Well over an hour late after struggling through floods between Craven Arms and Ludlow, and then a blocked bridge on entry to the town, a party from Wakefield CAMRA arrived at the Ludlow Brewing Company. An invitation to visit had been issued by brewer Gary Walters when he was phoned for tasting notes for Ludlow Gold, a brand new beer recommended as a "must have" by Roger Greenfield of Halesowen's Traditional English Ales - he was furnishing the beers for the West Midlands Bar at the 2006 Merrie City Beer Festival.
Gary relates how he, a joiner by trade, converted the former maltings and, latterly a spare parts store for restored commercial vehicles, into a brewehouse. The rim of the copper seems to be his favourite perch
Notice the roof timbers: although nearly all the rafters in this photo have been replaced, the purlins are original and at this end of the building the roof is supported by an old English cruck.
Original timbers above the fermenting room, plus a wheel for some kind of hoist, of which the precise use is uncertain - perhaps for animal carcasses.
We thought this triangular hopper for the grist was unusual.
The mash tun is standard Porter Brewing kit.
Note where the copper vents through the wall, and a small but very effective heat exchanger from which cooling water that has drawn heat from the boiled wort can be pumped up into the hot liquor tank, behind.
Behind the brewery yard can be seen another former malt house - Ludlow was formerly the malting centre for the county. Today Gary uses Muntons and Warminster malt.
two 5½ barrel fermenters
Ludlow Gold in the fermenter: it comes out at 4.2%.
Gary finds that his two original fermenters can't keep pace with the demand for his beers, so he's acquired this monster, which proved too difficult to photograph in the confined space of the fermenting room.
Boiling Well in the fermenter - notice how close to the rim of the vessel its head has risen. It ferments out at 4.7% using a strain of yeast from the nearby Hobsons Brewery.
Space beneath the former malting floor, mostly below ground level with a relatively constant low temperature provides ideal storage for beers awaiting delivery.
Wakefield CAMRA Chairman, Mark Goodair presents a commemorative certificate to brewer Gary Walters, who still can't get over our making it through the floods to Ludlow.
The Nelson Inn is at Rocks Green, just outside Ludlow on the Bridgnorth road. Good Beer Guide 2007 listed, it's renowned for its selection of real ales was one of the first pubs to take Ludlow beers. Equally renowned are landlady Diana Powell's hand cut real chips which she kindly rustled up for a starving busload of Wakefield CAMRA members, who'd found themselves too late for lunchtime food in the town. Note also the storm clouds overhead!