Monday, April 27, 2009


I wonder how many Satanists are doing Google searches and coming up with hits about this event? Ok, so here we go: the much anticipated Dark Lord Day had finally arrived!Sales of the beer started at 11, but we figured there was no rush to get down there, considering the lines from previous years. Also, the thunder we woke up to and the rain hitting our window didn't hurry us either. Once the weather cleared, we decided to walk to Three Floyds, allowing us to better take in the scenery, like the Mighty Munster River pictured here.

It was a good thing we walked, as there were cars parking a half mile away from Three Floyds, with people lined up waiting for parking, or stuck behind the semi that had to maneuver down a small street with cars parked on both siides and swaggering pedestrians carrying cases of Dark Lord.

Once we got to the site, the line to buy Dark Lord was the first thing I noticed. It snaked around from Three Floyds' warehouse, all the way down, and down, and down the street. I felt a little discouraged at first, thinking that I would be spending my entire day standing in a line. But we decided to take a walk around first, and see what was going on under some tents that were set up near the brewpub.

And that's where we met our first new best friend of the day: Dan. Dan had driven down from Wisconsin, making a stop in Minnesota for, get this, 15 growlers of Masala Mama IPA and 20 tallboy cans of Surly Furious IPA, among other things he brought. He introduced us to the idea of the "tasting tables" that were under the tents. People brought stuff just to share with other beer lovers! We decided to put off waiting in line for a bit and made our rounds of the tables.

Look at this stuff! And it wasn't like people were bringing cans of Tecate like you would to a picnic or something; this was stuff that even I was gaga over. And when I use a stupid word like gaga, you know it was good stuff. I'll give a full list at the end of this post.

Then we met another new best friend: Gary (pictured with his wife April). Gary is a bakery manager at a Chicago Whole Foods, and he brought all kinds of beer and food with him. He had two coolers that he just kept pulling more and more stuff from, food that was better than the peanut butter pretzels that we grabbed at the convenience store. French cheeses, veal and other kinds of sausages and mustard, not to mention the beers! He even gave us a couple of unopened rarities to take home with us. Come to think of it, Dan gave us beer too. And for nothing in return; this is just how cool they were.

That brings us to another new best friend: Alex. Alex rode the "Lush Bus" from Chicago for the event, and introduced us to the "Fancy Beers" that Three Floyds had on tap inside their warehouse for the event. I knew that there were going to be guest taps, but I thought they were tapped in the brewpub and the line to get in there was almost as bad as the line to buy Dark Lord. But Alex guided like a sherpa, and led me to beers on tap that were either rare new releases or beers that I had written off as "never to be seen again".

Dark Lord was only on sale till 6, so we finally dragged ourselves over to the area whre the beer was sold...and there was NO line. We just walked up to the table and picked up our beer. I am SOOOOOO thankful we decided to walk around first. Why anyone would wait in a line like that when there is so much else to do is beyond me, but whatever. We got ours!

After we had had our fill of everything (and we had more than our fill, believe me), we got a ride from strangers back to our hotel. I have no idea who those people were, but since Munster had one cab servicing the whole town, and the temperature had dropped 30 degrees in an hour, I was glad to accept the ride. So thanks to them, and thanks for not dumping us in the Munster River. Back at the hotel, we saw that impromptu beer sharing was taking place in the lounge area, and we had to join in with some of our Hop Stoopid and Founders Breakfast Stout. I wish we had something rarer to share, but hey, we flew from Albuquerque and weren't able to transport as well as we had hoped. But next year, we will come fully armed. Yes, this is an event that will be burned on our calendars for as long as it goes on.

Thanks to all the amazing people we made freinds with on this day- you made what we thought would be a fun day a truly special one!

What we Tried:

Three Floyds Alpha King
Bell's Hopslam
Minneapolis Town Hall Brewery Masala Mama IPA
Ballast Point Sculpin IPA
Duck Rabbit Barleywine
Surly Furious IPA
Abita Andygator
Oaken Barrel Alabaster
Longshot DIPA
Flossmoor Station IPA
Bell's Oberon
2009 Dark Lord draft
2009 Vanilla Bean Dark Lord draft
Founders Kentucky Breakfast Stout
Surly Cynic
Founders Imperial Stout
Black Angus Oatmeal Stout
Double Crooked Tree DIPA
Blind Tiger Coffee Stout
New Glarus Unplugged
Surly Bender
Left Hand/Terrapin Terra' Rye'zd
Jolly Pumpkin Madruga Obscura Dark Day Stout
Some guy's homebrewed stout on oak chips that were soaked in bourbon and charred
2007 Goose Island Bourbon County Stout
Pivova Herold Imperial Pilsner
B.O.R.I.S. The Crusher Imperial Oameal Stout
Ale Asylum Bamboozanator
Central Waters Glacial Trail IPA
Pizza Port Infamous Chocolate
Founders Canadian Breakfast Stout
DFH/Three Floyds Popskull
Voodoo Brewing Voodoo Love Child
Bridgeport Old Knucklehead Barleywine
Founders Porter
Capital Brewing Maibock
Surly Tea Bagged Furious
Central Waters Satin Solstice Imperial Stout
De Struise Black Albert
Stone 10th Anniversary draft
2006 Brandy Barrel Aged Stone Double Bastard
Three Floyds Brian Boru cask
Barrel Aged B.O.R.I.S.
Big Rock Saison St. Claire
New Glarus Belgian Red
Bo's Been to Jail homebrew
Three Floyds Gumballhead
Midnight Sun Earth

Next- The Windy City

Friday, April 24, 2009

Prologue- Dark Lord Day 2009

I got the normal lack of sleep that precludes a beer trip, and then we were on our way to Dark Lord Day 2009. We had to make a stop in Denver to change planes and had time to check out the beers in the Denver airport. There was a Rock Bottom Brewery that had a pale, brown, and wheat ale on tap, and also the Timberline steakhouse that featured Avery Karma and Ellie's Brown, Stone IPA, and Lefthand Sawtooth Ale. Not bad for an airport.

The connecting flight got us into Chicago 15 minutes early, though the landing made me glad I didn't sample any of the beers in Denver. So the first order of business after getting our rental car? Finding the nearest beer store, naturally. We had 8 miles of red light streets to maneuver before hitting an interstate, so we knew there had to be a store sooner or later.

We passed up a couple of places that seemed pretty sketchy, given the neighborhood we were driving through, and continued until we came upon a place that looked a little safer. Safer, but still had a security guard posted outside. He even had his own handcuffs. No gun, mind you, but handcuffs. How do you get someone to put those on? By saying please? Anyway, this rundown store had a wall of craft beers that had me taking pictures on my phone and sending them to my buddy Marcus; I was so excited, I had to tell a friend! Beers I hadn't been able to get anywhere else, like the Founders line, Dark Horse, Three Floyds, Bell's...but we had to show restraint. We still have a lot of traveling left, so we only picked up a couple of things for the room. Restraint. It was tough.

We drove the 30 or so miles to our destination of Munster, Indiana...yeah, I said it. Munster, Indiana! Hey, some people choose Albuquerque for a vacation, why not Munster? Of course, we were visiting Munster because it is the home of Three Floyds Brewery, which has brewed an imperial stout so renowned that it has earned its own one day release, "Dark Lord Day", which happens tomorrow (though tomorrow is today. Saturday. Unless you are really late in reading this).

We checked into the one hotel in town, the sold out Hampton Inn, which is a really nice, new hotel. Indoor pool, wet bar with fridge and microwave in the room, hot breakfast...all the things I have grown accustomed to in my position as the Abqbeergeek. Plus it is only a mile away from Three Floyds, stumbling distance if we decide not to drive.

We went to the brewpub to get a taste of the place before it was overrun by thousands of beer fans. Three Floyds itself is located back in a business park area. You could work in the building next door for a lifetime and have no idea that some of the country's best and most sought after beers were being brewed next door.

We got a seat at the colorful bar and though they had 11 of their own beers and 9 guest taps, we both went right for their double IPA, Dreadnaught. At over 100 ibus and 9% abv, it was just what we needed after a day of travel. And that beer is sooo good! We tried to get a growler to take to our room, but Indiana laws prevent beers that high in alcohol to be sold in growlers. Poor us, we had to "settle" for a growler of Alpha King.

One of the great things that an event like this does is create a meeting place for so many people who share a love for craft beer. On both sides of us at the bar were local Indiana guys who had great stories to tell about Three Floyds and brewing in Indiana. We got to hang out with Bob Ostrander, founder of (we website guys tend to hang together; I'd invite you but it's a pretty exclusive club). His site is full of local information and beer travel stories as well, so whether you are traveling to Indiana or just want to read some beer tales you should check out the site.

We headed back to the room before we could do too much damage to ourselves. Saturday was sure to be a long day filled with lots of beer. Plus had an indoor pool that was calling us, and a refrigerator stocked full of necessities.

Next: Dark Lord Day 2009!!!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Happy Birthday

To the most popular one-year-old in town, Marble Brewery. They are celebrating today with live music and door prizes. Let's hope you don't win a growler coozie as your prize. If you do, throw it in a box with your fanny pack and never touch it again. Of course, no Marble event would be complete without Three String Bale, and they will indeed be performing at Marble today. I might stop by, though I told myself I was going to stay away from beer because we are heading to Chicago tomorrow for what will be a major week of beer sampling, but my willpower is notoriously wimpy.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Hot Weather Beers for Cold Weather Nights

It must be Spring in Albuquerque, as the Summer beers have arrived. Sam Adams Summer Styles 12-packs are on the shelves, as well as Sierra Nevada Summerfest 6-packs. The Sam Adams mixed box includes the staples: Boston Lager, Light, and Summer Ale. New to the series is the Blackberry Witbeer, which made its debut awhile back and must have sold well to be added to the series. The two other styles included, Hefeweizen and Pale Ale, are not available in 6-packs here so you must buy the Summer 12-pack to get these beers. Kelly's has a $11.99 special going on all Sam Adams 12-packs so if the weather ever gets warm, the Summer series would be a nice mix for a barbecue beer cooler. Actually, by the time the weather gets warm, Sam Adams will probably have released their Winter Series, full of Double Bock and Imperial Stout goodness, perfect for chugging while listening to baseball on the radio on a hot, sticky Summer night.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Beer Wars Tonight

Tickets are still available...anyone out there going besides Jenn and me? Anyway, I figure to be at Chama's Tap Room on 2nd street after the movie because I haven't been there in a loonng time. If it is too crowded there, I'm going over to Marble. See you there!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Marble Beer Dinner

First off, I have to say I am against the mixing of beer with food, as the food really can inhibit beer intake. However, if you must mix the two, you may be interested in the Marble beer dinner taking place at 6:30 on Tuesday, April 21. $45 gets you this menu:

Cheese and Mingle/Marble Double IPA

Soft Baked Pretzels with JalapeƱo Mustard/Marble Amber Ale

Homemade Buffalo Sausage with Truffled Potato Salad/Vienna Lager

Sweet and Spicy Pork Belly with Kimchee/Marble Red Ale

Strawberry Shortcakes with Orange Rosemary Shortcake and Basil Compote/Marble Tripel

That sounds like a good dinner, up until the pork belly part. Now, I'm open to all kinds of different ethnic cuisines and restaurants. It's just that when I think of beer and food, I'm more of an old school purist: pizza, wings, pretzels, pizza, and pizza. Maybe some nice Cheez-Its thrown in for an appetizer. So when a beer dinner gets fancier, I get lost. I went to a Halloween beer dinner a couple of years ago at Chama River. Courses included beef carpaccio and quail legs. I jokingly asked the server if I could get my quail legs prepared "Buffalo style". He didn't seem to get the joke.

So I'd be happy with just the cheese, the soft pretzels, and the buffalo sausage, which sounds great- I'd like to put that on some pizza. I'm also excited to see that Marble will have their Double IPA as part of the dinner. I remember them having this beer as part of their rotating taps only once in the past year, and I loved it. I do wonder about having this as the first beer of the night, though- can you still taste the amber ale or Vienna lager after the DIPA? Forget the courses, just give me $45 worth of the DIPA and I'll be there!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

War is Hell

But hopefully the documentary movie "Beer Wars" will not be hell to sit through. The movie, which documents the battle among the big three breweries in the United States (Anheuser-Busch, Coors, Miller) and the effect of craft breweries on their market share, is being shown at a special one-night-only viewing at 400 theaters nationwide. It will be followed by a live discussion with craft brewers hosted by Ben Stein. I think this will be more enjoyable than the war I had with myself after wasting money on Robocop 3, which was so bad that when the movie malfunctioned halfway through everyone in the theater started cheering wildly. The movie will be showing at 6 pm on Thursday, April 16 at the Century 14 downtown and Cottonwood 16. Tickets are expensive at $15, but bite the bullet, sneak in some beer, and meet up with me for a beer afterwards (probably Chama's downtown tap room or Marble; I'll let you know before Thursday).

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

I'm Seeing Red!

And I'm probably going to get sued by the remnants of Minor Threat because of it, but I needed the title for the story. Marble has released the third in their bottled beer line, Marble Red. The Red was originally part of the rotating taps at Marble, but has proved to be so popular that it is now in bottles and has been added to the permanent line of taps at the brewpub. $7.99 gets you 6.

Here's another first-timer in a bottle. I missed out on Chama River's Anastasia when it was on tap because I was out of town. Now this wine barrel(cabernet and sangiovese)-aged Russian Imperial Stout (seeing red again-get it?) is available for a very limited time in bottles, of which only 586 were made. Better get yours quick. The label tells how the beer is named for the daughter of Czar Nicholas 2. See, you can drink and learn a history lesson at the same time. Actually, I think there have been plenty of lessons I should have learned after a night of drinking, but I never paid attention. This beer is the real deal- you can tell because its got the wax-covered cap and everything. It's also a big beer, as you'd expect from a Russian Imperial Stout, at 10.4%. Anastasia comes in a 25 oz. bottle and goes for a reasonable $11.99.

Monday, April 6, 2009

I've got a Golden Ticket!

And I'm not bringing damn Grandpa Joe along to slow me down either! The "Golden Ticket" is for Dark Lord Day, April 24. This is the release party of Dark Lord Imperial Stout, brewed by Three Floyds Brewing and is a highly regarded and VERY hard to get beer. So hard that on last year's release, thousands lined up for the chance to buy bottles of the beer, which went on sale at 11 am, and by 3 pm they were sold out...FOR THE YEAR! This year, to alleviate the problem of line-cutting and to ensure people waiting will actually get the beer they waited so long for, they have implemented a "Golden Ticket" system. Tickets went on sale a few weeks back for people who had registered for a chance to get the tickets. So at 3:20 am Albuquerque time, my phone alerted me that the time had come, and I better grab up my ticket! Within 5 hours, all the tickets had been sold out. Now this beer is held in such regard, I and all the others paid 10 dollars just to have the privilege of buying the beer. That's right- I don't get any actual beer for that money; the beer itself costs $15 a bottle. There is no word yet on how many bottles a Golden Ticket allows me to buy. So we are headed to the vacation destination of Munster, IN for the event, which promises a bunch of bands, special releases from great breweries, and a huge gathering of beer geeks who will bring rare goodies for trading and tasting. We will be off to Chicago for a few days of relaxation after that. I'll be sure to give a full report of the trip.

Forget My Predictions; Disregard My Suggestions

If you watched the Phillies-Braves game opening day, you know that I was off a little in my prediction of a Phillies win. This is why I don't gamble! Also, in my previous post, I made some suggestions for lighter beers to drink for the first game. I didn't even follow my own advice, except for drinking a beer made in the hometown area of my team. We drank a two year old Victory Baltic Thunder Imperial Porter, which in no way can be considered a "lighter" beer. It WAS excellent, much better than the game! Oh well, 1 down, 161 to go.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Play Ball!

Sunday marks the beginning of the Major League Baseball season, and it is time to think about what to drink while you watch the World Champion Philadelphia Phillies beat the Braves (5:30 Sunday, ESPN). I tend to lean towards lighter flavored beers for baseball games, like pale ales and wheat beers. Local favorite Wildflower Wheat from Marble Brewery fits the bill here, as does the newly arrived Levitation Ale from Stone, which is only 4.4% and very drinkable. Big Sky's Scape Goat Pale Ale and Odell 5 Barrel Pale are also good choices. Or how about New Belgium 1554? Ok, it's not a lighter beer. But "1554" made me think of what the Mets' record will be half way through the season: 15-54. Yeah, I'm stretching things. But damn, it's hard to come up with baseball-themed beers. Pete's used to have Rally Cap, and Pyramid had a label with something about baseball on it. Why not go for something brewed in the city of your team? I'll be drinking something from a Philly area brewery in honor of my (did I mention they are World Champions?) Phillies- maybe a Victory Hop Wallop, Weyerbacher Imperial Pumpkin Ale or Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA. I guess you should just drink whatever seems good to you at the time, root for your favorite team, and enjoy America's pastime.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

New SKA and Stone

You may remember a few weeks back when I wrote about SKA Brewing's Modus Hoperandi IPA that Marcus brought me from Durango. I guess that SKA has worked out things with their NM distributor because Modus is now in Albuquerque stores. It is a balanced IPA that should be a big seller in the upcoming warm months. You may want to make room in your golf bag for this beer alongside the Dale's Pale Ale, as this beer is only available in cans, and cans are the way to go when toting around unauthorized beer on the course(though unauthorized beer=the only beer with any taste you can have on a golf course). This 6.8% IPA retails for $8.99.

Spring winds notwithstanding, there is something to look forward to this season: Stone Russian Imperial Stout returns to town. This 10.8% beer is delicious fresh, though the alcohol makes it a little rough around the edges. I prefer to let it age a bit, and I still have some '07 and '08 versions on hand, but I can't seem to bring myself to drink them because once I do...what can I look forward to? I guess the '09 version will fin a place in the back of the fridge nest to the four year old salsa experiment. $5.99-$6.49 for a 22 oz. bottle.