Dark Lord Day – Pot Luck Beer.

April 26 2010 - 11:16 AM

Friday night was Whiskeyfest. Saturday morning my friend Mark browbeat me into waking up at 7:30 and driving to Munster Indiana to stand in a line, in the rain, and wait to buy beer. I didn’t do this for the iPad. What the hell could he be thinking? I don’t know how he got me roped into this but I owe him big time. He’s a beer blogger and his partner Shaun (from Mark & Shaun’s Beer Blog) was flying in for the event – so that must mean he knows what he’s talking about (ha!).

How do you compare Dark Lord Day and Whiskeyfest? It’s beer and whiskey. It’s also $160 vs. Free (less the price of the Dark Lord, (if you’re lucky enough to get a ticket) and the price of whatever you buy and bring to share). You get to meet the distillers and reps for all the great whiskeys vs. people who bring and share their favorite beers.

What’s in common is enthusiasm, a want for knowledge and a need for stamina. I was overstimulated and certainly couldn’t keep up with all the many, distinctly wonderful, beverages from Indian Whiskey & 70 year-old cognac to a 2006 Wee Heavy and Founder’s Kentucky Breakfast.

But what happens at Dark Lord is different. Take this guy. His name is Brendan and the first thing he said to me is “where’s your glass?”. He then poured me a few ounces of an ’06 Wee Heavy… at 10:30am. It was one of the best beers I’ve ever had. There was no spiel. There were no companies shilling. Nobody was being paid. Brendan didn’t even tell me what to ‘taste’ or why he was sharing this. He simply flew in from Seattle to pour free beer for strangers. You can’t buy advocacy like that. That’s a picture of Brendan showing off a bottle of the Perfect Storm a bit later in the day. Brendan’s the best.

So while hundreds of people bouncy castle for sale waited in line to buy 4 bottles of Dark Lord, I made some very nice friends from Seattle, Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois and surely other places. I also tried some extremely nice beer from Michigan, Wisconsin, Indiana, Belgium… and others.

Stsomewhere Saint Somewhere was a tasty Belgian-style ale from Tampa (used to live there!). It was very young, yeasty and peachy. You can’t get it in Illinois.

Sun King is from Indianapolis and a growler of their pale ale is something that will find its way to my fridge very quickly.

Photo2 Brendan’s Perfect Storm is a barleywine was brought in from the west coast. It’s from Pelican Pub and Brewery in Oregon. Maybe after Whiskeyfest I was attuned to this one. It was simply wonderful. Hints of a whiskey-like smoke and cream. If anyone has more of this please let me know.

Temptaion One missed opportunity was a taste of Temptation (aptly named in this case) a bottle fermented in Chardonnay casks. As an unashamed Chardonnay fan I was really bummed to miss this one. Again, something I will likely never see again in Chicago or anywhere else for that matter.

Pretzels I forget the pretzel guy’s name. SORRY MAN! He goes by drummintime on Twitter and is one of our readers. Go figure he brought food in the way of an edible necklace and a liquid Kentucky Breakfast. Wonderful stout and good choice not to string Cheetoes together. That would have been a mess. Hard salami next year?

Resurrection was a neat beer made from hops that had died only to be brought back to life to meet another slow death in digestive tracts across the land.


This guy is the self-proclaimed king of hops and he graciously shared with me his very last bottle of Hop XL. The guy behind him is his brewing partner. Thanks Shepards71 on Beer Advocate. It was an awesome brew.

By this point you might get the picture that if you’re standing in line waiting for 4 bottles of Dark Lord, you’re missing the real event. Dark Lord was great and I had several glasses of it and walked away with a bottle of the 2009 but the real story is the people. Nobody told them what to bring. Nobody paid them to be there. Nobody is making people share. It’s done because somebody discovered something. Or tasted something because someone else suggested it and it’s worth repeating.

It’s awesome that Floyd’s does this. I really enjoyed the Dark Lord. It’s becoming such a success (as a beer) that it will be a world-wide cult beer if it isn’t already. It’s a monster stout full of sweet honey and long syrupy goodness that lives on the edges of a complex finish… but that’s a wine-guy talking (after a night of 50+ whiskies!). I also liked their Alpha King and their Samurai Gazebo lager will be my summer beer but only if I stay committed to running 3 times a week.

But here’s the story. What Floyd’s allows at this event is something you rarely see. It’s also easy to talk about the beer but the real story is the people. I’ve been to scooter rallies and comic shows and it’s really similar. But there nobody’s giving you rare back issues or saying sure take my Lambretta our for a spin… They’re giving it all away at Dark Lord. People are there because of their shared interest. Don’t stand in line and horde tickets. Spend some money on your favorite beer to bring and share. There’s a ton of knowledge, more beer than you can drink and certainly beer you’ll never have a chance to see again.

What makes this event is people and everything they bring with them… in their coolers, taste and attitudes. I only wish that the bigger brands understood this as well as Three Floyd’s does.