You’ve got to have a heart of stone (or maybe some terrible spiky childhood encounter) not to love a hedgehog , and you probably didn’t know that Grain lives in the village of Alburgh, possibly the most hedgehog-friendly village in Norfolk.
As you enter the village, the first thing you are greeted with is a sign for the Hedgehog Crossing Area. There’s a picture of a hedgehog on it because (contrary to some tabloid stories that have been circulated) hedgehogs probably can’t read, so they know exactly where to cross safely.
At the other end of the village, just down the road from the brewery is Brocks Barn Hedgehog Rescue. Run by a small and exhausted but committed team, these rescuers spend their days and nights nursing our spined friends back to health. Ill or young hedgehogs need to be kept warm in order to survive, so the provision of electric heat mats is essential, and during the breeding period, when baby hedgehogs are brought in, they need to be syringe-fed every four hours, day and night. Hedgehogs born later in the year have often not gained enough weight before hibernation time to survive, and so the fosterers care for some of those hedgehogs which have made a recovery but aren’t yet large enough to be released.
It’s hard work!
So to honour and help these spikey little critters, Grain has brewed a hedgehog beer. Prickly Pig is a 4.6% beer, full of the flavours of autumn. Using smoked malt and spicy rye (no hedgehogs), added with rich roasted malts, this creation is a copper coloured warming beer with a hint of autumn berries. We are also asking the pubs who buy the beer to get their creative juices flowing, and have a bit of fun designing a pump clip, which we can share on social media. And for every pint sold we are giving 10p to Brocks Barn, as well as trying to raise awareness for how we can help hedgehogs.
It is sad news but hedgehogs are in decline, with only around 3% of the population left compared to the 1950s. Traffic, modern farming methods, loss of habitats, smaller and tidier gardens with solid fences preventing our hedgehogs from moving from garden to garden, and a rise in the badger population have all had an impact, so we want to do all we can to counter this and keep them from extinction. Grain already sponsors a number of hedgehog homes, and you can help by buying a pint of Prickly Pig. Or if you want to find out more, then have a look at the Brocks Barn Facebook page and share it with your friends.