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May 11, 2009

dark lord day 2009

what would april be without another road trip down to munster indiana for dark lord day? this year's trip started at my place in markham. we stopped to drop jenn off in stony point, then got back on the highway and headed for the detroit/windsor tunnel. after crossing we stopped at the detroit beer company for growlers, then popped up to kuhnhenn for more growlers. we didn't linger long at either location and pretty much drove straight through to the "pre-DLD" party at flossmoor station. most of the usual suspects were around, and a few new ones that i'd yet to meet in person. after a few hours things started to die down and we headed off to our hotel in munster for the night. pints of alpha king across the parking lot from the hotel served as a a good nightcap.

saturday morning we loaded the cooler up with beer and ice and made the short drive over to three floyds. unlike in past years, the local police were helping out to direct traffic and get people parked. in general, it's a good thing, but it also meant that we had to park a decent ways from the brewery and make the long walk with the very heavy cooler. we've had good luck with close parking the last two years, so i guess we got a little spoiled. a 48qt cooler full of beer and ice is damn heavy!

we had both setup some trades ahead of time as well as a small tasting with alex/rhinos00 and some of his friends from ohio. we ended up basically setting up camp with them, dropping the cooler and lawn chairs and pretty much staying in that one spot all day. saw tons of familiar faces and shared many fine brews. the weather was lovely, a gentle sprinkling of rain here and there, but otherwise pretty nice.

it was confusing that people were still lining up at the crack of dawn - considering everyoen had golden tickets and was guaranteed to get their allotment of dark lord there was no point to spend 4+ hours in line before they opened the doors for sales. i waited until about mid-afternoon, filled up a couple glasses of dark lord (one from each golden ticket) and decided to hop in line. i still figured the line was going to disappear, but thought it would be good to get up and walk around for a bit, so i did. i think it took all of 30 minutes to get through the line (which moved even faster than in past years) and drop the beer off at the car. we were allowed to buy 4 bottles per golden ticket, and since you were allowed two golden tickets that meant the per-person allotment was up to 8 bottles this year from 6 in previous years. one of the guys we were hanging with (chris) didn't have a golden ticket and was really just there for the fun of it, but i told him i'd give him two of mine at cost since i was only really expecting 6 bottles anyway. by about 4pm there was no lineup left and they started selling additional golden tickets to anybody who wanted one, so i grabbed another golden ticket and another 4 bottles. when 6pm rolled around there was still no lineup and plenty of dark lord left, so they opened it up for anyone to purchase without a golden ticket. i grabbed a couple more bottles to round out an even case of 12. eric did roughly the same thing as i did, ending up with something like 15 bottles, bringing a few back to ontario for someone who bought a golden ticket and was unable to use it.

somewhere around 6:30 the wind changed direction and the temperature suddenly dropped to unpleasant levels. we took that as our cue to pack up and head back to the hotel to find some dinner. after a couple more pints of alpha king and a solid meal we walked back to the hotel and found a bunch of fellow beer geeks had set up camp in the common area and were continuing the beer tasting spirit from dark lord day. we polished off the remains of our growlers from detroit beer company and pulled out a few other bottles, including some homebrew. the gold medal and best-of-show winning old ale was a big hit. somewhere around here i decided i should probably try to get some sleep, knowing i still had a long drive ahead on sunday.

on sunday morning we reorganized the car and got everything packed in for the drive home. after a solid breakfast and a few cups of coffee we headed out. we drove pretty much straight through to the border, then rested in stony point for a bit before continuing on to toronto. we dropped eric off and continued home.

total distance traveled: 1783.9km.

this was a lighter year for me. in past years i had a ton of trades setup and spent most of my time running around taking care of that rather than just relaxing and enjoying the day. so this year i only had a few small trades setup with past trading partners, and i took care of half of them at flossmoor on friday night. i think my final haul when i got home was about 2.5 cases of beer and a couple of growlers. quality over quantity this year i guess.

another great road trip to dark lord day. already looking forward to the next one!

i didn't take many photos, but chris and ryan/rgtravers were nice enough to send me a few that they took, so i've added them in here.

the sweet dark lord day banner.

i took these for jenn. she likes root beer, and since she doesn't come along on the dark lord day roadtrip she missed out on it. signage from the train car at flossmoor.

our badass cooler at DLD. every time we'd pull a bottle out, there'd be another one to go back in its place. we shared many fine brews with many fine people on this day.

eric and some of the folks we were hangin' with. chris with the cowboy hat, alex/rhinos00 having a drink, alex's buddy (who's name is escaping me), eric/Viggo, and april/Aprilluvsbeer.

me and the ohio crew.

part way through the day eric let aliza/naproxen borrow his jacket in exchange for her sunglasses. he added the ponytail to complete this excellent look.

the line heading in to buy dark lord

me fighting to get the cork out of the killa gorilla. when we were first figuring out corking+caging, a few of the corks ended up in a little deeper than others, and thus a little more difficult to remove. ryan/rgtravers ended up working it free.

closeup shot of my sweet label. this one went over really well. in fact, ryan said it was one of his favourites of the weekend. high praise indeed!

Posted by grub at 12:48 AM

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


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.


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

October 23, 2007

volo cask days 2007

another october brings the annual volo cask days festival. although there are other festivals through the year, this is the only one that i always consider a "must see". there's just no topping the array of excellent cask beer that ralph brings together for this event. there's always some standard offerings, but many of the local brewers put together special edition and one-off casks for the event that you just can't find elsewhere.

we were fortunate enough to be invited to brew beer for last year's event, and with the success there we were happy to be invited back this year.

our primary offering this time around was a new take on hopocalypse, last year's favourite. we brewed up the new version, dubbed hopocalypse redux.

i decided to whip something up using a bunch of my cascade hops, and settled upon an american imperial porter that i dubbed casc imperial porter. you can see the brew day blog for more details.

finally, like last year we also brought in something on tap. this time out it was our monk's elixer belgian strong dark ale. this one was brewed back in may so it would have some time to mellow out before the fest.

all three beers were very well received and we had a great time hanging out and talking with everybody all weekend.

some additional links to discussion of the event:

bartowel thread
flickr group
steven beaumont blog post
toronto star article

on with the photos!

carl setting up. eric and i arrived early to help with setup. carl was trying to match up all his signs with the casks (which weren't all marked). some taste testing solved any ambiguity though.

labeling the beers. eric helping with the signs.

the line starts to form. a few early arrivals, eager to have some breakfast and get things rolling.

breakfast buffet. the breakfast spread. tons of excellent food. i was expecting a simple continental breakfast and got a fine mix of hot stuff, continental, and other great food.

the first 6: wind & sail dark ale (barley days), hopburn ale (camerons), hop bomb (black oak), bourbon barreled 2005 nutcracker porter (black oak), west coast ipa (church key), and hop bomb "STFU" pale ale (black oak).

7 more: hop head ipa (county durham), fuller's esb (fullers), blak kat stout (county durham), taste of ontario harvest ale (f&m), london pride (fullers), george's herbal mild (george eagleson), and pumpkin ale (great lakes).

another 5: mill race mild (grand river), plowman's ale (grand river), best bitter special (granite), keefe oak chip steeped irish stout (granite), and devil's pale ale (great lakes).

6 more: ipa (mill street), stewart's organic ale (heritage), traditional english dark ale with vanilla beans (hockley), maclean's pale ale dry hopped (macleans), fog on the tyne (magnotta), and left hook barley wine (nickel brook).

and 7: jackson's best bitter (st andre), peppermint stout (trafalgar), perry's atomic pumpkin ale (scotch irish), arkell best bitter (wellington), grains of wrath (church key), and special pale ale dry hopped (wellington>).


breakfast with the brewers

more breakfast

me, beer

mike and me. my father in law, usually a coors light man, is never afraid to try new beer. one of these days i'll bring him away from the dark side.

mike, me, kathy. talking with my inlaws.


mike, jenn, me, kathy. my wife and her mom don't even drink beer, but came out to show their support. jenn ended up loving the monk's elixer and has requested that i keep it regularly on tap at home.

jan. our most junior biergotter member was proud to have helped brew our beers and couldn't get enough of the monk's elixer either.

jan and me

beer talk. so many people stopped to talk and compliment us on our beer. it's really a thrill to take part in something like this and have so many people share in what we make.

food. as always with volo, the food was top notch. mike was checking things out and giving his approval.

hopocalypse redux! this hazy beast had almost 50% more malt than last year, and more than 50% more hops. double dry hopped for even more hop intensity. not quite as balanced as last year, but that wasn't the idea - we wanted this one to be a little over the top. i could easily pick it out in a crowd just from the colour and the intense haze all the hops left.

crowd shot

my lovely wife and i

homebrew station. the first pin of hopocalypse redux was gone in about 2 hours. in session 2 we brought out the casc imperial porter - a big american porter featuring a whole bunch of my homegrown cascade hops. session 3 got the tail end of the porter and a fresh pin of hopocalypse redux. took less than an hour on sunday for the porter to run out, and about two hours for the second pin of redux to go dry.

not seen in the picture was our monk's elixer belgian strong dark ale that was on tap and ran out around 9pm on saturday.

robert hughey's totally bitter ale was pouring beside us all weekend.

jan and me


the bar

cheese. saturday evening snacks.


saturday night crowd. eric in the middle.

more saturday night crowd

need more ice! sunday the temps soared to a surprising 79F/26C - unheard of for this time of year. ralph had to grab many bags of ice to keep the casks at a reasonable temperature. worked out pretty well.

sunday morning

getting hot

sunday crowd

more sunday crowd

eric, me, jan. the worn and weary biergotter crew, late on sunday afternoon. all three of us spent the whole weekend at volo, sharing lots of great beer, great conversation, and good times. too bad the whole crew couldn't have been there!

update: much like last year, ralph had ballots for attendees to vote for their favourite beer and favourite beer name. once again, biergotter has come out on top, winning "Favourite Cask" for hopocalypse redux. thanks to everyone who voted for us! congrats also to magnotta who won "Favourite Name" for their Fog on the Tyne.

in addition, it's our pleasure to have contributed all the proceeds from our beer towards the $2707.92 that was raised for the Sick Kids Foundation. thanks to everybody who contributed!

Posted by grub at 12:29 PM

June 11, 2007

GCHC 2007

each year the Canadian Amateur Brewers Association holds several homebrewing competitions, including the Great Canadian Homebrew Conference and Competition 2007. the biergotter crew entered 3 beers in this competition and were rewarded with medals in 2 of the 3 categories.

our first entry was the "eised" version of the single malt scotch ale [brew day report]. feedback on it was positive, and although it didn't win a medal it actually scored higher than our bronze medal beer.

the first award went to our wheat wine [brew day report]. this beer took the bronze medal for 3rd place in the barleywine category. sweet!

the second award went to our Imperial Stout [brew day report]. this one stole the category, earning a gold medal for its first place finish. excellent!

i also got scoring sheets for all three beers. for reference, here's the BJCP scoring guide:
world class (45-50): world class beer. great character and now flaws.
excellent (38-44): exceptionally exemplifies style. needs little or no attention.
very good (30-37): exemplifies style well. requires some fine tuning.
good (21-29): generally within style parameters but requires attention.
fair (14-20): does not exemplify style and/or has several major flaws.
problem (0-13): problematic. recipe or brewing technique needs attention.

eised smoked scotch ale (22B - other smoked beer)
form 1:
aroma: 9/12. slightly smokey aroma and good malt
appearance: 3/3. nice colour and head.
flavour: 14/20. smoke flavour up front, mellows out to malt sweetness.
mouthfeel: 3/5. sweetness and carbonation balance each other well
overall impression: 8/10. not assertively smokey which makes for a nice drinking beer. this is a well made beer.
total: 37/50

form 2:
aroma: 9/12. subtle smoke coming through, can still pick up malt.
appearance: 2/3. fine.
flavour: 14/20. subtle smokiness. a little sweet for a scotch ale, but nice never the less.
mouthfeel: 4/5. nice mouth feel. smoke doesn't burn me!
overall impression: 7/10. more smoke aroma would have been nice, but nice balance.
total: 36/50

mini-wheat wine (19C - american barley wine). bronze medal winner in barley wine class.
form 1:
aroma: 9/12. nice spicy nose. malt predominates.
appearance: 3/3. ok.
flavour: 13/20. good malty flavour. hoppiness comes through, especially in the aftertaste.
mouthfeel: 3/5. good carbonation and syrupy mouthfeel. warming alcohol.
overall impression: 6/10. nice beer. well made. only fault is syrupy body.
total: 34/50

form 2:
aroma: 10/12. good maltiness. slightly spicy. ok for style.
appearance: 3/3. colour ok for style. head retention low. colour ok.
flavour: 12/20. syrupy taste very slight, nice bitter aftertaste.
mouthfeel: 3/5. slightly lighter body than style calls for.
overall impression: 7/10. nice entry with only minor flaws.
total: 35/50

magic elixer imperial stout (13F - russian imperial stout). gold medal winner in stout class.
form 1:
aroma: 9/12. alcoholic. high alcohols. rich and complex.
appearance: 2/3. dark and dark head, although not much head.
flavour: 15/20. complex malts. chocolatey, prunes, coffee, warming at the end.
mouthfeel: 4/5. has good body, creamy.
overall impression: 8/10. a lovely beer. can i have more?!
total: 38/50

form 2:
aroma: 9/12. slightly burnt aroma - ok for style. slight fruitiness also present.
appearance: 3/3. deep tan head. low retention.
flavour: 14/20. rich. malty, intense burnt flavour on finish. slight coffee-like taste.
mouthfeel: 4/5. full bodied (on low end) but to style.
overall impression: 7/10. good beer, very enjoyable. no major flaws. could drink lots of this.
total: 37/50

pretty darn good for our first competition.

the medals.

the guy from great lakes brewery talking about their orange peel ale and devil's pale ale. he was nice enough to fill in when the scheduled speaker bailed at the last minute. unfortunately, i have forgotten his name...

a few shots of the crowd. first one is taken down the table from where i was sitting. other photos from the same location showing the rest of the room.

kevin helping john from munro's meadery get setup. he had 6 different meads for us to sample. i think the raspberry was my favourite, but they were all nice.

john again. i actually sat across from him during the dinner and enjoyed talking with him. really nice guy. i hope to get down and check out the meadery at some point in the future.

the bronze!

the gold!

biergotter biotch!!!

Posted by grub at 1:47 PM

May 2, 2007

dark lord day 2007

back in january i put out a feeler to the other biergotter guys. i was considering attending dark lord day, the one day a year that three floyds sells their dark lord russian imperial stout. this year's release would be on saturday april 28th and i was thinking of making the trip. most of the other guys thought they'd be unavailable, but eric expressed interest.

as the date got closer, we started to finalize plans. eric's girlfriend alexa would be making the trip down from toronto, and even had a friend in downtown chicago that was going to let us stay there. free crash space = good! we decided we'd drive down on friday, stay in chicago friday night, head to dark lord day on saturday, back to chicago to crash saturday night, then back home to toronto on sunday. while in chicago we'd visit some local spots, and having someone from the area with us meant we should be able to avoid most of the traffic headaches.

if you're not aware, dark lord day is much more than just a chance to buy the highest rated american beer, it's a full day festival. three floyds are very supportive of the whole beer geek crowd. there is a tent and lots of tables for beer tasting. really, it's a giant beer tasting free for all. everybody adds bottles to the tables and you're pretty much free to sample whatever you like. there's also a ton of beer trading that goes on. some folks set them up in advance, and just about everybody brings extra beer along to share and trade. 3F also had bands for entertainment and their own wares available for purchase.

so we had all the plans laid out, trades arranged, and everything ready to go. then we hit a bit of a snag... the monday before DLD started like any other. dropped jenn off at the go train and headed in to work. by about 10am, i wasn't feeling that great. my stomach was starting to hurt and i was feeling a little nauseous. thinking i might be a little hungry, i had a light snack. still, but it didn't help. i continued to feel worse, and the pain intensified. i started feeling dizzy and incredibly nauseous. by about noon i knew i couldn't stay at work, but also wasn't in good enough shape to drive myself home. i made a quick walk around the office to see if any of the guys on my team could drive me home, but it seemed everyone was either working from home or away at lunch. by about 12:30 i had mustered up enough strength that i thought i could get myself home, so i left, taking the back roads and taking my time.

when i got home i pretty much dropped into the bed and tried to sleep. i was still getting worse, and couldn't fall asleep. it felt like my entire abdomen was in knots and i was really struggling not to be sick. shortly after this jenn arrived home, having left work when i talked to her before i drove home. she ran out to pick up some gravol, hoping this would help. it didn't, and i continued to feel worse. i was also running a slight fever. it was like nothing i had ever felt before, so i thought something could really be wrong.

we decided to call telehealth and see what they said. when i explained my symptoms, the nurse said that i should probably see my family doctor, and if it got worse i might consider going to the hospital. we decided that the family doc would likely just send me to the ER, so we skipped the middle man and went to the hospital.

we arrived at the hospital at about 3:30pm and began the great wait. i was barely functional at that point and pretty much curled up in a chair. we sat there for what seemed like forever, continuing to feel worse. somewhere around 7:30pm i finally got in. i got to lay down, and they decided to do some tests. they took a bunch of blood and urine and hooked me up to an IV. the morphine and gravol did a good job of making me feel better, and around 12:30am the results were finally back. no problems in the urinary track. no obvious GI issues. i did have a slightly elevated white cell count and a lingering low grade fever. their biggest suspicion were either appendicitis or some kind of bug, but i didn't have the usual localized appendix pain. since i was pretty much feeling better by that point, they sent me home and said to come back in the morning for an ultrasound to verify that there was no appendicitis.

i got home around 1am after a long and incredibly unpleasant ordeal and finally managed to sleep. bright and early at 7am the phone rang. it was the hospital telling me that i was scheduled for the ultrasound at 9:30am. i sent out a quick email to let work know what was going on and headed for the hospital. fortunately the ultrasound was negative, and they said that i definitely didn't have appendicitis. woohoo! sigh of relief. but what the hell was that?!?? it sure didn't feel like any bug i'd experienced before, and i sure hope i don't again.

when i heard 'appendicitis', i figured that the trip would be canceled. i know that's not the sort of thing that you do on tuesday, then hop in the car and drive 3500km on the weekend. i was unhappy, but glad to be feeling better. getting the news that there was no appendicitis was good, but it didn't explain why i'd felt like that and if it was gone for good.

i took the next couple of days pretty easy. i talked to everyone i had trades setup with what had happened and that my status was uncertain. when wednesday evening came and i was still feeling great, we decided to go ahead with the trip. the only condition was that if i started feeling anything like on monday, we'd be turning around right away. jenn helped to map out some hospitals along the way, just in case.

when thursday afternoon came and i left work, spirits were good. i was still feeling great and the trip was looking good. eric and alexa took the bus up to my place and we started packing the car. wow, we had a lot of stuff. really. a lot. 4 passengers, 3 of us with weekend bags and one with a large suitcase. both eric and i setup trades, and we also grabbed extra local stuff to bring down for trading/tasting. i ended up bringing down some stuff for a few trades that jan had setup too. and some homebrew for a tasting that i was trying to setup at DLD. did i mention that it's a little mazda 3? yeah, lots of stuff.

on friday morning we got the last of the stuff in the car and rolled out of the driveway at about 9am. the car was full to the max. the middle of the back seat was full, and both eric and alexa had stuff on their laps, with stuff at my feet in the front. jenn had volunteered to drive the first shift down to her parent's place, where she'd be staying for the weekend.

we stopped in stoney point and dropped off jenn, stopping to have some tasty sandwiches for lunch.

from there it was off through windsor and over the border to detroit. our next stop was at kuhnhenn to pick up some growlers for trading (2x american ipa) and sharing (penetration porter and simcoe silly). we sat long enough for a beer (penetration porter for eric and i, banana stout for alexa), then headed out again.

the next stop was adventures in homebrewing to pick up some supplies. this is where i get most of my homebrewing supplies, and we needed to get a few things for our next few batches. i also grabbed a sweet old guardian glass, since i forgot to bring something for sampling at DLD. it's become my favourite sampling glass.

with traffic between those two stops, we were running a little behind schedule, so we skipped our last stop at merchant's and left for chicago.

the drive down was (pleasantly!) uneventful and we arrived in downtown chicago at about 8pm. we stopped at sam's for a couple goodies, then went across the street to the goose island clybourn brewpub. we relaxed and enjoyed some food and a couple beverages. the english malt porter was awesome. we headed over to alexa's friend's place and crashed for the night.

the next morning we woke and left for munster. it took about an hour to get there, with a quick stop for some breakfast on the way. it was about 10:30am when we arrived, and the crowd was already growing.

crowds out front of three floyds.

it's noon and the doors open! wooho!

the line was moving slowly.

getting closer...

finally inside the door (but still in line), i snapped a few photos.

this is about where the batteries in my camera died. i had an extra set, but of course they were in the car and i was trapped in line.

eventually i got to the front of the line and got my dark lord, as well as rabbid rabbit, robert the bruce, and black sun. i wanted a bottle of behemoth, but sadly it sold out before i got to the front of the line.

i brought my dark lord out to the car and started trying to resolve the last of my trades. it didn't take too long, and soon i was finally able to relax and enjoy a few samples. we slipped inside to get samples of the barrel aged dark lord. another favourite was the thomas hooker barrel aged imperial porter. got to sample some nice homebrew too, though i wasn't able to round people up for that homebrew tasting. maybe next year.

after putting the new batteries in my camera i went back inside and snapped a few photos. gotta love the piles of kegs, bottles, and the wall of 1000# bags of grain.

one of eric's favourite parts of the day: imperial battle snake. he was talking about how awesome the band name was for the entire trip, so it was nice when they were pretty good. he even bought one of their shirts, and seems to have worn it every time i've seen him since then.

the alpha king.

6 barrels (left to right, top to bottom):

  • DL 07
  • BLACK SUN 11.14.06
  • ALPHA KLAUS 11.??.06
  • BEHEMOTH 12.16.06 (with what appears to be a cherry?)
  • BEHEMOTH 12.16.06
  • VB DL 07 (vanilla bean?)

piles of bottles, and the swag table in the distance.

peering over to the brewery.

late in the day, this guy was one of the most memorable moments. a six pack of alpha king, purchased (likely warm) inside, 4 down, 1 on the go, and 1 unopened. asleep at the wheel. hardcore.

not long after this we decided to head back to chicago. it had been a long, hot day and we were all pretty tired and sunburned. we loaded up the (still overflowing) car with the spoils of the day and headed out. after a brief stop at alexa's place so she could pick up her car, we headed downtown again. our initial plan had been to check out the map room, but instead we just went back to the goose island clybourn brewpub again. dinner and a few more tasty beverages. exhausted, we left for alexa's friend's place.

then we had the pleasure of driving around for an hour trying to find a place to park. i was so tired and beyond frustrated, but we finally found a place (good one too!) and i basically passed out as soon as we were inside.

sunday morning i woke up early, and at about 7am eric and i hit the road. a pleasant and uneventful drive, and we were in detroit shortly after noon.

crossing the border was fun. since it was just eric and i, when i told them we had about 8 cases of beer, i knew we'd be paying duty. we each got a case duty free since we'd been in the US for 48 hours, but still had to pay duty on 6. this was complicated by the fact that all the beer was from trades and/or gifts, so we didn't have any receipts. i told them that i'd brought about 6 cases of beer down to the US with me and had traded for things of equal value, so we just went with the approximate price i'd paid ($42/case). we each paid about $50 duty, which wasn't too bad considering what we had in the car.

eric and i posing with the haul. yep, there's that imperial battle snake shirt. he also had about a case and a half of beer waiting for him there, so the final total when we left for home was about 10 cases of beer in the car.

when i finally got home this is what i had. some stuff in the middle for jan, but most of that is mine.

dark lord day was one hell of a party. what a blast. though the 2500km in 2.5 days was a little much. even though i was driving and had to take it easy the whole time, i still got to try some great stuff along the way and bring home a ton more. some stats:

14x 22oz
1x 11.2oz
3x 750ml
42x 12oz
1x 64oz

total ~ 82x 12oz = 3.5 cases, 12 wants, 42 different beers, 38 that i've never tried.

that doesn't include the approx 4 cases eric had, or the case i had for jan. i don't think i could have possibly fit any more in my little mazda...

already looking forward to next year.

Posted by grub at 10:21 AM

October 22, 2006

volo cask day 2006

saturday was a great day for beer lovers in the toronto area, as volo hosted their second annual cask days festival. 20 breweries and two home brewers (including us) offered a wide selection of cask conditioned beers for an incredible one-of-a-kind event.

our last two brew days had a single purpose: the "secret october project". although we dropped lots of not-so-subtle hints and thought everyone knew what was going on, not even everyone within the club knew exactly what the SOP was. the "secret october project" was this year's edition of the volo cask days, specifically us not just being guests but also participants in this festival.

ralph initially asked us to brew up a hoppy west coast ipa (with some balls, unlike most of the stuff available in ontario). we've brewed up several american IPAs, so figured this was something we could do well.

so we did two pins (5gal casks), one for each session. we brewed up two trial batches to evaluate the beer under cask conditions and verify that it would carbonate ok and everything. did the same base batch, but with two different hop setups: one with lots of simcoe and cascade (eric's setup) and one with lots of amarillo (my suggestion, similar to the wheatwine that jay and i brewed). the final brew was a hybrid of the two batches, with simcoe for FWH+bittering and amarillo the rest of the way (including 2oz of amarillo in each cask). the hopocalypse was born.

ralph also wanted to do an IPA competition of sorts, with all his taps devoted to IPAs, so we also decided to throw something in for that. we ended up doing something along the lines of a ruination clone. right around 8% and pretty damn deadly. it also had 2oz of centennial dry hops in the keg. i named this one devastation.

thursday evening i delivered the two casks of hopocalypse and the keg of devastation to volo. eric and i volunteered to arrive early on saturday to help out with setup, knowing that it would probably be a little chaotic and there would be a ton of last minute details to sort out.

we arrived saturday morning at 10am, an hour before openning. the patio was full of casks and the staff was busy preparing the cheese sampler boxes that went into everyone's bags, and doing the final bag assembly. eric went to help ralph make sure our keg was hooked up and ready to go and i set to work putting up the labels for all the casks. a little rearranging inside and soon the doors were open for the first session (11:00am - 4:00pm).

the first thing we needed to figure out was which beer to sample first. since it was still morning and i woke up far too early, an imperial coffee stout seemed like a great idea. eric agreed and we each got a sample of dieu du ciel p�ch� mortel imperial coffee stout. it surely did not disappoint and was definitely one of my favourites for the day.

from there we moved inside and hung out around where our beers were being served. it was fun to watch everyone's reaction and to hear all the varied and interesting pronunciations people came up with for "hopocalypse".

my favourite moment: talking with george eagleson about how breweries change and the old days of places like upper canada, back when they still made good beer. i mentioned my favourite beer ever, the limited edition drayman's tawny porter that they produced around 1994. his response was 'oh yeah, i brewed that'. i just might have to pick his brain and see if i can extract that recipe for future reference...

our biggest fan: perry and his friend from scotch irish. the hopocalypse was one of the first beers they tried and they raved about it all day. perry was telling everyone in the first session that they had to try the hopocalypse and was calling it the best beer there, even better than his own contributions. you just don't get much higher praise than that. at this point i figured if nobody else liked our beer all day i'd still be a happy man, since we had received such praise from him.

so many people raving about the beers (or crying that they had missed it). i kept having variations on this conversation all day:

them: hey, where can i buy your beer?
me: you can't
them: where are you based?
me: my garage in markham?
them: well when are you guys going commercial?
me: no idea, might happen sometime. who knows.
them: no really, when are you going commercial? seriously, you have to!

the first pin of hopocalypse ran out at 3:10pm. the keg of devastation died less than 10 min later. the second pin didn't even last 4 hours into the second session and was gone at 9:50pm. only other keg/cask to run out before i left was the admiral perry.

although opinions varied the praise and appreciation for our creations seemed to be universal. eric and i truly had a blast talking with everyone all day. the names all blurred together after a while, we wanted to say thanks to the pros, the home brewers, the friends, family, and the fans. wow, even the idea of having 'fans' is a little crazy.

some links to other discussion of the fest:
thread on bartowel
thread on beer advocate
flickr photo group
Toronto Star article
GregClow's blog post

now for some photos!

not directly related to the cask fest, but just something else fun and charity-related. at work we do a big fund raising event for the month of october, with all sorts of activities to raise money for lots of good causes. i came up with the idea to auction off a batch of beer, personalized to the winner's specifications. this is the display i put together for the day of the silent auction (note the two stubbies featuring the devastation label). the auction raised over $1100 with my contribution accounting for almost 10% of the total at $105. maybe the lucky winner will want some hopocalypse?

two of the homebrewed entries for the day. robert hughey's "GHB" (generously hopped bitter) and the first pin of our hopocalypse ipa.

the taps, some of which are different than they appear. on the right is our other beer, the devastation ipa.

in addition to the casks that ralph had previously announced, he also got some special stuff on tap. included for this event was Vaisseau des Songes (Dream Ship) from dieu du ciel and our devastation.

great lakes brewery devil's pale ale
black oak brewery dirty bomb nut brown ale
granite brewery peculiar dark ale aged in bourbon barrel
trafalgar brewery strawberry anti-social brown ale

wellington brewery imperial russian stout
george eagleson pear ginger oatmeal stout
neustadt big dog beaujolais porter
dieu du ciel p�ch� mortel imperial coffee stout

church key brewing west coast ipa
county durham brewery hop addict ipa
dieu du ciel corne de diable american ipa
scotch irish brewing admiral perry imperial ipa

camerons brewery hopburn ale
black oak brewery h & h overkill
mill st brewery tankhouse
st. andre brewery doug & larry's harvest ale

cool brewery millennium buzz
heritage brewery smokin' maple
king brewery king dark lager
beau's all natural brewing lug tread lagered ale

the staff working on setup before the doors opened for the day.

ralph trying to direct the chaos of the final half hour before opening. on the right is one of the guys from scotch irish. i talked with him for a long time in the first session and feel terrible that his name has become a blur. all that beer and meeting 9823724 people has a tendency to do that...

there was a line forming a half hour before openning.

eric gives the thumbs up on the event, and that's before we'd even had any beer!

and me, excited and ready for the day to start.

as soon as the doors opened the real fun began. here's eric and i raising our glasses to this excellent day.

my lovely wife jenn came out to show her support, and even drank the hopocalypse. she doesn't really drink beer, so that's quite a compliment. she keeps us fed and hydrated on brew days so we couldn't do it without her.

our biggest fan for the day was definitely perry from scotch irish. here we see him holding up the label from our beer and drinking it double fisted. he was telling everyone about our beer and kept coming back for more himself. having one of the best brewers in the province tell you that you've got the best beer at the fest, better even than his own contributions, is high praise that we were very honoured to get and couldn't thank him enough. both eric and i spent lots of time talking with him.

by 3:10pm the first pin of hopocalypse had run dry. within 10 minutes the keg of devastation ran out too.

here's eric having some coffee just before the start of the second session. we brought out the second pin and stuck the label i made for it on the back end. love the 'hop and crossbones' that i came up with.

and my turn to pose with our second pin.

the patio with all the casks also had a list of the stuff on tap, so that people wouldn't miss out.

one of the posters with the new logo for this year's cask days.

had to snap a shot of the picture for the p�ch� mortel since it was on hand for the fest. chatted with several of the guys from DDC and look forward to trying more of their beers in the future. all three on hand today were great, but this one was definitely my favourite.

shot of the crowd during the evening session. was pretty packed, but everyone seemed to be very courteous and didn't mind as you forced your way through to find more beer.

eric sampling some hopocalypse and the staff trying to keep up with requests. there was some great stuff at this station, so they were pretty busy.

the second pin of hopocalypse ran out faster than the first, drying up at 9:50pm.

more crowd shots, including some of the guys from DDC in the last one.

wow. what an amazing day. thank you to all the brewers who brought such great beer, everyone that we talked to for your kind words of support and encouragement, and most importantly to ralph and everyone at volo for making this incredible day happen and allowing us to be a part of it.


update: stopped by volo on monday and there was still several casks that had not run out. tried a couple things that i hadn't got to on saturday (the devil's pale ale and the strawberry anti-social) and talked with some of the folks from saturday. as it turns out, the keg of devastation was not empty as we thought, but was still about half full. my best guess is that the hop bag must have ruptured and clogged up the works, so no beer was flowing out. too bad that nobody in the second session got a chance to try this one. now i need to see if i can get it working so i can enjoy some of it!

updated again: Volo is taking votes for the best beer in the fest, just send an email to vote@barvolo.com with your pick. if you're reading this, maybe you'd like to vote for us, so i'll make it easy and give you some links: vote for hopocalypse or vote for devastation (feel free to add in something in the body of the message thanking ralph and the volo crew for this great event and encouraging them to do this again next year!).

updated one more time: the results are in: hopocalypse has won the "best one off" category for the volo cask days! thanks to everyone who voted for us and to all the support we've received.

Posted by grub at 3:41 PM

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