21 April 2010

Hoosier Beer Geek's Guide to Dark Lord Day 2010

This year's Dark Lord Day is set to be the biggest ever. This event just keeps getting bigger and bigger every year and we've been asked to throw out a few tips to people coming this year. These are my tips that I've learned over five years of heading to DLD.

1. Cash That is the only thing accepted at FFF's. Don't leave home without it or pay the crazy gorilla math surcharges at the ATM machines that will be there.
2. Talk This is the greatest thing about DLD. I enjoy talking with other like minded people and sharing beer with people from all over the country. Bring some tasty brews to share and just say hello to everyone and you will have a good time.
3. Food Bring some water and snacks in a bag with you because drinking high gravity beer all morning will quickly take its toll on you.
4. Tasting Tables If you bring beer to share this is one of the things about the day as well. Just step up to the tables and pop your beers and start sharing what you have brought. Don't be intimidated by what people may have brought because chances are that someone wants to try what you have brought and as long as you are sharing most other people are going to share with you.
5. Parking Parking was hard to come by last year by 9 am, so I have no idea what to expect this year. I would just say get there earlier than later this year.

Last year was my first year at Dark Lord Day and everything pretty much went as I expected, if not better. Sometimes people stress out about events like this because there is guaranteed to be a percentage of the population that is bringing the rarest anything ever and nothing you have will be good enough for them. Screw that. There are a ton of people here just for the love of beer and they are the gross majority. Here are my tips:

Guest Taps
Last year 3F brought in 30+ rare and insane beers, not restricted to those distributed in Indiana. These were being sold inside the warehouse at $5 per pour. Much like everything else, they only accept cash. A new batch of beers is tapped every hour and when they're gone, they're gone. With the Craft Beer Conference in Chicago this year, I expect there to be an exceptional selection of extremely rare beer available.

Bring Growlers
If you don't have a huge cellar of rare beer, go fill some growlers with great seasonal, local beer. You'll have a ton to share, won't spend too much and are guaranteed to have something a lot of people haven't tried. This probably won't work for the Tasting Tables, but there's a lot more beer being shared than what's on the trading tables.

Hold the bottom of your Dark Lord Case
We saw a lot of box bottoms fall out and a lot of Dark Lord destroyed last year. Don't fall victim to this. HOLD YOUR CASE BY THE BOTTOM. It will be rainy again, and wet cardboard doesn't hold up well.

Bring a cooler with wheels
Use it as your seat while in line. The wheels will help you save your strength for drinking.

You will be exhausted
If you're familiar with tailgating, you know how a day full of heavy drinking can wear down the body. Now imagine that with 10%+ ABV beers all day. Yeah, you're going to be exhausted at the end. Plan accordingly with either a hotel reservation or a nice nap in your car before you head out. I think last year we were in bed by 8, which made me really sad because I really wanted to see Pelican.

Be sure to add your personal tips in the comments!

In my experience, I've found the two Dark Lord Days I've attended to be amongst the most memorable and fun beer events I have experienced.

1. Bring snacks and water. Don't forget to eat and drink them during the day.
2. Bring some beer to share. As Rod said, it doesn't matter what, just bring some and be friendly. People come from all over the country to attend so it's a great opportunity to show a little bit of that Hoosier Hospitality and offer up some of the great beers we have in the state.
3. This one may just be for the ladies: Bring toilet paper, hand sanitizer, and/or your own personal restroom cause 3000 people drinking beer all day sure takes a toll on the port-a-pottys (as you summer beer festival goers know all too well).
4. It's spring in Indiana, so the weather changes quick. Last year when we arrived, there were thunderstorms in the distance. It turned out to be a nice, sunny afternoon, but the temperature went from a breezy 70 to about 40 in what seemed like a matter of minutes. Bring a couple layers and comfortable shoes.
5. Don't forget about what's inside the warehouse. Music, guest beer, cool people.
6. Keep an eye on that watch if you have Golden Tickets. There were still long lines to pick up the allotment of Dark Lord last year for most of the time, and it looks like 4 o'clock (if you check your ticket) or 5 o'clock (if you check the website) will be the cutoff for guaranteed sales.
7. If you do something stupid, it will end up on the internet.

Have fun, pace yourself, and please say hello if you see us in our "Dork Lord" shirts. We'll probably have some beer to share.

I think everyone else covered everything pretty well, but there are a few other minor things worth noting.

Don't forget to check out the bands. They're loud, you'll be sorta drunk, and it's a nice bit of respite when you're on the precipice of "oh I think I drank too much". Plus you can watch drunk guys headbang. Always entertaining.

Keep your eyes out for bacon beer. It may be very limited, but there are rumors of leftover growlers from HBG's CBMTCBL.

Bring a tasting glass.
Sure, you can drink out of any old cup, but a tasting glass (preferably one with a 1 oz. line) will allow to to better keep those samples small (and as a result, more varied).

Bring lawn chairs.
There's not much for seating at Dark Lord Day.

Respect the police. They're letting you get away with a lot of things that you typically wouldn't. Don't forget that.

Lastly, here's the rumored guest tap list:
Stone Vertical Epic 08-08-08
Stone Old Guardian 2006
Stone Old Guardian aged in Red Wine Barrels
Southern Tier Choklat
Southern Tier Javah
Southern Tier Oak Aged Unearthly
Bell's Hopslam
Bell's Oarsman
Bell's Poolside
Bell's Barrel Aged Hell Hath No Fury
Gouden Carolus Cuvee' The Emperor Blau 2007
Upland Infinite Wisdom Triple
Upland Light Wave
Upland Scoth Ale
Upland Firkin
Founders Kentucky Breakfast Stout
Founders Double Dry Hopped Centennial IPA firkin
New Belgium Eric's Ale
New Albanian Old Ale
Dogfish Head Fort
Dogfish Head Burton Baton
Dogfish Head Red and White
Dogfish Head Old School
Van Steenberge Klokke Roland
Victory St Victorious
Victory St Boisterous
Dark Horse Double Crooked Tree
Petrus Oud Bruin
Ommegang Belgian Pale Ale
Schlafly Quadruple
Schlafly Barrel Aged Smoked Porter
Brooklyn Brewmaster's Reserve Cookie Jar Porter
Brooklyn Brewmaster's Reserve Sorachi Ace
Sierra Nevada 30th Anniversary
and something from Port Brewing
We'll see you there.

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