MK Biergarten is on the road
June 22, 2018
When MK Biergarten opened its doors in Wolverton two years ago, it filled a hole in Milton Keynes - somewhere quiet and relaxed where you could have a few beers and take some home with you if you fancied.
Since then the Biergarten has gone from strength to strength, with the proprietor, Franzi Florack, opening Stony Beer Bear in Stony Stratford the following year. From there, the decision was made to make MK Biergarten's offering mobile, operating out of a gazebo at events around Beds, Bucks and Oxon. This soon proved to be hard on equipment and staff and the idea of mobile beer van was born.
A Crowdfunder campaign was launched and more than £5,000 raised which enabled the Biergarten to purchase a second-hand, 'pre-loved', transit van, which has been set up to provide beer on tap. After several months of preparation, the van was ready and attended its first event last weekend, Waddesdon Feast.
Speaking to Nibbles and Bites, Franzi said this first event was also proving to be a learning experience.
She said: "We had to find the right vehicle, have the taps installed and obviously we had to learn how to work with it because it is slightly different from the set up we have at the Biergarten."
The van has four taps on the outside which link up to kegs stored inside the van. Two of the taps have been sponsored by Hornes Brewery, and Twisted Barrel.
One of the taps will always be a German beer while the fourth will be kept for more unusual beers such as sour beers. The taps are linked to a proper cellar system in the van and the taps are removed and a board placed over the holes when the van is travelling or not in use.
MK Biergarten also operates a deposit and return system for its branded plastic glasses. Customers pay an extra pound for the glass and then get the pound back when they return it, or they can keep the glass. This reduces wastage, particularly at events such as festivals. The returned glasses are thoroughly washed in time for the next event.
Despite the condition of the country's roads, the beers don't suffer too badly in transit although Franzi said: "The first one is usually a bit lively!"
She added in the previous set up with a gazebo and car, they often had to make several trips to gather everything they needed for an event, but now: "Having a van in itself is really good because it means we can put everything in and go."
As keeping things as local as possible is important to the Biergarten, they've used the services of local businesses. For example, the wooden MK Biergarten sign which is placed on top of the van for events was made by Outhouse, which makes home interior products from reclaimed wood, copper and paper.
A wooden bar has also been created that can be taken apart and stacked neatly in the van. And there are plans to purchase more accessories to make the beer van stand out at events.
Franzi said: "It is also about supporting our local brewers, serving good quality beer and wine, not just about selling expensive pints. It is also about integrity."
The van is available for private events such as weddings and parties. The set-up in the van has the capacity to serve 200 pints of beer and 60 glasses of wine.
Anyone interested in hiring them should visit http://www.mkbiergarten.co.uk/