28 April 2011

Hoosier Beer Geek's Guide to Dark Lord Day 2011

This post will be updated as we find more information. As a result it may get messy.

This year's Guide to Dark Lord Day may look similar to last year, as there are a lot of tips that carry over. But there are some major changes to the event this year, and because we keep getting smarter, we thought we'd share some tips we've picked up over the years.

Beer list updates from our Indiana brewery friends:
Sun King Buffalo Tipping Point (Barrel Aged Belgian Dubble)
Sun King Buffalo Fest (Barrel Aged Oktoberfest)
Brugge Harvey (New version of Pooka)
Oaken Barrel Superfly (IPA)
Crown Brewing AlkoholikA (Blonde Dopplebock)
Crown Brewing Fade 2 Black (Double Black IPA)
People's Mr. Brown (Imperial Brown Ale)
People's Aberrant Amber (American ESB)
Barley Island Dirty Helen (Brown)
Barley Island BarFly (IPA)
Flat12 Half Cycle (IPA)

If you missed the updates at DarkLordDay.com, make sure you head on over there to catch up. There's a lot of very important information on the site. This update and this update in particular.

In case you don't feel like clicking, here's the important stuff:
Update on coolers (from 3Fs Lincoln on BeerAdvocate): Coolers sizes up to 30 quarts will be allowed in. Wheels or no wheels doesn't matter. If it's larger than 30 quarts, leave it at home or in the car. It's basically a space and safety issue. DLD is difficult enough to navigate without having to jump coffin hurdles every 10 feet. Please work with us on this and make it a more enjoyable day for everyone.

1. Gates open at 10:00 am
2. The Darklord bottle limit will be 4 bottles per person, $15.00 per bottle.
3. There will be a lottery for extremely limited, hand bottled, hand numbered barrel aged variations. Guests will exchange their event tickets for a Golden Ticket with a scratch off section. If their ticket scratches off as a winner, they will have the opportunity to purchase one bottle of one of the four variations in addition to the 4 bottles of Darklord. The variations are:
Darklord aged in Pappy Van Winkle 23 year barrels
Darklord aged in brandy barrels
Darklord aged in brandy barrels with vanilla beans
Darklord de Muerte, DL aged in bourbon barrels with ancho and guajillo peppers
These hand bottled, hand numbered, hand waxed bottles will sell for $50.00.
4. All purchases on Darklord Day are cash only.

Older info:

1. This year’s event requires a ticket for entry. There will be no admittance for non ticket holders. The Munster Police Dept. will be out to enforce traffic flow and loitering. If you do not have a ticket, hopefully you can make it next year instead.
Attendees must be 21 years of age or older.
2. Pets will not be permitted to this year’s event.
3. If you wish to bring beer for trading and sampling with friends we encourage you to do so within reason. A few bottles here and there are permissible. Please do not bring cases and kegs. You will not be admitted with excessive beer.
4. Parking will be up to the attendees. Our little brewery does not have the facilities to accommodate vehicles.
5. If you are bringing a vehicle please assign a designated driver.
6. If you are planning to bring a bus or RV they must be kept out of our industrial park to allow emergency vehicles access (police order).
7. The weather is normally unpredictable. It may be rainy or sunny so be prepared.
8. Please do not bring anything to sell. Vending will not be permitted.
9. Please hang on to your tickets. You’ll be glad you did.
10. The Event is cash only as always. There will be ATMs on site.
11. If you wish to bring lawn chairs try not to bring the couch version. Space is at a premium. Also please be mindful of traffic flow when deciding where to hang out.
12. No Grills will be allowed.
13. Most of all please be respectful of our town and our neighbors. We want to continue to hold a safe and fun event in the years to come and we can only do it with your help.

Here is an alphabetized, formatted list of guest drafts if you found the one on DarkLordDay.com hard to read.

Aventinus Eisbock
Bells Batch 10,000
Bells Oatmeal Stout
Brewdog Paradox Smokehead
Bruery Loakal Red
Bruery Old Richland
Bruery Saison De Lente
Dogfish Head Burton Baton
Dogfish Head My Antonia
Dogfish Head Old School Barleywine
Dogfish Head Worldwide Stout
Founders Backwoods Bastard
Founders Breakfast Stout
Founders Devil Dancer
Founders Double Trouble
Founders Kentucky Breakfast Stout
Founders Nemesis
Founders Newaygo County Cherry
Futhermore Knot Stock
Futhermore Oscura
Goose Island Bourbon County Stout Rare
La Rulles Estivale
Left Hand TNT Weizen Doppelbock
Oakshire Heart Shaped Box
Oakshire Imperial Overcast Espresso Stout
Ommegang Gnomegang
Schlafly Kolsch
Schlafly Imperial Stout
Schlenkerla Fasten Beer
Schlenkerla Maerzen
Schlenkerla Oak Smoke
Sierra Nevada Oliva Dubbel
Van Steenberg Monk’s Ale
Victory Braumeister Pils
Victory Headwaters Pale
Victory Smoked & Oats

In addition, we believe that there will be a large number of Indiana taps on hand, though that list is harder to get a hold of. We know that many breweries we work with on a daily basis are sending beer to the event.

If you're into the band side of things, the list ran on DarkLordDay.com a while back, but may have gone unnoticed:

Sweet Cobra
Lair of the Minotaur
Bible of the Devil
Slough Feg

Rodney also notes that it appears 3 Floyds has done another band collaboration - Evil Power (which is an album / song by Liar of the Minotaur) Imperial Pilsner - will be on sale at Dark Lord Day.
These are my tips that I've learned over six 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 I came fairly prepared. I brought a ton of beer and we got through maybe half of it, despite having a folding table crammed full of beer and pouring beer for anyone who wandered up. Maybe I saw you last year? We met a lot of people and it was a ton of fun. Last year we also wrote up a blog post as a "what to expect" guide for Dark Lord Day. With the new ticketed format for the festival, I really don't know what to expect. Things are going to be different. Hopefully for the better. Hopefully they get Pelican back.

Guest Taps
I had epic plans last year to try the guest taps. I didn't. I tried a ton of cool beer but I just never made it over to the guest tap truck. THIS YEAR WILL BE DIFFERENT. I hope. Tons of rare beer here and most of it you can't normally get in Indiana. $5 a cup last year, cash only, and one of the best deals in the beer world. Make sure you at least take a look at the tap list so that you know what you missed if you never make it to the truck, like me.

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 probably 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. Bring a ton of water to keep yourself hydrated. By the end of the day, you'll probably want water more than beer, so at the very least, pack your truck with it. Gatorade would be even better.

Be Prepared
The ATMs will run out of cash - bring at least enough to buy your Dark Lord. The lines for food will be long - bring snacks because you won't be able to get food exactly when you want it.

Have a posse
If you don't have a bunch of friends with you, make some friends. It's a lot easier to move a bunch of coolers and chairs and beer around when multiple people are helping. Turn around and talk to the person behind you in line. If you start the conversation with "hey do you want to try this beer I'm opening" then you're guaranteed to have someone to chat with and share beer with through the rest of the line.

Respect the law
The cops working this event are all incredibly reasonable and friendly given the circumstances. In fact, early in the day thank them for making this a safe and fun event year after year, but probably don't do that when you're drunk because it won't be very sincere. If it seems like the cops are getting attitude with you, it's because you're being an ass and you're too drunk to realize it. Also leave your weed at home, it's about the only thing they'll arrest you for.

Know your limit
If you're knocking over beers, especially beers as rare as the ones at Dark Lord Day, you've had too much. You aren't going to remember anything you drink once you're to a certain point, so don't be afraid to call it a day. You want to remember your Dark Lord Day experience and all the great beers you tried (or at least the highlights).

In my experience, I've found the three 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. You surely don't want to miss your window to buy your Dark Lord.
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.

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).

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

See you Saturday!


  1. OMG! It's this Saturday...:( Aw well, maybe next year, maybe not. Good luck and good times folks!

  2. Dude, I'm just going to say I can't wait to hear the Kumas Corner burger with bourbon poached pears namesake (Lair of the Minotaur).

    Oh, and the beer.