Before I relay the story I have to say this: The folks at Three Floyd's and the people of Munster are the most gracious best prepared hosts I've ever met. Never have I experienced an event that was so well run, so accommodating, had so many great people everywhere just sharing their beer and having a good time. If there is such a place as Beertopia I now know what it would be like.
Now on to the story and typical hijinx involved when Mark and I get together..
For folks that may not be familiar with "Dark Lord Day" it is the one day a year where you can purchase Three Floyd's Dark Lord Russian Imperial Stout. It's routinely rated one of the best beers in the world and the only way to buy it is to show up at their doorstep on one specific day and purchase it directly from the brewery. they don't sell it to the distributors and if you want to distribute it you need to show up and get in line like everyone else. This assures that this special limited volume beer gets in to the hands of the people that really want it. I love the concept and love fact that it has turned in to one of the premier beer festivals in the United States.
As is typical when Mark and I get together we have the best intentions of what time we'll get up and get on the road and when we expect to be there. Of course what's also typical is the reality of when the two of us actually try to execute on those plans. We had a late addition to the duo from Chicagofoodie.com and then as we picked up breakfast at our national fast food chain of choice and headed for the open road we looked at each other and said "did you grab the beer?" And then in unison "I thought you did?" So we headed back to Mark's apartment to grab it. There was no way we were going to show up with nothing to share at this event. So equipped with our bottles of Brooklyn Local 2 and Stone Self Righteous. We set out on the last leg of our pilgrimage about 1 hour later than planned, but no worry we had our tickets and that would make sure we get our 4 bottles per ticket.
We rolled in to town around 10:00 or so about an hour before the doors opened to start purchasing Dark Lord. The first thing that struck me is that it didn't seem like the town was overly concerned about the festival. It just seemed like a regular day in the life. There were a few signs here and there but until we got in to the Industrial park it was not apparent that anything interesting was going on.
We arrived and took one look at the line for Dark Lord and said. "Maybe later." We went in search of our friends and to share some beer. There was a great sense of relaxed fun and enjoyment going on. Everyone was friendly and accommodating. There must have been 5000 people there. Everyone was just hanging out in the parking lot, and the roads leading up to the lot in the industrial park. There were plenty of bit tents put up by the FFF team as well as picnic tables, a huge barbecue station, and even cocktail waitresses serving beer! What a great concept. And the best part is it wasn't plastered with "brought to you by so and so or this major sponsor. It was completely brought to us by the good folks at Three Floyds.
We quickly found a couple of my friends who were also in from Seattle and were already popping open some great things to share with each other. We added our offerings to the table and started tasting beer.
Special thanks to my friend Brendan for showing up with the best guest beer of the day: an Alesmith 2006 barrel aged We Heavy. Oh wow was it amazing.
This was one of the best parts of the day. Everyone was so open and friendly. We were all just walking around offering each other tastes of whatever people had to offer. There were beers from all over the world. People were not holding back. They weren't showing up with Corona and Budweiser. They were hauling out their special stashes for special occasions. This was a special occasion for people and I was touched that people would be willing to share all these great and unique beers with perfect strangers. I met so many great people including the guy that sold Mark his KBS at the Founders sale!
Chicagofoodie.com and Brendan all enjoying fresh Alpha King.
As I said earlier it was such a great experience with some many friendly people. If they serve beer in heaven it would be just like this.
And Three Floyds was sharing as well. They had their standard offerings in the pub as well as kegs of fresh Dark Lord and Samurai Gazebo in their brewery area. There was open access to the brewery with a merchandise shop, cases of their standards and a stage where the bands were going to play later in the day.
Stay tuned for more in my next post on how the 2nd half of the day went and actually getting our Dark Lord!