I think I have finally recovered enough from Dark Lord Day to bear witness. For the uninitiated, or those who don't follow craft beer, (taken from the 3 Floyd's Official DLD Website)
Dark Lord Day is the only day of the year to buy Three Floyds Dark Lord Russian Imperial stout. DLD is a festival where participants can meet other beer enthusiasts, sample beers from all over the world, buy Dark Lord, try Oak Aged Dark Lord Russian Imperial Stout, eat BBQ, listen to live music, and generally have a great time.My experience was, that it was a beer geek's wet dream and a giant cluster fuck set to a heavy metal soundtrack. I am not the geekiest beer drinker out there, I like what I like and I couldn't tell you what type of malt or hops is in any of it (YET. Don't completely rule me out). Up until I met Ben I was not a drinker. The occasional glass of wine, pint of Guinness or bottle of hard cider. Then my brain was expanded to all the wonderful tastes, smells and kinds of alcohol in this world. My first two loves: stout and gin. I have branched out whiskey, scotch, barley wines, IPAS (those I can take or leave), red ales, I'll try just about anything. And I'll go just about anywhere. When my friend Kate got two tickets to DLD we assumed it would be Ben going but then he had to work (and there was no way to get out of it) so it was me who piled in the party wagon on a chilly Saturday afternoon in late April. There were 5 of us, chattering amicably as we passed the Illinois border over to Indiana.
55 minutes and $20 later we were parked and walking past the humungo line stretched down the road. Not sure if it was the line for beer or the line to get in we by passed it and managed to slip in by presenting our tickets to the first person who looked like they might be in charge.
The place was already packed. It's in an industrial park so there is plenty of space in front and it was full of people and lines and tents. Food tents, guest draft tents, 3 Floyd's draft tents, and merch. Since the event got to be so gigantic the brewery now issues tickets which allots the bearer to buy up to 4 bottles of Dark Lord. This year your ticket was exchanged for a scratch ticket which may or may not be a golden ticket (I think I heard 1 in 10 were winners). If you scratched a golden ticket, you got the chance to buy (for an additional $50) a special bottle of barrel aged, your choice of 5 different flavors.
A stop to the port-o-johns was first on the list. I waited outside and was witness to the first (in my experience) and not the last of Dark Lord Day Breakage. Someone was carrying his four precious bottles on top of a case of Zombie Dust (another 3 Floyd's beer wonder) and the Dark Lord slipped and fell as the guy stumbled over uneven pavement. A cry went up through the crowd. No Dark Lord for him. After that the five of us wandered, one of us had a ticket for the B grouping 1-3pm and the rest of us the C grouping, 5-7pm. We ate, bought other beer (mainly the Mutiny and the Mollusk), stowed it safely in the car, and watched Eye Hate God, a metal band from New Orleans. By this point Kate and I were getting tired and when everyone had their fill of metal we went to get in line for C group around 4:45 pm. I found a penny on the way out but it did not give us the luck we needed to not get stuck in the Gordian knot of people dissolutely standing by the port-o-johns all wondering if this was the end of the line. By 6pm we'd moved about 6 feet forward and 5 feet to the left of where we had originally been standing. Most were fairly drunk at this point (I'd quit by this point and was on to munching carrots one of our group brought) and all except one or two very jovial. I met a couple who lived down the street from me, another brother and sister from Munster and a college football scout who was so enamoured with the dinosaur on messenger bag he tweeted it to his 3,000 odd followers.
By this point we were moving, funneling down into a real line that snaked up the brewery drive, through some stanchions that were set up, around the side of the brewery and into the back where they stored this holy grail of beer. 7 pm saw us against the near wall of the brewery and 7:20 saw in rounding the corner. I dug the penny out of my pocket so I could scratch the ticket and low and behold I WON! I passed the penny back to Kate and low and behold SHE WON! Some guy wanted to buy my ticket. I said sure, $100. He said he still had to pay $50 for the actual beer, and offered $20. Here's the rub: if you buy a bottle of Dark Lord at DLD, you pay $15. If you go on eBay right now auctions are going for $65- 80 a bottle. The barrel aged is about $300. So I wasn't out of the realm of possibility. Kate smacked me upside the head though and said Ben would be pissed if I sold the winning ticket for $20. So I walked on. We purchased our beer. By the time we got our winning tickets up there however they were out of every kind of barrel aged except the Bourbon Barrel. Kinda crappy after 3 hours stuck in the longest most disorganized line ever. I wasn't even going to argue price since she looked kinda tired of seeing drunk ass people. As I turned around, the precious cargo clutched to my chest I watched someone drop their just purchased beer. I didn't wait to see if they were offered a chance to rebuy. My cohorts and I packed it up the box, put some in my messenger bag for safe keeping til the car and high tailed it out of Munster and back to Chicago feeling like bootlegger's the entire time. Tired and cold and with a nasty case of food poisoning brewing I got home, picked up my dog, and made my neighbor's evening by giving him a precious bottle of Dark Lord 2012. He watched my Stella so I could go get beer, fair trade I say. All in all everyone wins. Especially she who has BEER!