The Dizzy Pig Story
It all started in 2016 when we were commissioned to covert a Rice horse trailer to a mobile bedroom extension to Ruby, who is a beautiful converted AWD horse box owned by our neighbour Stella. The extension is now affectionately named Myrtle.
It was agreed that some of the proceeds from her conversion could be used to buy our own brewery. Whilst the take-over of Marston's was outside of our budget, as was a micro-brewery for that matter, we could afford a Grainfather all-grain brewing system. This excellent system allows you to mash, sparge, boil and cool in one contained unit, producing upto 5 gallons of any ale you wish to make. For us, another plus to having a small brewery, is that the spent grain can be fed to our pigs and chickens, who love it so much they ignore their usual sow nuts and corn.
Our first brew was an American IPA. The mash and subsequent wort used Maris Otter grain, and was hopped using Citra hops at each stage of the hopping process. Since this first brew we have made a range of beers including, a magnificent clone of Spitfire Ale, more IPA and a Golden Ale and the list grows. We are happy to share the details of our beers and if you go to our Beer page you can get loads of detail on each brew.
Although brewing beer only started in 2016 and the concept of Dizzy Pig only came into existence in 2017, cider making at Pool Cottage has been a long standing tradition. We planted a small orchard back in 1996 when we first moved in and haven't looked back. We tend to brew between 15-25 gallons every harvest and this has usually kept us topped up with applely goodness for 12 months. However, with the Dizzy Pig pub in full swing, we may have to scale up a little. For more information on our cider making exploits and our annual cider making course, please see our Cider page.
With the Grainfather purchased, we needed a place to brew, some would call it a brewery....... We called her Nelly!
Now Nelly was the Pool Cottage project for 2016, build in tandem with Myrtle, Nelly is a multi-function prep room, designed to be adaptable for tasks ranging from butchering our own pigs through to production of our own charcuterie. She has also been used to run short day courses on Smoking & Curing and is now, much to Ruth's chagrin, the Dizzy Pig Brewery. Nelly's story is told by clicking on Nelly or any of the photos below:
As we brewed and drank more ale, the idea of our own pub started to form. We had already hosted a number of "evenings", the most popular and informal were our clay oven evenings. We would fire up the clay oven to around 400C, put out a pile of dough and toppings, then guests would create their own pizza to be baked in the oven in a little over 90 seconds. ale, cider and wine would flow and the occasional dram would be consumed into the small hours, such fun. We also held a number of more formal ... ish "Festivals" and you can read all about these on our Events page. Despite the slightly more formal setting, these festivals still ended up with much consumption of alcoholic beverages well into the next day.
Our problem was all this took place in an old double garage, which was quaint, but was still a leaky old garage in the cold hard light of day. Many hours were spent daydreaming about how we could design and build our own entertainment space, but finding the time, skills and money to achieve this dream were all in short supply. Completing both Nelly and Myrtle freed up the time and gave us a range of new skills. We just needed the money and the motivation to make the first step.
So why the Dizzy Pig? Well, at the entrance to Pool Cottage we have a weather vane in the shape of a pig. and on a windy day he goes whizzing around and ends up looking very dizzy indeed. Hence we had to call the brewery and our pub, the Dizzy Pig, as simple as that!
Having agreed a name, we then thought that a new web site would be fun and we needed a logo. The latter was designed and produced by our dear friend and regular event visitor; Mike, who excelled with his design. The web site is our own creation and although it might never feature in website monthly (if there is such a publication), we like it.
We had completed the external re-build by early May 2017 and then set about carrying out a complete makeover of the interior space. We were able to semi complete the interior work sufficiently to hold a pub warming over the late May Bank holiday, as this was our 21st anniversary at Pool Cottage. On draught, we had Spitfire and Heffalump Ale, as well as Tydeman's Late Orange Cider. Friends and family gathered and the atmosphere was awesome, The Dizzy pig was a true success and a proper pub.
Following this success, the interior work was completed, including a permanent bar area, carpet and more seating. The Dizzy Pig has opened its doors many times since, with friends dropping in for a pint and a gossip as well as more organised pizza evenings and new beer tastings.
That is the brief story behind Dizzy Pig, if you would like to know more of the details of how our garage was converted to The Dizzy Pig please visit the Pool Cottage Smallholding blog where you can read a range of posts.