"That means we've got to work harder than ever", Rafe said gloomily. Then he brightened up, "That's why we are going to have some fun with this. I've already got some special ingredients in mind."
Tobal knew there were times when the beer had been absolutely nasty and undrinkable. "I hope you don't make some of that real nasty stuff that gives people the runs like it did last July."
Rafe grinned. "We aren't planning to be around to be drinking it. We should both be getting our Masters initiation by then. I hear the medics have some real good stuff and they even make some brandy."
"You're not serious", Tobal gasped in horror at the thought. You wouldn't do that to us would you?" He pleaded with them. Rafe and Dirk were laughing hard now.
"You wait and see", was all either of them would say.
They talked more about the art of brewing beer in the wilderness. The real issue was getting enough sugar to ferment into alcohol. The sugar content came from boiling maple syrup down into maple sugar in the spring. There was only about three weeks when the sap really flowed and the entire Journeyman community helped in boiling it down.
It was not uncommon to see air sleds carrying buckets of maple sap. The medics even provided plastic buckets with lids from used hospital supplies to be used for barrels and also provided the yeast. The other ingredients were left up to the imagination of the brewmiester although the basic recipe was expected to be followed fairly closely. The maple syrup was kept in the same location as the beer and not allowed to freeze.
Tobal shuddered to think of what those two would come up with. Best to enjoy the beer they were serving today which was rich and tasty. He told Rafe he would talk with him sometime later after circle and they could both meet with Ellen to see what she had found out about the rogue attacks. Then he went off looking for the others.
There was no sign of Tara and Nick. Tobal guessed they were snowed in and making the best of it. The weather was bitter cold and the three day travel to circle was something only the brave or desperate would willingly tackle. Tobal came because it was his social connection to the others, a time to forget his own troubles, celebrate and have some fun with others.
He found Sarah over by the cooking pits slicing off choice pieces of roast and getting some stew. The stew was the main way the clan had vegetables in the winter and everyone contributed from their own stores.
His own stomach started to rumble. "Is the stew any good?"
She glanced at him, "Oh, hi Tobal. Yes, the stew and roast is excellent. Grab a bowl."
Tobal grabbed one of the large wooden bowls that were stacked nearby and went over to the roast first.
He cut several chunks of meat off the roast and filled to bowl to the top with stew.