Author Archives: Elspeth

State Laws on Alcohol

All of these links were checked and current as of September 18, 2014. We were going to copy the pertinent laws here, but they can be long and there are many clauses that may or may not be of interest to SCAdians – many have to do with the sale of alcohol, which is not part of our activities. Only laws from the states represented in Atlantia are included here.

Special thanks to Baron Drogo Dragonara for researching these.

NORTH CAROLINA:  Note: section 18 and 18a repealed

 SOUTH CAROLINA:  Note repealed chapters.

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Exotic Herbs and Spices

Our medieval recipes call for some interesting ingredients. Galingale? Grains of paradise? Here are some helpful vendors who will a) know what they are and b) probably have them for sale.
Asian markets often have our ingredients. If you don’t live near one, reach out to a fellow SCAdian who does.
Nota bene: investigate your recipe’s ingredient list carefully. Some medieval recipes include poisonous herbs! We don’t know whether they didn’t use them in sufficient quantity to kill anyone or what. Be safe, be sensible, replace those with something similar but not toxic.

Sands of Thyme on Etsy. Very helpful and knowledgeable. Occasionally appears at SCA events.

Mountain Rose Herbs: An Herbs, Health, and Harmony company. Bulk organic herbs, spices, and essential oils.
The Spice House: Merchants of Exquisite Spices, Herbs, and Seasonings
Penzey’s Spices stores in several states. Rather expensive.

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We hold these truths about shopping for honey:

  • It’s heavy and expensive to ship
  • It should only travel in food-safe plastic in case you drop it.
  • The golden goose is getting real honey at $3 a pound, but the only reasonable way to do that these days is to buy in bulk. Honey is 12 lbs per gallon. You can go in with friends to buy a 60 lb. pail – that’s only 5 gallons.

The Bee Folks in Mt. Airy, MD.  If you do not live close by, check with friends in Highland Foorde, Storvik, or Bright Hills to see if they could pick up your order and bring it to you at an event. The Bee Folks also have a booth at Pennsic.

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books from Sir John Soanes MuseumSecondary Sources: Secondary sources are less easily defined than primary sources. Generally, they are accounts written after the fact with the benefit of hindsight. They are interpretations and evaluations of primary sources. Secondary sources are not evidence, but rather commentary on and discussion of evidence. However, what some define as a secondary source, others define as a tertiary source. Context is everything.
from accessed 9/15/2014

Where possible we have linked to free sources: Project Gutenberg, Google Scholar, anywhere we can find a free version that you could read or possibly download.  For a couple we have only found partial  free versions, or free versions only through JSTOR, which is an academic paid-subscription database.  If you are a university student, or work at a university, you probably have access. If you’re not, find someone who is and ask very nicely…

If you don’t have any other book on SCA-period recipes, get this one:
A Sip Through Time: A collection of old brewing recipes.  Cindy Renfrow. 1994, 1997. Published by the author, Sussex, New Jersey, 1994.” ISBN 0-9628598-3-4

Primary sources: Primary sources are original materials. They are from the time period involved and have not been filtered through interpretation or evaluation. Primary sources are original materials on which other research is based. They are usually the first formal appearance of results in physical, print or electronic format. They present original thinking, report a discovery, or share new information.
from accessed 9/15/2014

A couple of the books below were published after 1600.  It is generally accepted that the recipes themselves were collected and date before 1600.

Some places to find great primary sources on brewing: Google Books, Googls Scholar, Gutenberg Project, your local University library – and other medievally-minded brewers!

Some basic period-appropriate books we all reference:
Curye on Inglysch (Middle English recipes) (Early English Text Society Supplementary Series). Hieatt, Constance B., and Sharon Butler.   Early English Text Society. Second Series 8. London: Oxford UP, 1985.  JSTOR allows you to read online for free but charges for downloads.

The Closet of the Eminently Learned Sir Kenelme Digbie Kt. Opened:  Whereby is Discovered Several ways for making of Metheglin, Sider, Cherry-Wie, &c. Together with Excellent Directions for Cookery As also for Preserving, Conserving, Candying, &c.    Digbie, Sir Kenelme (1669).  H. Brome, London.  Reproduced by the Mallinckrodt Chemical Works, 1967. Available through Project Gutenberg, which has .html, Kindle, .ePub, plain text, and other versions.

Delightes for Ladies   Plat, Sir Hugh.  Humfrey Lowens, London, 1602.  London:  Crosby Lockwood & Sons, Ltd., 1948. Available through Gutenberg, text directly from Elizabethan manuscript.

The Domostroi:  Rules for Russian Households In The Time Of Ivan the Terrible.   Pouncy, Carolyn Johnston (1995).    Cornell University Press, New York. Google has it in several editions, so this link is to the search page so you can make your own choice.

The English Housewife   Markham, Gervase,  1615.  Best, Michael R., ed.  McGill-Queen’ s University Press, 1986, 1998, 2003; ISBN10 0773511032,
ISBN13 9780773511033 Linked to Google Books.

The English Husbandman The First Part: Contayning the Knowledge of the true Nature of euery Soyle within this Kingdome: how to Plow it; and the manner of the Plough, and other Instruments   Produced by Louise Pryor, Jonathan Ingram and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at  Multiple versions on Project Gutenberg. Has chapter on managing a hop garden.

The Jewel House of Art and Nature, Containing Divers Rare and Profitable Inventions, Together with Sundry New Experiments in the Art of Husbandry : with Divers Chimical Conclusions Concerning the Art of Distillation, and the Rare Practises and Uses Thereof.   Plat, Sir Hugh. Manuscript available through Google Scholar.

Le Ménagier de Paris, or The Goodwife’s Guide.  Trans. Greco, Gina L. and Rose, Christine M.  Cornell University Press; First Edition  2009.  ISBN-10: 0801474744; ISBN-13: 978-0801474743 . You have to have JSTOR access – usually via a university – you can check with friends who are students or work at one.

Martha Washington’s Booke of Cookery   Hess, Karen, ed.  New York:  Columbia University Press, 1981, 1995; ISBN10 0231049315, ISBN13 9780231049313. This is a partial view only, it doesn’t include all the pages.

Pleyn Delit: Medieval Cookery for Modern Cooks. Hieatt, Constance; Hosington, Brenda; and Butler, Sharon (2004). University of Toronto Press, Toronto, Canada. You have to have a JSTOR account, usually via a university – you can check with friends who students or work at one.

(In a bit of shameless self-promotion, there are longer lists at Sorcha’s own brewing blog. Go to and search on “Books for Brewers”, where there are lists for primary and secondary sources, modern brewing books and books on honey and beekeeping. Or, go directly to (primary) or (secondary)

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Notes from Lord Brynjolf’s First Guildhall meeting

Sept. 13, 2014: Guildmaster Lord Brynjolf Rauðskegg held a Guild Moot at Battle on the Bay in Storvik. Please feel free to share this with anyone you think would be interested, including local branches and households.

Also, keep in mind that no decisions on any subjects are being made until we’ve had a few more meetings. This is just brainstorming…Present were Baron Drogo Dragonara, Mistress Sorcha Crow, Lord Mikhail Novgorodets, Lady Cristofana di Lorenzo, Lady Rúna Hóvmansdóttir, Lord Hrothgar Ioanesson Berglund, Lord Dughall-Eoghann LeGrande, and myself [Lord Brynjolf]. 

– To encourage brewing and a forum for networking.
– Special focus on encouraging and supporting new brewers.
– A need to change the perception that the Guild makes drink just to get drunk; and to counter by raising/reinforcing the Guild’s A&S profile.
– “More advertising, better marketing.”
– A need for more policing.
– Better exposure (articles in Tournaments Illustrated, etc).

– Abandon the competition-driven model?
– Abandon the apprentice/journeyman/master structure (while period, it conflicts with the apprentice/laurel relationship).
– Leverage the existing award structure (Coral Branch/Opal, Pearl, etc.) instead? Make award recommendations as a Guild…
– Use Atlantia’s Silver Spindle’s skills check-list format? Multiple tracks to accommodate individual styles (mead, beer, cordial, etc).
– Internal awards for brewing achievements?

– More focus on enjoyment of the beverage.
– More focus on learning and feedback instead of “winning.”
– Competitions versus Round Tables were discussed.
– Again, better advertising and marketing (especially with advance notification, announcing a competition three weeks before the event does no good).
– Working more with autocrats to better promote competitions.
– Reinforce the policy of not judging any entries that do not include an ingredient list (safety).
– We briefly touched on reviewing/revising the judging rubric.

– Resources page, with bibliography, book reviews, links to suppliers, etc.
– Compile a list of wet event sites.
– Consider adding a list of active participants (members).
– Abandon the Yahoo list and add a Forum to the website?
– Move the listserv to the Seahorse server?
– New brewer resource, including simple medieval beer and mead recipes.

– Discussed site limitations and how to leverage “wet” sites.
– Exploring sites in Stierbach and Spiaggia Levantina were mention specifically.
– More brewing-oriented Universities/University-style events (sites are an issue).
– Discussed ideas for a Guild table at KASF 2015. We’ve done them in the past and they’ve been a success.

Good lord. Did we really discuss all that…?

Anyway, that’s the basics. Again, feel free to share with local branches and households.

Also feel free to post questions/comments/additions/corrections. Seriously. We are soliciting feedback and looking for ideas.

The next meeting is scheduled for War of the Wings, Friday night, 7:00 at the House Barra camp. This will be a fairly short meeting, since the Sapor Secui! open tasting party follows at 8:00.

Lord Brynjolf

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Brewing Classes

Kingdom of AtlantiaBrewing classes: let’s have more of ’em!

Between us all we have a LOT of expertise in both period brewing techniques and history.  Let’s think about where we can share…here are some things to think about when planning a brewing-related class:

Does the site permit alcohol? Many K-12 schools and some churches don’t even allow the mention of it on their grounds. Find out just how strict they are (or not). The autocrat will have signed a contract with them and can tell you. This is a problem we’ve run into at many Atlantia University events, and once even at Kingdom Arts and Sciences, where we were supposed to be selecting the next Royal Brewer via a brewing competition.  (In that case we held the RB competition at another Kingdom-level event.)
We have skirted rules by demonstrating the process of making, say, beer, which isn’t alcoholic yet by the time we’ve got it in a carboy and airlocked.  Whether that’s okay really depends on how strict the site is.

What kind of space do you need? Does it have to be outdoors (if you’re using a big ol’ propane burner) or will a classroom or conference setup (everyone around one table) work?

How many people is the right number to have attend? Fewer if you’re doing a demo, maybe more in a classroom depending on the room’s size and the number of chairs, something in the middle if it’s to be held in a pavilion?

What supplies do you need? Visual aids really help people remember your topic. Definitely bring a “take-away”, usually a handout (include your bibliography for those who want to learn more).  Would you really like to use a laptop and projector (and is there electricity)? Do you need fresh water (how much)?

Is there an age limit for who can attend? If you’re working with actual alcohol, everyone must be over 21. Check on the current laws (your Seneschal should be able to find out) if you might have under-21s present.  If alcohol is present, make sure you see proof of age for everyone attending (driver’s license is fine).

How long should your class be? This may be decided for you with present class times – or it may not, and you have to gauge what the right amount is.

And, of course, what do you want to teach? Can you present your topic as a sort of story-telling, to keep it fun and engaging? Practice presenting it to see about how long you think it will take. It’s amazing how often the family dog will sit through your practice sessions.

Atlantia University is a one-day event that runs four times a year when they can find suitable locations. The Guild tries to present classes at each University. If you want to teach a brewing-related class, please, please contact the Guildmaster! That way we can present one coordinated set of classes to the University Chancellor, and not have four people tripping over each other trying to teach Mead 101.
Class proposals are due 6 weeks before a University. The Guild will post the proposal form – currently to the Yahoo group, probably here on the website as well – as soon as we get it. If you’re thinking you might want to “do a class” on something, don’t dawdle. Get that info in to the Guildmaster ASAP! (I was going to say something about striking while the wort is hot, but got all tangled up in the puns – sorry.  Sorcha)
Please remember that the University team does not have to accept any of our class proposals. It’s rarely a problem because we do our homework in advance, but if there turns out to be a site limitation, or the Chancellor (ahem) gets five proposals for Mead 101, some class proposals may be denied.

Local Events are a great place to run a little, light class.  Keep them short – an hour or less – or make it an all-day Artisan’s Row sort of demo. People have a lot to do at an event, and most won’t dedicate their entire day to your class.
The first question always is whether the site will allow alcohol, or the discussion thereof. Check with the autocrat – who may refer you to the A&S coordinator if there is one – to see if it’s all right with them to include your proposed class, and if there is suitable space somewhere on the site. If you’re familiar with the site, think about good places and what you’d need if in each, and take that information to the autocrat as part of your class proposal. Make it easy for them to say yes!
Think about the theme of the event. Try to tune your class topic to that theme. It’s more fun for everyone that way.

Home gatherings are what happen in between events. We can do group brewing sessions, teach-and-tells, even (gasp) organizational meetings in the mundane setting of each other’s homes. The only reason not to are the usual: do you have the space and supplies for what you want to do? Do you need to set a cap on how many can come?
Caution: as soon as you charge a fee it becomes an event, and you have to have everyone sign in, present their membership cards or sign waivers, and you have to submit a Troll report after…

Pennsic is the center of a dizzying number of activities, as are all the big wars – it’s just that this one is pretty close by so lots of Atlantians participate. The IKBG always has a roundtable and big competition there. There are dozens of small group tastings in camps.  There are often Royal activities requiring our support. Some private events are enshrined in lore, they’ve been running so long – Casa Bardicci’s mead competition is a great example; it can get you an invitation to a rather exclusive Italian Renaissance party in their white “marble” palazzo.  Pennsic University has many classes running all day every day, and many are brewing-related.  Yes, you too can teach a class at Pennsic!
The Royal Brewer presides over the bar at the Kingdom party, and the bar is usually supplied by Guild members. If you don’t hang out with the Guild but you do bring brew to the Kingdom party, do stop and chat ’cause we’d love to know you!


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Inter Kingdom Brewers Guild (IKBG)

The Inter Kingdom Brewers Guild is not your average SCAdian brewers guild.  For one thing, it crosses boundaries, with aspirations to represent every kingdom in the SCA. For another, they don’t do A&S – IKBG is brewers getting together to share brews and knowledge.  Even when they have competitions, IKBG’s focus is on “the beverage itself and its drinkability”. They focus on how good a brew tastes, how well it’s made.  IKBG means no disrespect, it’s just filling a different niche from A&S’ historical authenticity.  We brewers have choices.

IKBG does maintain a database of those who have entered their competitions.  As of 9/2014, there are 48 Atlantians listed.  A lot of familiar names on that list…

The IKBG would be included on Atlantia’s Guild website even if Master Terafan, who hosts the website, weren’t himself one of Atlantia’s foundation brewers.  His website also has a number of really good brewing recipes, helpful documentation suggestions, and all sorts of other mostly-14th-century goodies.

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A roundtable is an opportunity for brewers to bring beverages they’ve made, talk about the brewing process, and receive feedback and honest evaluation from their peers. They tend to be informal, friendly events, and it’s fun to see what other brewers are working on. Tact, thoughtfulness, and expertise are on deck at a roundtable – and the opportunity to try groovy new beverages and meet new brewers.

Of course, we only hold roundtables at sites where we are permitted to bring alcohol.  Roundtables are arranged with the autocrat and possibly the A&S coordinator (if there is one) well ahead of the event. It is courteous to advertise your roundtable on the Guild calendar on this website and on the Atlantia Brewers email list as early as you can, so your fellow brewers can plan their day and what they will bring.

There are a number of ways to organize a round table. There are set start and end times (usually ending right before Court). There is a host or moderator.  This person selects the order in which to share beverages, usually in a sequence that won’t blow out the taste buds of those attending (extra-strong flavors go last). At SCA events, this person is responsible for carding or otherwise assuring everyone tasting/drinking is over 21. They will bring a dump bucket or two, and a supply of water to both drink and rinse out cups with. They may even bring cup towels or bread/crackers for between rounds.

Generally, those attending bring their own tasting glasses.  It never hurts to bring your own water – more water is always better.

The most formal versions go something like this: There are two groups, or rings, of attendees.  The inner ring brought something to share, the outer didn’t.  The inner ring gets served first, the outer is served if there’s enough to go around. Most of our roundtables are both smaller and more informal than that.

Roundtables tend to be popular and go on for a while, so if you’re arranging one make sure you request lots of time.  It is common to run them in the afternoon, ending right before Court.  They tend to be vociferous and lively, so arrange to have a space where the conversation level won’t disturb others, especially bards, A&S judges or sleeping children. It helps to bring a banner or other visible signal to mark where it will occur, as many who plan to attend may want to drop their bottles off early. A table sign will usually do the trick.  Arrange for plenty of seating, as these do tend to be popular, and more people will drop in as time passes if that’s allowed.

If you brought something to share, make sure to take the bottle away with you or otherwise account for its safe disposal. Label it with a complete list of the ingredients – you never know what allergies other people have. Mark the bottle with your name, too, and what the beverage is, in case there are two that look alike. Generally bottles are opened by their makers, or by the host while the maker says a few words about it.

Drunkenness is NOT encouraged; it is the host’s prerogative to cut you off.  It is because we care for your well-being and value your feedback, which you can’t very well supply if you’ve had too much to drink.

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Largesse – so what have you brewed for Atlantia lately?

device for Kingdom of AtlantiaNot to brag, but we’re a pretty generous lot.

It’s not unusual to see bottles of beer, mead, braggot, wine, or pyment included in Royal gift baskets, or as part of a Baronial feast.  Guildmembers set up a bar near the feast pavilion on a couple of special occasions, carding and pouring for a couple of hours before they got their own food.  The Crown has received a couple of dozen 350-ml bottles at a time, all decked out in Kingdom colors with period materials, to give away as largesse – particularly when Atlantia is supplying a Royal gift basket to a couple of Royals from another Kingdom who are known to like beer or mead. Dozens of cases  of period homebrew are provided to the Kingdom party at Pennsic. (Sorcha here – I’m trying not to be smug, but the Atlantia parties don’t tend to run dry, and the beer and mead are good all the way through the party.)  For one Pennsic Queen’s tea, three people sent coolers who weren’t even at War that year.  Siegfried Sebastian Faust spearheaded the brewers of Atlantia’s representation at that Tea…

So what cool things have you done with your brew lately? No reason we can’t share excellent ideas and rejoice in our own creative generosity.

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People to know in the Guild

Here are some folks in the Guild you might want to know. You can call on any of them if you have questions about the Guild.  Look for someone close to your location for questions about local brewing activity.

PHOTOS will be posted as I get them – Sorcha

Guildmaster  Lord Brynjolf Rauðskegg

Brynjolf Rauthskegg

Brynjolf device

Guildmaster Brynjolf








Royal Brewer Lord Brian Crawford
(Brian Burnham)
Inspector for Barony of Tir-y-don
757-812-2732 NLT 10PM
(yes, some of our brewers have other interests too…)

brian_crawford device

Brian Crawford

Brian Crawford 1








Barony of Ponte Alto
Lord John M’Coghlane
(Jonathan Coughlin)


Dagobert de Gallia


Susane d’Anjou


Barony of Hawkwood
Lord Dagobert de Galia
& Lady Susane d’Anjou
(Chris & Sue Burk)



Barony of Lochmere

Mikhail "Misha" Novgorodets

Mikhail “Misha” Novgorodets

Lord Mikhail ‘Misha’ Novgorodets
(Michael Suggs)






Gormr Domarsson

Barony of Dun Carraig
Lord Gormr Domarsson
(Greg Lee)
443-404-5770 NLT 9PM





Barony of Highland Foorde
Master Siegfried Sebastian Faust

Siegfried Sebastian Faust

Siegfried Sebastian Faust








Isabel Henry



Barony of Caer Mear
Lady Isabel Henry
(Sharon Miller)



Master Rhys Terafan Greydragon (“Terafan”)
Atlantia’s first brewing Laurel

picture of Master Terafan      Master Terafan's device
Master Terafan

Mistress Sorcha Crowe
(Elspeth Payne)

Webminister and Inspector in the Barony of Storvik (Maryland and D.C.)
Atlantia’s most recent brewing Laurel

sorcha_crowe device

Sorcha Crowe

Sorcha Crowe

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