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.