The Sow and Piglets Brewery came about from the need to renovate the BBQ area of the Port Campbell Hostel. John Moloney who has always enjoyed a beer or two and knows a bit about agriculture, decided to build a brewery and produce his own beer – a Boys Own Adventure!
With the help of a few industry gurus including the guys from Grain and Grape-notably Simon Haylock and John Preston; our own now-retired Associate Professor John O’Grady – John started off on his adventure.
Research has been thorough and after a trip to the Craft Brewer’s Conference in Philadelphia and a stopover in San Diego to assess how to involve the local community, the dye was set and the gear was ordered! Grain and Grape, Melbourne, the importers of the Braumeister brewing equipment assisted with our set up and layout.
At a Saturday brew at Grain and Grape, John met the Professor who has been an avid brewer since undergraduate days in 1968-yep I realise that most of you were not born-and the Professor is living the post-retirement dream by assisting with the set up and recipes, and using skills learned from academic research and clinical experience. Our initial trial brew day was a great hit with all of those who attended and many cannot recall the day – the Professor had some great tastings!
From the start we decided to try and use local produce where possible and if not local-then certainly Australian! As we progressed the dream, John attended a course in micro brewing at SA TAFE in Adelaide so that he could comprehend what the Professor and Simon were talking about! A great course run by Stephen Nelsen-with two “e’s” if you don’t mind!
Our region was a great hop production region in the 1870’s but the red-legged earth mite put paid to the production. Wild hops are growing in the region and also in the Otway’s. We have one local grower with a nursery of hop rhizomes that will be promoted to interested local growers and we will be using local barley and wheat from the shire in our brews where possible.
Voyager Craft Malt
Overseas companies dominate the malting industry but we are experiencing a resurgence of interest in small-scale malt houses. One such venture is Voyager Craft Malt.
The families are fourth generation cereal growers in the small rural town of Barellan. Situated in the heart of the NSW grain belt, Barellan and its region the Riverina has a rich history of producing some of the finest malting barley in the world. Its mild winters, and hot dry summers provide the ideal growing conditions for malting barley.
Sadly much of the character and identity of the grain produced is neglected, as it’s treated as nothing but a faceless commodity once its trucked out the farm gate. Trying to give their grain some identity and create malts that could inspire brewers to push the boundaries of craft beer, the boys set out to explore the idea of establishing an on farm malt house a little further.
In late 2014 the equipment was purchased to give direct control over all aspects of the product. Today, the boys continue to experiment and innovate with a range of high quality grains and malts, sourcing only the very best barley for malting, producing the best malt for craft beer and helping brewers connect consumers to growers…paddock to pint.
To ensure that not only do we have the best of produce and ingredients we have secured the next link in the process. We have been fortunate to hire Julian Widera-a qualified German brewer who has six years brewing experience in Germany and also in New Zealand. Julian has brewed with the Braumeister equipment so all is set to brew!
The brewery might not be the biggest but it is certainly one of the better small-scale purpose built breweries! Local builder, Matt Schroder and his team have built a little gem. Fortunately Matt has a Bachelor of Ag Sc so he understands bacteria etc and the need to eliminate where possible.