Moody Cow Brewery to open in Ferguson Valley

28 Jan, 2010 01:00 AM
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Karen and Grant McClintock, and beloved dog Charlie, at their Moody Cow Brewery, opening in March.
Karen and Grant McClintock, and beloved dog Charlie, at their Moody Cow Brewery, opening in March.

THERE'S a moody cow on the horizon, but don't be alarmed - this is one you're going to want to keep an eye on for all the right reasons.

Currently a work in progress, the Moody Cow Brewery will be the second brewery in the Ferguson Valley, and looks set to become a favourite for beer and wine drinkers alike.

Owners Grant and Karen McClintock are working very hard towards a March opening of their labour of love, which has already generated a lot of interest.

It all started with a humble little home brewing kit before Grant graduated to brewing on premises, and eventually to a full mash brew.

Grant purchased a small 100 litre system from the old Brunswick tavern and sought to get more educated on his hobby turned passion.

However trying to work full time and travel to Joondalup for the brewing science degree was a logistical nightmare, and subsequently he only completed one module of the degree.

"So I read a lot of books and experimented, while also doing work experience at other breweries," Grant said.

"I worked at Mash in the Swan Valley, with brewer Dan Turley, went over east and visited micro breweries and then went to New Zealand and worked at Moa.

"We soon decided that we could do it on our own."

With some help from Grant's brother, an engineer in the New Zealand wine industry, he and Karen built their own brew system and shipped over tanks from New Zealand.

"At the same time, we had been looking for many years for the right piece of land," Karen said.

"We'd actually looked at this land but it was sold.

"We ended up having a lot of the equipment before we even had land."

Driving past the Ferguson Valley block one day, Grant noticed that it once again had a 'for sale' sign out the front.

After some inquiry they discovered that the finance of the previous purchaser had fallen through, so the land was indeed available – and soon afterwards Grant and Karen became the proud new owners.

That was not the only twist of fate which signalled the McClintocks were on to a good thing, as the Moody Cow brand was created before they settled in the Ferguson Valley, the proud home of Fergus the wine-drinking bull.

Grant had been given a somewhat grumpy looking cow figurine called Fergie for Father's Day a few years back, and that cow was part of the inspiration behind the Moody Cow empire.

"I'm not sure where we heard the name, but when we did I thought it would be a perfect name for a brewery," Grant said.

"It's all fallen into place."

They began building in August 2007, but Grant continued to work full time on top of trying to get the brewery built until July 2009, when he decided to make it his full time job.

"It's been a lot more work than we anticipated," Grant said.

"But we think by March we'll be sorted.

"We're trying to create a holistic place where people can relax, have a drink and still bring their kids."

"Ideally we'd like to have concerts as we've created a sort of amphitheatre," Karen said.

"We'll add bean bags and tables, we've got so many ideas and we just don't know where it will go."

Even though it still very much resembles a building site, what Grant and Karen have achieved so far is very impressive and it's obvious that they want to do things the right way rather than the quick and easy way.

With a history in the timber milling industry, much of the woodwork in the brewery has been crafted from Grant's own two hands.

From the solid jarrah beams and bar, to the beautifully wood-crafted doors, it's easy to see why Karen raves about her handyman husband.

However, doing everything themselves has also proved to be quite a challenge for the McClintocks, who said they had sacrificed time for cost.

"That's not always the way to go, but it's the way we've done it," Karen said.

"It's been a million dollar plus show getting this together, which is a bit scary; we started with no infrastructure.

"But there's a lot of love in here."

"That forms part of what we do," Grant said.

"You've got to have a feel and atmosphere.

"It may be high maintenance but it looks fantastic."

But getting down to the business end – how's the beer?

Moody Cow will offer five brews on tap, as well as seasonal brews, including a pale ale, dark ale, IPA, wheat beer and pilsner.

The pilsner, called the Black Dog Pilsner after the McClintocks' gorgeous dog Charlie, is predicted to be their biggest seller and after a small sample - all in the name of research - this avid beer drinker would have to agree.

"It's just a really nice, light beer," Grant said.

"The Black Dog is my favourite," Karen said.

"Grant does make a superb beer, although I'm probably more of a wine drinker so we will have wine on sale here too."

Moody Cow brews will also be available for take away, but only through the brewery itself in the initial stages.

For those looking to take home an extra piece of the beer bovine, Grant has also constructed a portable bar which is available for hire.

Cafe, share-style meals will also be on offer and the Moody Cow will be open just on weekends initially, with hopes to also open during the week once the brewery is established.

"It's the chicken and egg scenario," Grant said.

"More people will come to the Ferguson Valley if we are open, it's just a matter of knowing we're here.

"Then the area becomes a viable alternative to Margaret River.

"It will take time, but it will get there."

There's been a lot of interest in the brewery already and despite not even being finished yet, Grant and Karen already have a wedding booked in, as well as corporate events and businesses putting off their Christmas parties until the March opening.

While all the interest is certainly welcome, at the same time Grant and Karen admit that it is rather daunting.

"Hopefully it transpires to bums on seats, and I think if you do it right, it will" Karen said.

"Our fear is that it will be crazy initially and how we'll handle that."

As part of the open design, the brewing equipment itself takes centre stage at the Moody Cow, and Grant said he wants to be able to have a chat to customers while he's working on the latest brew so he can explain how it's done.

"We know the love that's gone into building this, so we want to share it," Karen said.

*For more stories on the Ferguson Valley, see the latest edition of Ripe, available in this week's Farm Weekly

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READER COMMENTS

joyce hatchett
22/05/2010 7:08:04 AM, on Farm Weekly

Fantastic. I have been watching this venture grow and thinking how fantastic to have the Moody Cow right close by and what it is offering. It looks (from passing by) a lovely cosy place to wind down and have a beer or two, although I am not a beer drinker, but I sure would love at the end of my day working in my gallery (Hatchett Gallery) to zip 5 minutes down the road and wind down and relax with my hubby. Onyas guys. Best Wishes Joyce

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