It was finally here. Dark Lord Day. Ever since Brad was able to secure our tickets for the event I have been looking forward to it. We began our pilgrimage with a quick stop at Fat Heads to fill up our bellies and our growlers. We thought a few attendees might want to sample some Head Hunter IPA. So, we got some of that and some Stone Age Imperial Stout. Pretty tasty in it’s own rite.
On the trip over to Munster, I looked up more details on the goings on the night before. Brad had already done some research too, so he had a few places bookmarked. Our first stop when we got into town was the Liquor Stop. A beer store with some good 3 Floyd beers as well as many other selections. Don’t let the re-purposed Taco Bell exterior fool you, they have some good beer. As we pulled in, two guys noticed our OH plates and pulled up to ask if we were going to Dark Lord Day. Apparently not too many out-of-staters frequent Munster, but from what I saw, I will be back
Having never been to DLD, we did not know what to expect, especially the night before, but after seeing a tweet mentioning Barrel-Aged Alpha Klaus, the Three Floyds Christmas Porter on tap at the Brew Pub we made the decision to check it out. When we pulled up to the brewery/pub there was some prep for the next day going on. The entire property was fenced in. There were about four people in line outside of the brew pub, so we thought it had to be crazy inside, but after waiting about a half hour, we were allowed to enter and were immediately seated at a table. I guess they are under some ordinance that the people to chair ratio must be 1:1.
We were surprised by the quality of food. They even had scotch eggs on the menu! We sampled a couple of beers including Zombie Dust, and of course the BA Alpha Klaus. We did not stay too late as we knew the next day was going to be an early (and long) one.
04/30/2011 – Dark Lord Day
We awoke early to get to the event as we already scoped out the very limited parking around the brewery. After parking on the street in the business park, we made our way to take our place in line. At 7:50am we were a few hundred people back in line.
There was a stiff cold breeze and overcast sky as we waited for the beginning of the event. Time past fast as we watched attendees walking past with bottles that we have only read about. The tastings going on were amazing. One guy in front of us cracked open a Black Tuesday which he had just traded for. When he asked if we would like a taste, we were not going to decline.
Just before 10am, the clouds parted and the sun shined through as we made our way into the gates. I finally ran into Droooone and he poured me a generous taste of his Lowdive Wheat IPA. Easily the best WIPA that I have had and it is his first recipe that he wrote. Impressive.
We passed through the gates with ease, the event was well organized and orderly. As we entered “seek and destroy” by Metallica came on and we made a b-line for the Dark Lord line. We were on a mission. This year, entrance tickets to the event were traded in for the infamous “golden tickets”. This year’s golden tickets included a scratch off which would give the holder the chance to purchase one of four very limited barrel aged varieties of the ’11 Dark Lord.
Dark Lord aged in brandy barrels
Dark Lord aged in Pappy Van Winkle 23 year barrels
Dark Lord de Muerte, DL aged in bourbon barrels with ancho and guajillo peppers
Dark Lord aged in brandy barrels with vanilla beans
As we entered the brewery we were handed the Golden Tickets and as I heard everyone scratch with no winners, I crossed my singers and scratched mine to reveal the word “YES!”. I knew this had to be a winner. I had already made the decision to get the Pappy if I was to pull a winner, and that is what I got. Bottle 399/484. I will definitely be sharing with my DLD partner, Brad.
From there, I could have left and gone home happy, but the fun had just begun. Next we hit up the guest taps. The BCS Rare was already gone so we sampled some Oakshire Heart Shaped Box and Firestone Walker Double Jack. Later on we tasted the Revolution Barrel Aged Sodom and the Oakshire Espresso Imperial Stout.
There were lines for everything but it all seemed organized. People moved through pretty easily and the general mood was of friendship and generosity. We were given tastes of many great beers and in turn shared our growlers of Fat Heads fine brews spreading the word of all Cleveland (and North East Ohio) beer, so much so that people would yell out “Cleveland” as I would walk by. I will say there were a few too many “Cleveland Rocks” and “yeah Drew Carey” statements.
It was great to run into some of the Fat Heads crew including assistant brewer, Mike Zoscak, his wife Emily, Amy from Heidelberg and John Host from Founders. I am sure we will be running into them all again soon at the great beer events in Cleveland. We also ran into Bobby who had the great fortune of meeting some of the 3F brewers and got a wrist band with VIP privileges. We knew he would though, he knows everyone.
Later on in the evening, we decided to get in line for the brew pub as the 2011 Dark Lord, Brandy Barrel Aged Dark Lord and Vanilla Barrel Aged Dark Lord were all on draught. While waiting about an hour in line, we ran into other Fat Heads and Jackie O’s fans and they had us join them at their table as they were seated ahead of us. It was a great time and perfect ending to my first Dark Lord.
I am grateful that I was able to attend this year, got a golden ticket and met great people. Very thankful to Brad for securing our tickets and will definitely be sharing the Pappy with him. No I am not putting it on ebay (apparently one already went for over $500). With all the hype and bad mouthing of the past events, I was cautiously optimistic going into this one. It was handled exceptionally well and I am already looking forward to next year.