Friday, May 6, 2011

Dark Lord Day: A Study in Bad Taste

Yeah, I overdid it a little the night before one of the biggest drinking days of the year, but it's not just the actual day-of that counts for me, it's the whole trip. That said, I still could have done with a little more sleep and a little less fun that night. We did manage to wake up on Saturday, which was a nice start, and filled our backpacks with beer for the 1.5 mile walk from our hotel to Three Floyds brewery. The weather was nice, though I could have lived without the constant 30 mph wind in our faces on the walk. As we got near the brewery we saw the usual line of people waiting to pick up their bottles of Dark Lord.

The whole structure of Dark Lord Day changed this year: to actually get onto the Three Floyds property, you had to have tickets that were sold online a month prior to the event. The tickets sold out in twenty minutes, and we were lucky to each get one. I figured that the ticket only policy would mean far fewer people this year. As evidenced by the picture, I was WRONG! We passed the line so we could join the crowds at the tasting tables where the real fun is.

We met up with some Albuquerque friends who had also made the trip and with our Chicago and Wisconsin friends whom we had met at Dark Lord Day a few years ago. Jenn deposited herself at a table in the sun and waited for her hangover to dissipate before joining in. We had tried to wake ourselves with a jolt of some White Castle food on the way over- White Castle may be the only food that has successfully re-created its product in the frozen food section to taste exactly like the one in its's that bad.

One of many tables full of beer to try, yet the hangover wasn't my only foe on this day: I hate to admit it, but I had a pretty nasty cold that affected my sense of smell bad enough that allowed me to actually eat White Castle, but also kept me from truly being able to taste all these beers before me. That wasn't going to stop me from trying, however.

Like a good little trooper, I sampled anything offered me: Three Floyds Evil Power, Goose Island Bourbon County Coffee Stout, Kuhnhenn 4th Dimension, Surly Four, Yazoo Sue, The Bruery Black Tuesday, Short's Blood Orange, New Glarus Smoked Rye, Hoppin Frog DORIS The Destroyer, Goose Island Bourbon County Rare, even Brew Dog's 41% ABV Sink the Bismark. Lots of others too. If my sense of smell was going to be out of whack, the rest of my senses may as well get loopy too. The day was winding down though, and we still had to pick up our bottles of Dark Lord.

Another twist in this year's fest was a scratch off that came with each ticket that gave a chance to win a special version of Dark Lord. Options included a brandy barrel aged version, a Pappy Van Winkle barrel version, a vanilla bean Dark Lord, and one with chiles. We won none of the above. Oh well. I was happy enough just to have been there for another year and getting the regular old Dark Lord, a great beer on its own.

We were prepared to walk back to the hotel (just follow the empty bottles) but were spared the trek by our New Mexico contingent. Thanks, all you Hawkinsons for making room in the car for us. We retired to the room, where I had beer waiting that was more befitting my olfactory handicap: Miller High Life Light. Nothing but the best. Three Floyds put on their most organized Dark Lord Day yet, and it was still an amazing day just to be around all that beer and the people who love it.