Dark Lord Day 2011 – Recap with Pictures
For those not aware, 3 Floyds Brewing of Munster, IN has been holding a celebration for many years in honor of the release of their MONSTER Imperial Stout, Dark Lord.
While based in Southern California, and on a non-existent budget, I’ve had the honor of going two years in a row to Dark Lord Day, and with my longtime friend Jesse. Please read on for a one of a kind perspective from someone very used to how things are done on the west coast, and perspective from someone who went to the $#!tstorm event last year. My only regret was not taking more pictures, however if you started indulging at 10am, you would have forgotten you were at work too. Cheers, Dan
The Pre-Game Show
After packing a few coolers of beer, Jesse and I headed out to Highland, IN for some good old Jedi Garden grub. This is a little Greek diner in a rural town, and we decided to return again this year. I decided to not only have biscuits and gravy, but also a plate of cinnamon toast accompanied by two sides of bacon. As mother nature makes my endurance less, I need to have all the help I can when it comes to drinking strong ale at 10am and on. After getting all filled up on carbs, we zipped down to Munster to find parking. Surprisingly, we found parking instantly in pretty much the same parking lot as the year prior. I’d say it was a good 3-4 acres away from the brewery.
Jesse and I merged into a nice spot of line A with some nice folks. I didn’t know if I was dreaming, but 3 Floyds had a nice rock walkway put down that winded around the right of the brewery to the back. Within 5 minutes after 10am, I was in the back of the brewery, trading in my admission tickets for “GOLDEN TICKETS” to get my allocation and my scratch and win for a RARE bottle. So think about this for a minute.
Last year, there was a 5 mile long line for people trying to get their 6 bottle allocation, some folks claiming to have waited all day, and here I just got into the session A line, and had my four beer allocation within 5 minutes. I was blown away. After Jesse and I lost our first round of scratch and win, we parked our coolers and lawn chairs in the same spot as last year. Quickly, we were joined by Matt (coyotehunter on Rate Beer) and Matt’s brother in law. We were cracking bottles, carrying on, and looking for chicks in a sea of dudes. As the beers went down, we began socializing with camps next to us. We were also on the lookout for our crew from last year, which consisted of great cast of characters. We had Bobby “The Fire” Sullivan, Big Bill from Madison, Liz from Pat’s Liquors, Honky Bra, Chuck (GuyInChicago), Bobby’s Boy with the Fat Tire 22, Dirty Sanchez and more. Because Bill from Madison was Big, I saw his 7 foot ass come out with his allocation, and the party began.
Compared to last year, already there was a huge difference. While chilly in the early morning, it warmed up to about 75 degrees by noon. There were no long lines for the stations pouring 3 Floyds on draft. This was largely due to the treated versions of Dark Lord not being poured. Food lines were moving, porta potty lines were moving. This was unreal. How could the same group of people hold such a mess last year, and do a complete 180 the next?
I would expect a little improvement after hearing of their plans for this year, but not this. While mingling around with folks, speed metal/death metal was playing over the PA system. I liked it, it’s some good Dark Lord Day drinking music. By 1pm, session A was officially over, and it was time for Jesse and I to get into the Session B line to get another allocation. I’m sure 3 Floyds didn’t have that strategy in mind, but hell, they got my money, and I got more beer, which will probably wind up on the trading block sooner than later anyway.
There was no way 3 Floyds was gonna be able to strike lightning twice, and have us go through the session B line as quick as session A. WRONG. We integrated into line with some TheFullPint.com fans, poured some beers and had our Dark Lord Day GOLDEN TICKETS in mere minutes. This time, I scratched and I won! The problem was, my wallet wasn’t ready for the extra $50 beer, so I gave it to Jesse, who picked the Bourbon Barrel Aged Dark Lord with Peppers. It was the rarest thing I ever saw! I really can’t get into the future that holds for this bottle in this article. Let your imagination figure it out. So now we are up 16 Dark Lords and we had Bobby and Big Bill watch our camp for us while we went back for more. All was well until Jesse looked down and saw one REGULAR Dark Lord missing. Jesse had a pretty good idea it was an associates of Bobby, with no real proof of course. Bobby being the gentleman that he was, asked his boy Dirty Sanchez to replace the bottle, which he did.
Three Floyds gives their local vendors a little appreciation in the form of the Dark Lord Bracelet. The Dark Lord Bracelet grants you complimentary access to all taps being poured and all food being served. I traded Bobby some nice California Sours for an extra bracelet, and started to venture into the guest tap line to try some treats. This line took a little longer than the rest, but was still worth it. We wrapped up the day by grabbing some food, and called it a day by 5 PM.
Dark Lord: The Beer
While I plan on providing tasting notes on 2011 Dark Lord Russian Imperial Stout, I got to sample a little bit during the day. By far, this was the most coffee forward beer I’ve had compared to what I’ve tasted from 2008-2011. While still sugary, the coffee balanced it out into a real tasty treat. While I wish 3 Floyds had put the treated Dark Lord on tap instead of in RARE bottles, I don’t feel snookered in the least bit.
This event was 200 times better than last year. It was laid out perfectly, the weather was perfect, the crowd was well behaved, and the beer never tasted better. My Hemp Ale hat goes off to 3 Floyds for addressing the issues that previous years Dark Lord Day’s had and completely correcting them. Being a fairly dedicated family man, I can’t promise I’ll be back next year, but I sure would love to. There’s just something about drinking strong ale in an industrial parkway at 10am with mid-westerners that makes me happy. Big shout out to the Dark Lord Day crew, as well as the awesome Rate Beer folks and the new friends made last Saturday.
May 13, 2011 @ 5:09 am
For the vast majority of people that aren’t familiar with the Munster / Highland, IN area, it is located at approximately South 185th St. on the Indiana-Illinois border. The Chicago city limit is South 135th St. Thats 50 city blocks, which equals about 6 miles. Point is the area is not “rural” at all. It has high population density with a lot of heavy industry in the area. For Mr. Nuttermcbutter, the closest motel is the Hampton Inn in Munster. It has a real nice bar in the same parking lot as the hotel for the pre or post game activities. I wouldn’t worry about the designated driving thing that much either. I go out in the area alot. There are two solid cab companies that can’t wait for Dark Lord Day to roll around every year. It is pretty much a shuttle service for them. I just wouldn’t want anyone to pass up the opportunity to visit the area because of the stigma that it could be “rural”. Chicago is an easy day trip from the area if you wanted to hit two birds with one stone.
May 3, 2011 @ 12:09 pm
It’s amazing how short the lines can be when thousands of people couldn’t get tickets!!
May 3, 2011 @ 11:37 am
Thanks for the recap, it sounded like a kick ass time. I will hopefully make it there next year. Tough task will be finding someone to drive and not actually drink. Are there any motels around FFF?