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!!!

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