girl + cow

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.

Ferguson Valley

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.

Moody Cow - March 2013

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 …

Moody Cow Tasting Plate

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!

Finished Lunch

Roaming – Ferguson Valley

Taking full advantage of living down south and exploring the beautiful Ferguson Valley – oh and finding a new brewery along the way along with rather a lot of gnomes

There are oh-so-many towns, wineries, breweries and random things to see in the South West so it’s to be expected there will be much spontaneous day adventures to be had. Yesterday was such a day. The intention was to drive to the Ferguson Valley, find one of the many walking trails and take a 10-12km walk though the trees and the sunshine. We did end up doing this in the end (just knock off about 8km!) but first … we stumbled across a brewery.

Ferguson Valley is another beautiful part of the South West, rolling hills (it might be a cliche but it’s still pretty) covered in various tress and vines and stuff, and it’s a mere 20 minutes from Bunbury. Well worth a trip and it’s a beautiful drive.

Roaming Time: 5 hours

Where We Roamed: Ferguson Valley – Wild Bull Brewery, Willow Bridge Estate Winery, Wellington Forest and Gnomesville

Wild Bull Brewery

A new discovery for us, it was one of those happy accidents. Thank God for green signposts that show us the way!

We arrived to Wild Bull Brewery to find we had to use the overflow parking, evidently many people connect beautiful sunny day with beer, and grabbed ourselves an Amber Ale and a Bitter. The Bitter was crisp with a refreshing bitter bite at the end and the Amber Ale held a great burnt caramel flavour. We found a nicely shaded table outside and plonked ourselves down. They had a bit of live acoustic guitar action being played which was nice, although a strange contrast to the fancy dress birthday party at the nearby large table. It’s not often you see Wonder Woman at a brewery. They had the obligatory (for those breweries in the South West) kids playground but the setting amongst Ferguson Valley is certainly a bit unique.

There is plenty of merchandise to immerse yourself in if you like, growlers and 5lt take home kegs, glassware and hats and bar mats and everything one might need to set up their back room to pretend you are actually at the brewery.

Wild Bull Brewery
Pile Road, Ferguson Valley
Amber Ale & Bitter
Wild Bull Brewery
And Some Other Stuff
Although not strictly beer related, ending up at Wild Bull Brewery guided the remainder of the day so I will prattle further (also, I took some more photos so I need somewhere to put them).

Wine Barrels
Willow Bridge Estate Winery

Willow Bridge Estate Winery was delightful and what you would want from a cellar door visit. Leona, who has been working there for 11 years, loves nothing more than to talk to people. In fact, we barely talked wine whilst we were there. But isn’t that lovely? To talk to a real person who gives a damn rather than someone who learnt some facts about wine from a sheet? We thought so. The Tempranillo was our favourite so we walked away with a bottle of that. We had gotten so caught up in conversation we totally forgot to ask about the many, many wine barrels out the front (full of what appeared to be wine?).

I’ll skip over Wellington Forest as it was mostly just us walking, chatting, kicking gum nuts and me walking through spider webs (and then looking like a crazy person as I tried to wave my arms about to free myself from them).

Jarrah Trail
Wellington Forest

Gnomesville was worth it just because you spend the whole time giggling. There are (as the name suggests) so, so many gnomes. For whatever reason people have started putting gnomes there, there are signs from sporting clubs and families and I even saw a hen’s night and a pretty decent size Welsh flag. The Gnome Detention Centre (i.e. gnomes surrounded by chicken wire) on the other side of a fence was a little odd but then again, the whole thing was delightfully odd.

Gnomes, Gnomes and the more Gnomes
Wellington Mill & Ferguson Road, Ferguson Valley