or even because they’ve started selling Bass.
No, I just admire their consistency of blandness.
That would be enough in Milton Keynes, you might think, but at 12:30 the Nut & Squirrel (aaaagh) is virtually empty.
Frankly, with a 10 minute delay between arrival, log in to NHS App, provide details to the waiter, install the Ember App (it’s order by Ember App only) and get a pint I can see why a lot of gentlefolk without smartphones can’t be bothered.
I’d feigned injury on the way to my high table, just enough time to glance at the pumps and note a Black Sheep house beer that was cool, dry and tasty despite the dreaded jug.
Two Old Boys arrived and asked what beers they had, and the waiter (?) could only remember the Pride so he had that. The Ale fan wanted to approach the bar; his mate almost screamed “You can’t do that !”
I didn’t stop to ask him if the Pride was drinking well, but I doubt he’d have known the difference.
The sooner I get All Buck’ed up the better, but I fear gastropubs await.