The hive you mention doesn't sound all that bad. You probably just got them at a bad time (before dusk is bad), or squashed a bee and set off the alarm. Most inspections my bees will generally ignore me, but I believe I've gotten better about not harming them. My worse experience was while inspecting the hive at dusk, had to hurry because I was loosing light, and the bees started really pounding me. I got 3 stings that evening, and accidentally took 2 bees inside the house. Thankfully those ones hadn't stung me. They were up my pants leg. :) But I had maybe a hundred or so bombarding my head, and the noise level was very high from the hive. Plus, many were in flight because they were all so angry.
If I do anger them just a bit, they will follow me about 200 feet from the hive as I'm trying to get away.