Brewing 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!