Wim van der Spek's Little Valley Brewery is housed in a former turkey shed on New Lane above Cragg Vale. On the Wakefield CAMRA website you may widh to compare with Stonehouse Brewery near Oswestry, housed in a former chicken shed, affording plenty of space but limited headroom.
The host for our visit was Alex Travis who had been with the brewery for just three months and describes himself modestly as "general dogsbody". Previously Alex was at the Fox & Goose pub in Hebden Bridge.
The heart of all Little Valley brews is organic malt supplied by Warminster Maltings.
Pelleted hops are better suited to Little Valley's production methods.
As you would expect, all ingredients are organic including the priming sugar for the bottle-conditioned beers and this ginger for their new ginger beer, which we were among the first to sample.
Alex begins his account of the brewing process at the mash tun.
The kettle is heated by electricity - note an immersion heater bottom left of the copper's cladding.
These fermenters are actually quite light and can easily be tilted forward for cleaning.
This shot along the central corridor of the brewery shows how much space they have; all equipment at this isolated location can be kept safely inside.
Re-used cellar tanks are now conditioning tanks in the cool room where beer is stored before casking or bottling. Remember Samuel Webster of Halifax?
What better use for a Heineken lager tank?
When you buy ale in a box for your party, this is what's inside!
What better use for a MkI plastic cask than a bar stool in the hospitality suite? The first plastic casks obtained by Britain's small brewers left much to be desired when it came to durability. More recent ones claim to be reinforced in the critical areas.
In the bottling room, left is a holding tank for beer primed with organic sugar for the secondary fermentation in bottle, and centre what looks like a big paraflo on wheels, but actually has big plastic filter plates.
This seems a relatively small and basic bottling "machine" for a brewery, half of whose production is bottled!
A recent innovation at Little Valley is the use of colour coded crown corks for the different beers.
This labelling machine looks a bit more state of the art.
Little Valley also supplies its bottle-conditioned beers to the Suma Wholefoods Co-operative, Britain's largest, labelled with their brand names.
The labels are to be affixed to bottle-conditioned beers marketed by Suma Wholefoods as Elphin Brook Bitter, Long Wall Mouse Blonde Beer, Mytholm Mist Wheat Beer and Penumbra Stout.
Wakefield CAMRA members, Derek & Maureen Waller and Pat Wallis enjoy their samples of Little Valley beers. Again note the good use of plastic casks.
For quality control a sample is kept from each batch of bottle-conditioned beer.
even the handwash..........
Wakefield CAMRA Chairman Mark Goodair presents a commemorative certificate to Alex Travis, who receives it on behalf of the brewery.
Alex is the son of Paul Travis, well known to beer festivalgoers for his Beer Inn Print stall.
Yes, you are right about those clouds.
In the far distance is Stoodley Pike.