By Lady Cairdha Eilis O’Coileain

In an amazing and beautiful day, the populace made their way to the castle of Their Majesties, King Byron and Queen Ariella.  Throughout the day, fighters and combat archers clashed in combat while much of the populace looked on in amusement. All enjoyed the fine weather and delicious foods. But, little noticed to some, in a comfortable corner of the great hall gathered several the Kingdom’s brewers. Excited to taste and discuss their work under a condition very few had ever experienced, the brewers sat around a table where no other arts were present to distract from the focus of their craft.

Brewing contest Hilda

Brewing competition entrants and judges. Lady Ciardha Eilis is in the center. Photo by Baroness Hilderun Hugelmann.

For the first time that I can recall, brewing was the only art in competition at an event. Numerous entries were presented, including beers, wines, meads, and cordials. As Their Majesties joined the round table, they were given considerable information on the ways of judging the brewing arts, the qualities to look for in the variety of beverages, and the differences in the many styles. They responded with much interest and many questions. After a very informative and delightful conversation, His Majesty commented how wonderful it was to be able to focus Their attention on just one thing and not be forced to move quickly on to the next thing.  It made my heart soar to see such interest in an art that I so love, but even more so to be able to spend time with Their Majesties focused on my art, a gift bigger than any other I could imagine. Vivants to our most gracious and beneficent Majesties!

The proceedings were led by Master Tofi Kerthjalfadsson, who was extremely helpful to Their Majesties in explaining judging and sampling.  Entries came from THL Madoc Arundel, THL Jorundr hinn Rotinn, Good Gentle John, one other good gentle, and His Excellency Baron Fergus of Hanna from Atlantia.  THL Madoc submitted three entries; a pyment, a Riesling, and a sage ale. All three were delicious and well received. THL Jorundr submitted a Brunello which was quoted as being “a most excellent and well-rounded Italian red wine.” Good Gentle John, not an active member of the Society but one who supports his wife’s love of our game, submitted two delightful beers, a cream ale and a Belgian brown. His generosity was loved not just by those of us at the table, but many of the fighters as well. Another good gentle submitted three cordials, the most outstanding of which was an apple and peach spiced with cinnamon and clove.  Last, but not least, His Excellency of Highland Forde, Baron Fergus, blew us all away with the most amazingly balanced metheglin many of us have ever tasted.

Brewing winners Baron Fergus

Baron Fergus is recognized for his spiced mead. Photo by Arianna.

In court, many of the entries were celebrated and acknowledged for their skillful creation and wonderful tastes, but the overall winner was Baron Fergus and his extraordinary mead. It was a wonderful moment for the brewing community to share and be recognized for the beautiful art that it is.