I really like the Ferguson Valley. It’s situated about half an hour from Bunbury and whilst many may not know about it, they have probably driven past the turn off dozens of times. I’ve found the most efficient way I can describe the Ferguson Valley is to say it’s a mini Margaret River … but with more hills.
The Ferguson Valley is full of wineries, breweries and lots of natural beauty, she might not be as big and shiny as her Margaret River cousin but she’s just as beautiful and well worth checking out. I have particularly fond memories of the Ferguson Valley as it was one of the first places we explored when we moved here.
Moody Cow Brewery operates under the loving care of Grant and Karen McClintock and is just one of two breweries operating in the Ferguson Valley. Grant brews the beers and they have won him a few awards including a Silver Medal at the 2011 Perth Royal Beer Show for his Gruntas Original Ale.
My partner and I visited on a Sunday afternoon and, like when the music stops on a game of musical chairs, it was hard to find a vacant spot. We managed to snag a table outside and looked on as kids and adults kicked the footy around whilst others relaxed on the grass with their picnic rug.
When I first met Grant last year we talked a lot about the venue itself, not just the beers, and he was extremely proud to be running a family friendly place. It’s not just family friendly because they serve kids meals and have highchairs but it’s the cricket set, the footballs, the playground and the vast green lawn all within eye line from any of the outdoor seating. There was some live acoustic guitar and, at one point a sing-a-long to ‘My Girl’ followed by singing Happy Birthday to a punter, it all comes together to create an atmosphere where everyone is welcome.
It was evident the kitchen was working hard to feed a venue full of hungry people as plate after plate of food went past our table as we pondered the menu. The steak sandwich looked like a favourite purely based on the sheer number being served. Sadly by the time we ordered they were sold out of steak sandwiches and a few other items, proving the early bird catches the steak sandwich or something to that effect. So we went for the tasting plate for two since it was basically a list of all the food we love – bread, chorizo, cheese, olives, pate, squid, dips …
Thankfully Moody Cow weren’t sold out of any of their beers and it was nice to see another familiar face behind the bar in Tim, former Mash Bunbury manager. We started on the lighter scale with a pint of Kolsch and the Black Dog Pilsener. The Kolsch had lovely floral and citrus characteristics and I seemed to detect a little nuttiness too, all with a soft clean bitter finish. The Black Dog Pilsener, probably my favourite from the line up, with malty sweet aromas and medium bitterness. We followed this up by jumping to the dark side with the Grunta’s Original Ale and Fergus Dark Ale with the latter standing out in my mind with an unexpected creamy texture.
Ah, just another wonderful afternoon in the Ferguson Valley!