So as part of my quest to seek out local beer and local beer sources, I heard by word of mouth about a beer tasting that would be happening in Wells Maine at a beer/wine shop known as Tully’s Beer & Wine. I’d been to Tully’s before – and was bowed over by the selection of craft brews, six packs, seasonal items, and most of all, the availability of hard-to-get Dogfish Head, Allagash and others. I would sneak up to Tully’s occasionally to get what I just couldn’t get my hands on in New Hampshire. Now that I live in Maine, there are lots of stores liket his to choose from, but I was excited to hear about them hodling their first ever in-store beer tasting.

I arrived a few minutes after the start of the event, and was pleased to see that a small crowd had already gathered in the back of the store. Holding 1 oz. Smuttynose plastic cups, the crowed listened eagerly to the description of the multitude of beers that lay before them. I was startled when walking in to see the quantity that would be tasted – but happily surprised to see many on the table that I had not ever sampled before.

The tasting featured Affigem Triple & Dubbel, De Stuise Tsjeeses, Broklyner-Schneider Hopfen-Weiss, Smuttynose Imperial Stout, Baltic Porter, Wheat Wine and Big A IPA. A few minutes after I arrived, a relaxed-looking Tod Mott (of Portsmouth Brewery fame) walked in to lend a hand. The tasting crowd asked eager questions, and seemed to be having a great time.

I got a chance to ask Dawn Tully (also known as TheBeerLady), owner of Tully’s Beer & Wine what she thought of their first beer event. “Utterly fantastic,” she said, “Way past our expectations.” In my own estimations, I’d say that there were about 30 people in the store when I was there, and I was told even more came through later. When asked what she might change next time, she mentioned that needing a little bit more staff support would have been helpful. Both Dawn and her daughter Kristi bounced back and forth between the tasting table and the register, and probably could have used some reprieve, though they were all smiles the entire time.

I was also curious to know how the beer tasting crowd compared to that of her store’s previous wine tastings. “Compared with wine tastings, the beer crowd as larger, way more enthusiastic and really excited to be there,” Dawn said. And the turnout remained high despite competing with a topless march in downtown Portland Maine occurring on the same day and time.

As for the future? Dawn reports, “Next up is introducing Southern Tier. The product should be at the distributor by next week.  We’re already planning the tasting for May 1st.  If the Southern Tier does not arrive we’ll fall back to Victory or another brand that we can have the brewery rep here for.  I spoke with Allagash for future tastings and got compliance.  We’ll be planning for every month except July and August.”
If you’re interested in more information about Tully’s Beer & Wine – check out theirfacebook page and become a fan!