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bierblog: April 2008 Archives

April 30, 2008

Dark Lord Day 2008

after the fun that eric and i had last year, it was pretty much definite that we'd be heading back to three floyds for dark lord day 2008. we also convinced jan to come along for the fun.

this year we decided to skip heading into chicago and instead stayed right in munster. the hampton inn is less than a mile from three floyds, making it incredibly convenient and a favourite among DLD attendees. we even managed to score a giant room with two beds plus a pullout and a nice kitchen area. free hot breakfast and internet were also a bonus.

with the hotel secured, the next order of business was transportation. last year we drove my little mazda 3, which barely managed to hold all the beer that eric and i had. this year we knew we'd probably be bringing more beer down with us and with a third person we'd definitely be bringing more home. i managed to get a pretty good rate and unlimited mileage on a pacifica, which we figured would be cozy and have more than enough room.

the next thing we needed to decide on was our route. as with last year, we knew our first stop would be kuhnhenn, since it's just too great to pass up. since we weren't going into chicago, we figured we'd add an extra stop or two along the way. our first choice was to visit jolly pumpkin, but for the second year in a row they were going to be closed to attend a beer festival. dark horse is just a little farther down I94, so we figured that was also a good option. a little farther along the highway was bell's. from there we figured we'd check in to the hotel and head over to the three floyds brewpub for dinner and drinks to cap off the night.

the thursday evening before DLD jan and eric came up to my place. we did some final prep and gathered up all the beer we were bringing down for trades and sharing. i also made sure to bring along some homebrew for everyone i was trading with and for sharing at the hotel+DLD (including our 2006 old ale [brewday blog], award winning 2005 imperial stout [brewday blog], fred [brewday blog], and 2007 old ale [brewday blog]).

friday morning began bright and early. jenn and i woke up at 7am, grabbed some breakfast, and headed out to pick up the rental car. picked up the car at about 8am and headed back home to load up. by about 9:15am we were on the road heading for my in-laws just outside windsor. jenn was nice enough to handle this leg of the driving since i'd be doing a good chunk after we dropped her off.

we arrived in beautiful stoney point at 12:30pm, grabbed some lunch and relaxed for a bit before heading back out on the road. by 3pm we'd made it over the border and made the short drive to kuhnhenn. as it turned out they had a bunch of great stuff on tap and available in bottles. after an hour and a couple of samples we walked out with 8 growlers and 2 cases of bottles.

from there we continued our journey towards munster. around 6pm we rolled up to dark horse. we sat at the bar for a bit and enjoyed some crooked tree ipa. the food smelled and looked awesome, but none of us were quite hungry enough to eat yet, so we just enjoyed a pint and headed out. after a quick stop next door to grab some double crooked tree and some snacks for the road we crossed the parking lot and grabbed some sweet tshirts and swag. shortly after that we were back on the road.

we rolled into munster at around 8pm. as we came into indiana, the rain was alternating between a gentle spit and a near-blinding downpour. before heading to the hotel we made a quick stop at the liquor stop, and the rain let up long enough for us to get out of the car. we scoped out the three floyds offerings (broodoo in particular), but ultimately decided to wait and see what the prices were at the brewery on saturday. we grabbed cold sixpacks of pride+joy and founders centennial ipa for hotel consumption and headed out. between the liquor stop and the hotel the rain really started to come down. traffic slowed to a crawl.

it was about 9pm when we made it to the hotel. eric ran inside to check us in and we drove around back hoping to find a close parking spot. the rain was still coming down pretty good and we got thoroughly drenched running between the car and the doors. we quickly found more DLD attendees wandering the halls. michael/SPLITGRIN and scott/EliteDigger were the first we encountered, which worked out well since both eric and i had trades lined up with scott and michael had lots of extras up for grabs.

we finished off a couple quick trades and ran for the brewpub. at that point it was about 10:30pm and we were all tired and hungry and we didn't want to miss out on some tasty food+beer at FFF before they closed. i started off with some twisted wytch and ordered a carnivore pizza. the pizza was pretty damn awesome. a glass of behemoth was a great closer and we headed back to the hotel.

arriving back at the hotel around 11:30pm i was feeling pretty tired from the long day, but i figured i'd make a couple calls and see if i could resolve any more trades before crashing for the night. i managed to reach ben/WankerWeasel, who let me know that he and matt/mully had checked in. i had decided to send the Brews N Tunes BIF 3 on to matt, and since he was attending DLD i figured an in-person exchange would be easy and allow me to hook him up with a few extra brews. after talking with them for far too long i wandered back upstairs and hit the bed around 1am, finally falling asleep at about 2am.

saturday morning i woke up somewhere around 7am. the hotel had complimentary hot breakfast, which was pretty sweet. we repacked what we needed to bring with us to the brewery and headed out.

we arrived at three floyds around 8:30am and there was a small crowd forming around the tasting tables and also a strange line that seemed to begin at the road and continue down the street. everyone who had been to DLD before was at the tables and equally baffled by the line. DLD was always about hanging out, sharing some great brews and meeting fellow beer lovers and a line never really formed until shortly before the doors opened at noon. however, this time the line was quickly growling and wandering down the street...

i had brought a growler of kuhnhenn's creme brulee java stout, and that seemed like the perfect thing to start the day with. i wandered around and found a group of minnesota BA's (JeffKrenner, mully, WankerWeasel) and cracked open the growler and poured us all a sample. as it turned out, this was the last i'd see of the growler. a few minutes later i got a call from one of my trading partners and i left the growler and headed for the car.

after finishing a couple trades i wandered back towards the tables. i met up with dan/kkipple just in time for one of the guys at his table to open up a growler of dark knight. goddamn was that beer good!

that's pretty much how the morning went, alternating between the tasting tables and trading. finally got to meet unclejedi. had several brief conversations with dyan as he ran past our car working out trades of his own. may other trades and BAs, too many to list...

i was standing near the car when i heard the roar of the crowd as the doors opened. i quickly ran back and found where eric was holding down our spot in line. before i knew it we were inside the (now expanded) brewery and slowly making our way towards the purchasing tables. while waiting in line an excellent BA and past trader Aprilluvsbeer ran up and gave me a sample of the vanilla bean dark lord, since the regular barrel aged dark lord had just run out and it didn't seem like i'd make it over there before the VB was gone too. thanks april!

i grabbed a mixed case containing my 6 dark lord, 2 hvedegoop, 2 behemoth, and 2 rabbid rabbits. i rounded the corner and found that april was holding down a table along with her husband and parker/PHawk. parker is a crazy texan who made the long drive up, even wandering through wisconsin and minnesota before hitting munster. crazy for the drive and crazy for his generosity in sharing some fine brews with us. he was also a super nice guy that we ended up hanging out with for a good portion of the weekend.

this year's DLD also featured a bunch of guest breweries. funniest beer of the day: piece camel toe (who's logo sort of resembles the beer name...).

eventually i managed to finish the last of my trades and was able to kick back and relax for the rest of the day. i wandered around the tasting tables, talking to many BAs that i met last year and meeting some new ones. many great beers were had.

i was happy to catch up with Phatz again this year and swap some homebrew. we talked brewing a bunch last year, but as he'd just started brewing he didn't have anything to bring along. this year we swapped a couple things and also opened a few bottles for sampling. i cracked my last bomber of the gold-medal winning 2005 imperial stout [brewday blog] and it was very well received by all.

i also met a giant texan named charles/thickerfreankess. apparently a friend of his had tried some of our homebrew via a trade with eric, and when he heard that i had brought a bunch of our stuff along he came looking for me. i hooked him up with a bomber of our 2006 old ale [brewday blog].

the food lineups were a little easier to manage this year, and the food was top notch. dark lord sausage loaded with carmelized onions kicked some serious ass. while hanging in line with Phatz, april handed us a bottle of goose island bourbon county stout. we quickly popped it open and shared some with the guys behind us in line. the two of them were locals who came to check out the event. they were amazed both by how good the beer was and also that it was available locally and they'd never tried it. we gave them the rest of the bottle and grabbed some food.

eric was definitely having a good day. between the tasting tables and the lineup of guest taps, it wasn't hard to overdo it. by mid-afternoon he was stumbling a little and talking about how he'd been wrecked since about 10am. when i asked what he was drinking, he said devil dancer. i have a feeling that a 13% beer might not have been the best choice at that time. especially when he said he'd downed a glass of behemoth just before...

by about 4pm things were winding down, so we loaded eric into the car and left. we made another run by the liquor stop, hoping to grab some broodoo since there hadn't been any at the brewery. unfortunately, i think everyone else had the same idea. the several cases we'd seen on friday night were now all gone.

back at the hotel, eric basically passed out as soon as we got there. parker dropped by to see if we wanted to grab some dinner at the restaurant next door, so jan and i joined him. great food, great conversation, and a few glasses of alpha king. hard to beat that.

back at the hotel, eric was still passed out. i caught up with a couple more BAs to finish off my trading. steve/nflmvp and tom/MuenchenerKindl were staying directly below our room, so i went down and talked with them for a while. while down there i got a call from april, her husband, and aaron/leftmindedrighty. they were standing outside our room and nobody was answering. i ran upstairs and let everyone in, only to find that eric had risen from his bed and was somewhat coherent. he certainly did provide some entertainment. eric insisted that we watch danse la poutine far too many times, with some SNL digital shorts thrown in for good measure. i opened up a growler of pisgah valdez and shared it around.

after a bit the PA crew left in search of food and i went wandering looking for folks to share the growler with. we hung out with parker for a while and got to hear him reading some excellent sammyisms. i went wandering and hung out with the SC crew (dan, joe/khiasmus and friends) for a while. they thought it was hilarious that a bunch of canadians were sharing some of their best locals with them.

after killing the growler i headed back up to our room. we watched some sweet walken on saturday night live ("a giant invisible bird!") and had more fine brews. parker was generous enough to share a bottle of alesmith barrel-aged old numbskull with us, a truly excellent beer. other people kind of came and went from the room throughout the evening. around 2am i was finally able to get everyone out so i could sleep for a bit, since i wanted to be on the road by 8am the next morning.

6:45am on sunday came far too early. i grabbed a quick shower and started packing the car. we managed to sort things out and pack it in fairly well, using pretty much the entire trunk space of the car. we grabbed some breakfast and hit the road at about 8:30am, a little behind schedule, but not too bad. i pretty much drove non-stop back to detroit, crossing the bridge and getting to customs at about 1:30pm.

arriving at customs, i was sure we were going to be paying duty. we had in excess of 12 cases of beer in the car, and even split between three people with a 48 hour stay in the states, that's still a lot of beer. i told the customs agent that we had about 12 cases of beer, but had only purchased about 3 cases. i explained how we'd brought a bunch of beer down with us and traded it for a similar volume/price in american micros and didn't have receipts for anything as a result. she was fascinated by a beer festival that would allow people to bring in their own beer for trading and sharing, so i probably spent about 5 minutes explaining dark lord day and the whole weekend of fun. she suggested that in the future we might want to at least keep receipts for the things we'd purchased in canada to bring down with us and told us to have a nice day. we pulled away from the booth and all started jumping for joy that we had managed to get through with over 12 cases of beer and not pay any duty.

from there it was a short drive back to my in-laws place on the lake. we arrived at about 2pm, had some lunch, and relaxed for a while. there was a little more rearranging to fit jenn's stuff back in the car, but we managed to get everything in. at about 3:30pm we said goodbye and headed out.

we dropped eric off at about 7:15pm, jan at about 7:45pm, and pulled into our driveway at about 8:15. since we didn't want to deal with the car in the morning, we unpacked and brought it back to the rental place at about 8:45pm. by 9pm we were home and i collapsed into bed somewhere around 10:30pm

when it was all done we'd travelled 1822km/1132miles in the rental car in the span of about 60 hours. a whirlwind tour, but one heck of a good time. already looking forward to next year.

on to the photos!

the back of the rental before leaving friday morning. somewhere around 8 cases of beer, empty cooler, and our bags.

the second stop of the day: dark horse.

the tap list at dark horse. lots of great options, but all three of us went with the crooked tree. you can also see some of their cool tap handles.

closer shot of the taps.

the back of eric's head and the side of mine. you can also see the mugs hanging from the ceiling and walls. pretty neat, as each one is just a little different than the next. they're also made by an artist in michigan too.

the menu and the end of my crooked tree. "good grub!!!".

liked this bumper sticker. you can see some mugs there too.

right next door to the pub is wacky's, a convenience/liquor store that sells most of the dark horse product line. here you can see jan walking toward the door. we all grabbed some double crooked tree and snacks for the road.

after stopping at dark horse we drove on to munster indiana and checked into our hotel. here you can see some of the room and the beer we brought up for trades at the hotel. we were told it's the biggest room in the hotel, with two queen beds and a sofabed. it also had a fridge, microwave, and tons of space.

once we got settled in and took care of a few trades we headed over to the three floyds brewpub for a late dinner and some beer before they closed. the carnivore pizza was just so damn good that i had to snap a photo. "Andouille Sausage, Pepperoni, Bacon And Roasted Garlic." what's not to love?

jan and alexa

eric

jan trying to look pensive, contemplating how delicious the behemoth was. we also enjoyed some twisted wytch and a few other things i can't quite remember.

the menu at the pub.

fast forward to saturday. we arrived at three floyds right around 9am and started hanging around the tasting tables and taking care of some trades. the first thing i did was open up my growler of kuhnhenn creme brulee java stout and start passing it around. coffee stout seemed like the right thing if you're going to start drinking at 9am.

at this point it was around noon and i was nearly to the end of the line for dark lord. i'd gone through the old brewery and was moving through the new half towards the purchase tables. i took a few photos looking out over the end of the line and across the blockade towards the area where they were selling the various guest casks and where the band was starting to play.

looking back down the line into the "old" part of the brewery.

after getting outside i found that the crews were back trying to put up the tents. apparently they'd been there the night before, but the intense winds and thunderstorm had meant they just couldn't get it up. i was told they came back early in the morning and tried again, but it was still too windy. they seemed to manage ok this time though.

this was the exit after purchasing your dark lord and beer from the guest breweries. the steps of doom, aka "litigation stairs". higher than you'd expect, squishy since the top was fairly thin, and the front plate came up over the edge posing a bit of a tripping hazard. fortunately everyone seemed to take them fairly slowly and i didn't see anyone fall.

cask beer: three floyds dreadnaught, surly bitter brewer, goose island pub belgian blonde, piece camel toe, two brothers, and flossmoor station really big ipa?

"did you fall asleep or did you pass out?"

this is the tent they were working on before, seen from the opposite side. they were selling beer at one end and there were some tables at the other. you can also see the wall of porta johns (much more than last year, though still a little risky by the end of the day) and the munster water tower in the distance.

turning slightly to the left you can see the brewpub entrance and the neverending line heading inside for dark lord as well as people everywhere just hanging out and sampling beer. someone down in front clearly having a good time.

here i was trying to get a view of the lineup. the line began far in the distance, coming toward the camera and then turning and heading to the right.

this is me and charles/thickerfreankess on BA. this giant texan tracked me down after a friend of his told him about our homebrew. he was raving about it and really wanted to try some of our stuff. i hooked him up with one of the last bombers of our 2006 old ale [brewday blog]. apparently he's an avid reader of the blog and has even done some brewing inspired by our recipes. cool!

here's eric looking a little rough around the edges. behind him i can see the back of Phatz's head. Phatz is a good guy from out in PA who is also a homebrewer. when i met him at last year's DLD he had just started brewing and didn't have anything in bottles yet. this year he brought a few things along. we swapped a couple bottles and sampled a few more. he opened a chocolate brown ale and i cracked my last bottle of our gold-medal winning 2005 imperial stout [brewday blog]. i thought the chocolate brown was really neat. the imperial stout was also well received by everyone who tried it.

the food tent. there was a ton of great stuff available, and the lines were much faster than last year. i decided to go with the dark lord sausage piled high with some badass caramelized onions. that shit was crazy good. while waiting in line with Phatz, Aprilluvsbeer handed us a bottle of goose island bourbon county stout. Phatz gave her his glass of alpha king and we popped open the BCS, sharing it with the two guys behind us in line. they were both locals and yet had never heard of it - and were totally blown away by how good it is. i think goose just got a couple of new customers!

another crowd shot. in the distance you can see the the lineup fading down the street.

the "sign" out front of three floyds. from one side it's the calumet queen, and from the other it's the alpha king.

more of the crowd. the lineup is still going strong.

more sampling. the little guy in the middle with the chicago bears hat is Jay23. jay is a great guy that i've traded with the last two years. he was also nice enough to help out with a trade i was doing with someone in cali. thanks jay!

more tasting. front left in the brown sweater we have the back of jan, and on his right we have the side of parker, aka PHawk. we hung out with parker a bunch. super great guy and very generous trader. we'll try to let the part where he's a mavericks fan slide. in the distance behind him we also have the back of Phatz again and SPLITGRIN on his right.

tragedy strikes. this gentleman was on his way out when he dropped his box, breaking at least one dark lord. you can still see the waxed top in tact.

we left somewhere around 4pm and headed back to the hotel. my pile of beer was growing on the right, and my tradeable box on the left is empty.

when we got back to the hotel, eric pretty much passed out. parker, jan, and i went to the restaurant across the parking lot from the hotel and grabbed some dinner. hard to go wrong with $4 pints of alpha king and good food.

here's eric, now semi-conscious after a several hour nap. on the left you can see our aaron/leftmindedrighty, Aprilluvsbeer, and her husband john in the distance.

jan

john, april, and aaron again. we were sampling the growler of pisgah valdez i got in a trade with walter/ncvbc. he shipped it up to wisconsin and scott/EliteDigger was nice enough to bring it down with the other beers we were trading. thanks scott!

eric watching danse la poutine. i think he subjected us to this 3 or 4 times over the course of the night. anytime someone came in who hadn't seen it (which was basically everyone), he'd put it on again. you can see my glass of valdez on the right. it was some darn good shit. reminded me a lot of one of our locals, mill street coffee porter.

one of the hits of the day, alesmith barrel aged old numbskull. the incredibly generous parker shared this one with us. truly and excellent beer that i look forward to trying again. bottle #70/208 too. two others in the background that are no slouches either: lost abbey bourbon barrel aged angel's share and a 2002 hair of the dog doggie claws.

eventually we managed to get everyone out of our room so i could catch some sleep before leaving bright and early to head home...

the car on the drive home. the cooler now had a bunch of full growlers and the beer was piled higher and deeper, with some of our bags moved to the back seat. we needed to shuffle a little more and pack them in even tigher to fit jenn's stuff in too.

the three of us posing with some dark lord.

after the first leg of the drive we ate some lunch and relaxed on the lake at my in-laws.

we then headed out for the last leg of the drive, back up to toronto. we dropped off eric and jan and headed home, unloading so that i could return the rental. by 9pm we were back home and it didn't take very long before i collapsed into bed.

this year's haul, nearly double what i brought home last year. 4 growlers and nearly 6 cases of beer.

Posted by grub at 10:29 AM

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