In memory of THL Wolfgang Starcke − a brewer, a teacher, a barkeep − the Æthelmearc Guild of Brewers, Vintners, and Meadhers is hoping to assemble a SCAdian brewing book.
Of you we ask: please share with us your recipes. Help us remember Wolfgang as we hope he would appreciate.
The general idea is to collect recipes and anecdotes (preferably anecdotes to go with the recipes) from all the brewers and others that Wolfgang and his brews have influenced over the years. We’re hoping for a mix from the lowliest Pennsic utility brew to the loftiest of documented Ice Dragon entries.
Show us your recipes, show us your memories, show us your photos, sketches, and illustrations. Share what you know he liked−or not−or what you think he might appreciate. Help make Wolfgang an even more lasting presence in our community, and an inspiration for those who come after – now, as well as in life.
The Kingdom of Æthelmearc Brewers Guild has dedicated a page (also found via the Events & Activities tab) to this endeavor.
You can use the link at the bottom of the page to enter your submission, including contact information, your story or anecdote, historical inspiration, if applicable, and modern recipe.
For your inspiration, and to take a sneak peek at previous submissions, we chose to offer you the option of viewing previous submissions. How the final brew book will look like depends on the type and volume of submissions: so let’s all pull together and aim for something BIG!
Yours in Service,
Elska, Maggie Rue, and Madoc Arundel.
Countess Anna Leigh has conspired to create yet another fun activity at War Practice coming up this spring: the Great Beverage Showcase & Social. What does this entail, you may ask? Very simply, it is part competition, part social event, part inter-guild round table. The Showcase & Social brings together three of Æthelmearc’s guilds to present beverages of all types in a competition involving three different tiers of judging. Entrants will be able to choose the tier in which they compete: the Master level, which will be conducted in much the same manner and to the same standards as a Kingdom A&S; the Artisan level, which will be judged formally, but for which the documentation requirements are not nearly so stringent; the Aspirant level, which will be judged by the populace attending the social event. While the more formal judging is taking place, the populace at large will be enjoying a variety of beverages made available by those who revel in watching other people “enjoy drinking their stuff.”
The Grand Beverage Competition portion of the activity includes three guilds, each responsible for judging within their area of responsibility. The Æthelmearc Guild of Brewers, Vintners, and Meadhers will judge alcoholic beverages created through fermentation.
There will be prize winners in all three tracks, as well as at both levels of competition: Master and Artisan. The Social portion of the activity allows any beverage maker to showcase their wares without having to worry about documentation or critique, although Aspirants will be able to seek more formal evaluation of their beverages if they choose. Prizes will also be awarded for how the populace and a few VIPs judge the Aspirant beverages.
Her Excellency called on the heads of the various guilds to assist in bringing her vision to fruition. I had an opportunity to speak with these folks and get some perspective on this rather unusual concept for a competition.
Interviewer (I): This is a slightly different take on competitions. How and why did you conceive of this event?
Anna Leigh (AL): Opportunities for beverage makers to participate in many A&S activities have been shrinking due to the rise in the number of dry sites. This is an opportunity to bring the populace of the kingdom together for a good time as well as to celebrate those who willingly provide our libations.
Madoc Arundel (MA) (Brewers Guild): Anna Leigh contacted me about a multi-tier brewing competition. We brainstormed a bit before realizing that this was an excellent opportunity to bring multiple guilds together.
I: What advantages do you see from a competition structured in this manner?
AL: It’s an open and inviting construct. We invite everyone of any skill level, experience, or desire to participate without the pressure of the more formal constructs.
Maggie Rue (MR) (Herbal & Apoth): Allowing people to join in for a populace vote without worry of being judged will provide a “safe” haven for those that feel daunted by rubrics and highly authentic competitions. It also allows people to decide whether or not they wish to be judged on a heavier scale, in turn, allowing those who want to be recognized for their accomplishments to push themselves even harder.
Arianna Dal Vallone (ADV) (Cooks & Bakers): Having a populace category without documentation will encourage more beginners to try. I know as a young SCAdian, documentation was the most intimidating thing for me, and it took me almost three years to work up the courage to enter an A&S competition because of this.
I: How does this event promote your specific guild?
ADV: It will allow cooking enthusiasts a chance to look at a side of the art they tend to ignore or lump in with brewers’ arts.
MR: The herbalists and apothecaries would have been the top places in period for obtaining tonics, medicines, and alchemical potions of a myriad of types; a contest such as this will help the H&A Guild introduce themselves to the rest of the kingdom.
Elska a’ Fjarfelli (EF) (Brewers Guild): The more that people know about what the guilds can do for them, the more people are likely to join in our fun.
I: From your perspective, how will this event promote interactivity between the guilds?
MR: I think an event such as this will allow the guilds to see how much they have in common and how much they should be working together to create a better Society.
ADV: It will begin a dialogue between brewers, cooks, and apothecaries.
MA: Where beverages sit in the A&S spectrum has been a topic of discussion for decades. By involving all three guilds in this endeavor, we show a united understanding of how to promote the research and creation of any beverage, regardless of which guild takes responsibility for it.
I: What do you hope will be the long-term benefits?
AL: By creating a fun opportunity to mingle and meet people, structured around an open and welcoming competition, we’ll generate excitement for the various beverage crafts and help the community grow.
EF: As long as it is integrated with the guilds, feeding into and promoting their structure, I hope to see a renewed interest in historic beverage-making.
ADV: A better communication between the guilds in Æthelmearc, which can only make us stronger. More attention to beverages in our arts and sciences.
MR: I am hoping that this will lead to more inter-guild competitions as well as inter-kingdom competitions, and that the guilds may end up working together to autocrat various events such as academies and collegiums, even going so far as to help work each other’s events to ensure that the Society as a whole benefits.
MA: My biggest hope is that people who are making quality beverages will become comfortable enough with the concept of competition, formal or informal, to be able to be recognized for their contributions.
Countess Anna Leigh’s Great Beverage Showcase & Social will take place Friday evening at War Practice (2018).
Recently, the Æthelmearc Guild of Brewers, Vintners, and Meadhers (affectionately known simply as the Brewers Guild) implemented a program designed to promote greater participation among its members as well as to entice new people to join the ranks: Points for Participation.
“We have been struggling for a couple of years to increase participation in guild activities,” said THL Madoc Arundel, the current head of the guild. “There are a lot of really decent brewers in this kingdom, and guild activities provide an opportunity for them to showcase their product.”
The goal of the new program is not just to get more brewers involved in A&S competitions, but to promote participation in many of the other opportunities available, such as roundtable discussions, teaching and attending classes, and largess.
“We looked at the archery and thrown weapon communities for inspiration. The ranking programs they have encourage people to shoot or throw as often as possible while rewarding improvement in their skills,” said Madoc. “The programs did not translate directly to the brewing community, but we were able to adapt the basic concept to a construct that works for us.”
Harvest Raid roundtable, 2017.
The new program works on an individual rolling 12-month cycle, meaning that brewers can jump in at any time without missing out on opportunities. Points are awarded for attending or hosting roundtables; organizing, judging, entering, and winning competitions; publishing research or informative articles; contributing to social activities or largess; and teaching or attending classes with a brewing theme. The scale rewards both the breadth and depth of participation. As points are tallied, and thresholds are met, guild members receive a token of recognition of their advancement from Novice to Grandmaster.
Leading into the implementation of this new program, the guild has been promoting greater visibility of its members throughout the Kingdom. Beginning with the regional representatives reaching out within their regions to provide more organized opportunities. Currently, the goal is a minimum of one roundtable and one regional competition within each region every year. Regional representatives are also reaching out to event stewards and local A&S officers to ensure brewing considerations are taken into account whenever an A&S activity is planned for an event. Regional representatives and their contact information can be found at http://brewers.aethelmearc.org/org.html.
Since the implementation of the program in late September, roundtables appeared in Regions 2 and 4 with a focus on the historical ingredients in the various beverages brought by the participants. “I think a big part of AE brewers … is that they also don’t focus on the historic part of the drink. Isn’t that what we’re trying to change?” quipped THL Elska á Fjárfellí, the Region 5 guild representative. Elska is the point person on revamping and restructuring the guild’s competition program to make it easier for local groups to conduct a brewing competition either as a standalone activity or as part of a larger A&S activity. Additionally, the Fall Æcademy included three classes focused on alcoholic beverages: “What the Irish Drank” by Baron Charles O’Connor; “Judging an SCA Brewing Competition” by THL Madoc; and “Brewing a Basic Beer” by Lord Ulf the Barelegged. Classes are being developed or encouraged in future Æcademy and schola events, as well as War Practice.
Since the inception of the new program, sixteen people have qualified for the initial activity level of reward and two people have qualified for advanced levels. Any brewer, judge, teacher, student, activity coordinator, or A&S officer can report brewing activity for themselves or their constituency by sending an email to BVMGuild.Points@hotmail.com with the type of activity, the date/event, and the names of the people participating. “We are planning to announce the first group of achievers at BMDL Twelfth Night,” stated Madoc.
At the Æthelmearc Fall Æcademy, the Brewer’s Guild was invited to host a Brewer’s Round Table as it was blessed with a wet site. Initially scheduled in the main class room, we quickly packed up and invaded the quiet, out-of-the-way Troll table as it was a wee bit noisy (had nothing to do with us…).
With about a dozen brewers ranging from novice to Laurel and from all parts of our kingdom, we proceeded to have an informative and tasty round table on the topic of Fall fruit, in any shape or form.
Many had brought tasty samples of fruit-flavored beverages. Madoc Arundel graced us with a Belgian Tripel, and he later confessed he thoroughly enjoyed the citrus melomel brought by novice brewer Cristina Inghean Ghriogair, who supplied us with several choices, ranging from blackberry wine made with baking yeast (from a traditional family heirloom recipe) and dandelion wine to plum wine, apple citrus, and a raspberry cordial sampled together with dark chocolate. Her favorite was the mixed fruit rum someone had contributed. Leioolfr Grimr shared a blueberry cordial sweetened with beet sugar, or cherry, he did not quite remember…
My contribution was an example of how using fruit can throw a learning curve. I brought two bottles of red currant mead, based on a red raspberry mead recipe. Substituting one-to-one currants for raspberries made for a rather tart mead, which I personally did not quite like. Back sweetening with a little honey made all the difference, I thought. It was interesting to find that some people liked the tart original, some preferred the sweetened, and most wondered if downscaling the currants to lower the tartness might also lessen the currant flavor, which nobody wanted to mess with… so, surprising to me, the consensus was to not mess with the recipe , and make those dry wine lovers happy!
We traded some secrets, such as where to get grape juice in bulk (many local vineyards growing their own grapes sell plain grape juice, ready to ferment), shared some tips (freezing whole fruit helps free up the fruity goodness, and using a masticating juicer is not ideal as it is difficult to ferment apple sauce), and, as always, we had a great time.
Thank you Æthelmearc Æcademy for inviting us, and thank you all for coming!