International Beerfest First Impressions

This is a preliminary post for anyone who's still planning on heading down to the International Beerfest this afternoon. We have some early must-tries, based on a sampling of about 16 beers. I'll post a fuller round-up later today or tomorrow.

Big Winners
Saxo Blonde (Brasserie La Caracole, Belgium) - has a softly floral nose that suggests actual infusions of flowers--lavender comes to mind, but I can't say. It has a cellary quality, and is effervescent, dry, and spicy in the manner of a saison, yet has that very soft, flowery note.

Black Gold Imperial Stout (Full Sail, Hood River) - a beer so tasty it was like a liquid brownie. Alternately, it was compared to an after-dinner coffee drink, spiked with bourbon.

Duchesse de Bourgogne (Brouwerij Verhaeghe, Belgium) - A classic Flemish red I sampled toward the end of the evening. A perfect mixture of sour, sweet, and dry that got raves from our group. Despite the 3-ticket pricetag, even the cheapskates went in for a pour.

Best to Skip
Oud Beersel Kriek (Brouwerij Oud Beersel, Belgium) - A sugary-sweet confection with almost no sourness or complexity.

Jenlain Biere de Garde (Duyck, France) - Cloyingly sweet. The one real dud I sampled.

More to come--including a video clip of the event.