Vivant the entrants in this year’s Royal Brewer competition!
Lord Jaume organized early and organized well. He published the Royal Brewer competition requirements, as one does if one is the current Royal Brewer and Kingdom Arts and Sciences is coming up. He also read Kingdom law (!) to find that the judges are supposed to include the Kingdom Minister of Arts and Sciences (KMoAS) or designated representative, and Their Majesties or their designated representative. (The ultimate decision for Royal Brewer is up to Their Majesties – it’s not necessarily the scored result of the competition that is the deciding factor – so it’s important that they have someone at the table if possible.)
Lord Etienne le Mons’ promised Jaume to designate a surrogate, since he’s KMoAS and Kingdom A&S is a pretty busy day for him. But – and this is new in my experience – Jaume secured Their Most August Majesties Christoph and Adelheit themselves to come taste, and consider. Their Majesties came to the Royal Brewer table first thing in the morning (!!), and proceeded from us to the Royal Baker competition sharing a room with us. I may have overheard a quiet comment that they were glad to see there was bread next.
Now, Their Majesties are not brewing judges and don’t pretend to be, so Jaume guided them in the sorts of questions one asks when one is tasting. First and foremost, do We like it? Is it especially nice? Anything off or unpleasant? Her Majesty had a preference for sweeter tastes than His Majesty, so She particularly appreciated the range of cordials Lord Eirikr ulfr þorrison entered. I kept notes of their comments for the judges to use later. I also kept track of which beverages they especially liked…
Next up, Jaume and the KMoAS’ designate, Master James of Middle Aston, tasted each entry and scored them according to the familiar Guild form that Jaume had announced he would use. Master James knows a thing or two about brewing himself and has helped us out before. They consulted the notes about Their Majesties’ preferences and conferred carefully.
Jaume was involved in a (particularly delightful) Commedia presentation, so he gave me the results and sent me off to the Royal Room to report in and await Their Majesties’ decision. Results were close, and it was gratifying to see that Their Majesties took the decision really seriously, taking time to decide. When all was said and done, Lord Seamus MacWhellan was declared this year’s Royal Brewer.
As for me, other than taking notes for Their Majesties and doing some scampering about for Jaume, I had only one more task – asking the brewers of the beverages Their Majesties liked best whether they minded too much if that bottle didn’t go home with them. Of course, everyone said yes – interestingly, Their Majesties commented on particularly liking at least one entry from each brewer. I packed up a carton of resealed bottles very carefully and stowed it in the back of the Royal Conveyance. It is quite an honor to have your brew personally chosen by Their Majesties. It is quite a pleasure to have Their Majesties take such an interest in our wares!
So Vivat! for our accomplished contestants, Vivat! for Lord Seamus, and a special Vivant! for Their Majesties who appreciate a good homebrew!