It was stupendous. There were sour Flemish reds rich in cherry flavors, Belgian trippels with complex layers of spice, stouts aged in bourbon barrels and brewed with coffee, barley wines that smacked of clove and bubblegum, and some ridiculously rare beers out of Preston’s personal cellar, blends of exquisite complexity, flavor and — it’s winter, remember — alcoholic content. I had in total, perhaps, 15 ounces of beer — less than a bottle and a half of in six-pack terms — but because of the intensity of some of them (as much as 15% alcohol by volume), I was merrily pie-eyed by the end of the tasting. (I took notes on individual beers — about one-third of the ones we were treated to weren’t available even to the paying customers in the crowded Ale Festival tent — but in the cold light of morning, I think this’ll do.)
On behalf of all Portland’s beer geeks, I welcome you Shawn, to a world of wonder, delight, the occasional post-imbibing discomfort, and much blog fodder!