Roughly 8,000 beer drinkers from around the country gathered at the 3 Floyd’s brewery on Saturday for Dark Lord Day 2010. I was one of those craft beer drinkers who headed to Munster, Indiana to buy and consume the once a year release of the Dark Lord, a Russian Imperial Stout. I ended up getting to 3 Floyd’s about 10:30 am and had to park the car at the park on the other side of Calumet Ave; it was a good 5 minute walk from the brewery. I had been seeing the photos all morning on twitter of the chaos that was happening but it didn’t compare to seeing it first hand. When I walked up I saw two lines going both ways in front of the brewery on Indiana parkway. The past two years there had been one line that was the bottle line. Not sure why two lines happened this year, it didn’t make much sense since there was only one place to buy bottles. I was under the impression that if you had golden tickets there was no reason to wait in line for bottles because you were guaranteed beer (before 5 o’clock). So I went towards the sample line to get one of my free samples of Dark Lord that came with my golden ticket. Finding that line proved somewhat difficult because every line seemed to collide with one another. The entire parking lot at 3 Floyd’s seemed to be a huge cluster fuck of a line. Once I finally figured out where the sample line was I was surprised to find that they were only letting you get one beer at a time even if you had two tickets. Which made it really difficult for people getting some for their friends beers that were waiting and saving their spot in the bottle line. You could either get your free Dark Lord sample or pay $5 for the oak aged Dark Lord. You couldn’t get another beer unless you wanted to get back in line. The sample line was taking at least 10 – 15 minutes so I wasn’t in the mood to get back in line right away. Throughout the day I was only able to get one of my free samples that came with the Dark Lord golden ticket. The line was just too long and I was never able to make my way back over there but at least I got to try it once before buying the bottles. I understand that they also had the Vanilla Dark Lord earlier in the day to sample but they only had the Oak Aged Dark Lord when I was in line. The Oak Aged was excellent.
Seeing the chaos that was happening it seemed like it would be a good idea to get in the bottle line with the folks I came with. It would at least give us a place to stand. I ended up walking around a lot talking with people and bringing back guest tap samples to the folks in line. The guest taps were right next to some of the bathrooms and it made it hard to tell what line we were in most of the time. If neighboring businesses are cool with people parking in their lots I would think it would be a geat idea to put the toilets over there next year. Get them away from the beer and reduce the lines from colliding at every turn.
Ken had biked to Dark Lord Day from Chicago and didn’t get there until about 1 pm so we really didn’t get a chance to shoot that much video, just a few quick things. But we were able to talk with a lot of great people that day and share some excellent beer. Once we finally made it through the line to buy our allotment of Dark Lord they had changed the limit from four bottles a golden ticket to three. That didn’t make much sense because you would think 3 Floyd’s would of known how many tickets they sold and would of done the math accordingly. I did hear someone say something about counterfeit tickets floating around, which I don’t know if its true or not. Counterfeiters, really? I’m always surprised at the lengths people will go to get good beer. Hopefully 3 Floyd’s will fix this next year and maybe have some sort of barcode. The golden tickets are great and I’d hate to see that go away. I for one do not want to have to get there at 4 am just to get in line to be sure I am able to buy bottles.
In the end, I was able to get my bottles and I had a lot of fun during the wait. There were some issues with this years event but it had maybe two times the amount of people then last year. I’m not an event planner and I wouldn’t want to be responsible for organizing an event on this scale but there were some major issues that I hope they look into for next year. Add some signs, spread out the lines and make sure people are not cutting in. If you made it out to Dark Lord Day this year, I hope you enjoyed yourself like I did. See you next year!