I started with a small glass of Stone Double Bastard, an American Strong ale aka a strong, hoppy beer.
Smelled hoppy as expected. Taste had some sweetness followed by hops and bitterness. As I drank more the bitterness took over and lingered. I have heard a bit about people aging this one as it's quite strong and I'm curious what it would turn into. This one wasn't bad, but wasn't really anything to write home about. Basically a stronger, sweeter version of Arrogant Bastard. As a side note, the American Strong ale style, in my opinion, is one of those catch all styles. I find beers that are slightly uncategorizable get thrown into these ones just to have a place to put them and so you don't quite know what you're going to get. Belgian Strong Dark Ale has similar issues.
However, the next one I got was fantastic and that was Dark Horse Too Cream Stout, a milk stout.
After that it was time to go upstairs for the class. It was run by Jeff Louella who I believe is the head of the Aleiens homebrew club that meets at Hulmeville once a month. While he seemed a little nervous to start, he loosened up a bit and gave us a lot of really good information by the end. It's hard to remember everything he covered but it started with ingredients (malt, hops and yeast), moved on to equipment, next up was cleanliness (next to godliness!), and finally what occurs on an average brew day. Now, it seems short when I sum it up like that, but he talked for nearly 3 hours so there was quite a lot of information. As I said earlier, I know a bit about home brewing just from reading some stuff and chatting with people, but this class was really great on putting all of that information together. I finally got to see what real homebrew equipment looks like (a bunch of buckets and an upside down water jug...), what a secondary fermenter is, and other things like that. Also got some nice info about common brewing suggestions and simple mistakes to avoid.
During the class he also gave us samples of some of his own homebrew. He started with a sample of a Vienna Lager which was nice and clean.