The “Day at the Viking Townhall” at the Barony of St. Swithin’s annual Bog 3-Day event will be appropriately Viking flavored with the first brewing competition since the Plague! And this year, everybody is planning something: there will be archery, rapier, armored combat, thrown weapons, a bardic tavern (complete with an appearance of the ÆthelBar!), the iron scribe, classes – as well as a Baronial investiture. Good thing the event spans three days!

Lady Caterine showing off the brand-new wooden ÆthelBar top, which will be inaugurated at their investiture event.

Lord Jean Philippe dit la Barbe Rousse and Lady Caterine de Troyes will be stepping up as the new Baron and Baroness of the Barony of St. Swithin’s Bog. They are involved in establishing a Bog and Friends Brewing Guild chapter to help encourage folks interested in the arts of brewing. Lady Caterine has brewed mead for the past 15 years and Lord Jean Philippe recently took on the position of Kingdom Brewers Guild Chamberlain, and he sure knows his way around a jockey box. To liven up the event, they asked fellow brewer and friend THLord Cassiano da Castello to run a brewers competition, not only as THLord Cas always shows great ability but also as he recently branched out to other types of brewing – specifically mead.

At first, THLord Cassiano said sure when asked by Lord Jean Philippe and Lady Caterine to run a brewers’ competition at their Baronial investiture to showcase brewers during their time on the Swithin’s Chairs as a help to friends. He did not expect many entries, given the uncertainty of the plague and this being so close to Pennsic. But as he is interested to get more into judging and supporting the brewing community, especially “post” pandemic, he figured he might as well start here!

Currently, I feel like I have somewhat of a handle on it, but I am also aware of my shortcomings and appreciate your help, as well as the help of Elena de la Palma who I will deputize on the day of. My current goals are to have a competition, have scrolls and prizes, and not fall on my face or have little infrastructure to make the thing happen.

If this is to happen again next year, he prefers to advertise at Christmastime so folks can get things in kegs or bottles ahead of time, not right after War Practice. He noted that: “I am also rapidly learning that this may be more service than I would like to do more than once a year (if I’m being completely honest!)”

This year, the brewing competition will focus on tasting over documentation. THLord Cassiano intends to assign judges to slots where they can taste and converse with the entrants, and then whatever entries are available after can be up for grabs for populace tasting! Of course, although their schedule will be hectic on their day of investiture, Lord Jean Philippe dit la Barbe Rousse and Lady Caterine de Troyes have already signed up as judges, as have I (Elska).

Are you interested in judging as well? Please contact THLord Cassiano (Cas Zemba on the Book of Faces) to be added to the list. Are you more interested in tasting? Keep an eye on the schedule, and come join us after judging – I am sure there will be plenty to choose from. And if the judges did not leave much, Lord Jean Philippe also requested that the Kingdom Brewers’ Guild bar have a presence – as the new Guild Chamberlain, he is the one in charge of guild equipment – which of course will include many homebrews to choose from. Bring your tasting cups!

To give THLord Cassiano a helping hand, and the competition a boost, the Kingdom Brewers Guild donated a couple of enticing prizes to be given away at his discretion. And when I mean enticing, I mean I would not mind getting my hands on some of these myself…

Up for grabs are:
– A Sour Cherry Pilsner beer ingredient kit by Brewer’s Best– Three water testing kits (pH, chlorine, peracetic acid) by Insta-Test

– And commercially dried whole leaf hops (Belma 21) from Hops Direct

And of course, THLord Cas would not be Cas if he wouldn’t add half-size bottles from the local distillery…!

Now it is up to you, our ÆthelBrewers, to come armed with brew and entry form, and Battle for the Tastiest Brew.

(From experience, I would guess this to be the one to go home with empty keg or bottles!)

Yours in service,