At first, it was touch and go as to whether there would be a venue, but the 23rd Concrete Pint Beer & Cider Festival proved to be one of most successful so far.
It was busy, busy, busy in the former Buszy bus station, and even the traditionally quiet Wednesday got the festival off to a cracking start.
By Friday it was pleasantly elbow-to-elbow in all three rooms. Over the four days far more MK beer and cider-tasters enjoyed our offerings than last year.
More than 100 beers and ciders were a joy to behold, as well as to drink (half the casks drained to the dregs, so over 5,000 pints enjoyed!).
New themes and ideas helped bring in a mixed crowd of ages, genders, types and waistline girths.
As always, local-ish beers and ciders were well featured, but this year’s special theme of Heriot Watt Heritage saw a variety of beers brewed by alumni of that university, with some particularly fine ones from Scotland.
The “keykeg wall” attracted a lot of attention, especially from those in need of a shade-cooler pint than is traditional, and the selection of ciders and perries was as popular as ever.
The new glasses with half- and third-pint lines encouraged a taste-bud-gratifying grazing opportunity, and more than half of them were sold as souvenirs, so thanks to local MK brewery Hornes for sponsoring them
Thursday and Saturday evenings offered some fine music for those who like their elbows to bend rhythmically: The mellow-yet-lively harmony trio – TC3 – was perfect for the relaxed Thursday evening, while 2120s provided a jumping blues-based set on Saturday. Thanks to MK Biergarten for sponsoring the sounds.
A big thank you to our record number of sponsors who were especially helpful this year. Their generosity - both with cash and in kind - gave us double last year’s amount.
“I'm extremely pleased with how it all went, and very thankful for all of our selfless volunteers’ work throughout the week, since without them it would have been a failure. We are hopeful that MKDP will help us to return to the Buszy next year to celebrate MK's Golden Jubilee, ” said Will Longmate, 2016 festival chief.
There is still doubt over the future of the old bus station venue, but the team will be working furiously with MKDP to help celebrate Milton Keynes’ Golden Jubilee or to seek alternatives. Any ideas? Email here or visit here