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Dark Lord Day

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This past Saturday I headed down to Munster, Indiana for 3Floyd’s Dark Lord Day. Dark Lord Day is the brewery’s annual festival where they release their Russian Imperial Stout, Dark Lord. Dark Lord is only available for sale during the festival in 9oz drafts for $10 or 22oz Bombers for $15. Festival goers are only allowed to purchase three bombers each. Each customer also gets a scratch off ticket, with winning tickets providing the opportunity to purchase one of the special Dark Lord variants for $50.

Festival
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The festival is in the office park across from the brewery, it consisted of a couple large tents, several beer vending areas and a large stage for the bands. Most of the people at the festival brought their own beer for consumption and trading. The scene was much like a tailgate with a lot of heavy metal. Most everyone was well behaved, I think I saw one guy get sick and a couple people passed out. I only stayed for about 6 hours.

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The scene outside of the brewery was similar to a tailgate but with higher alcohol content and lots of pretzels. You were allowed to bring in your own beer and food just no cooler. So if you could bag something and it wasn’t on rollers you were good to go. I’m not sure if the two above actually made it inside with the pony kegs.

My one complaint is the signage throughout the festival was kind of a joke. You’ve got 18 taps running and all the beer is labeled by hand with a marker. None of the vendors really knew anything about the beer so if you couldn’t quite see the writing and you didn’t recognize the name you had no idea what you were ordering. I ordered an ‘Elf Power’ only to realize it was Evil Power. Considering the cost of tickets and the amount of attendees I feel they could have splurged for some decent signs.

Transportation
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There are a couple transportations options to get down to Munster. Parking anywhere near the brewery is around $20 and in short supply. There were a couple of the ‘Chicago Beer Tour’ buses that were running trips down to Munster but they were all at least $30 and all sold out quickly. After further research I tracked down Reggies Chicago which is just outside of Chinatown. Reggies was running shuttle busses down and back to 3Floyd’s close to every hour starting at 8am. The rides were free and they sold beer on the bus. In addition they had a free buffet at the bar throughout the day. This really made the day. Not having to organe a ride and trying to find it really made a difference.

Lines
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The whole point of Dark Lord Day is getting your allotment of Dark Lord beer. In the past I believe people would line up the night before and the line would just continue growing throughout the day. This year when you purchased tickets they were broken down into groups with specific times to line up and purchase your beer. I’m not sure how long the waiting was before this system was in place but I waited more than two hours in line. The lines were moving at a steady pace and it was possible to jump out and grab drink/food or use the restroom. When we headed out to catch the bus back to Reggies the lines for the later time groups seemed to be much longer.

Tickets
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Tickets to Dark Lord Day cost $30 each and sold out online in about 30 minutes. Each ticket gets you into the festival, the opportunity to buy your allotment of 22oz bombers and a scratch off ticket. If your scratch off ticket was a winner you could then buy one of the special variants of Dark Lord for $50. By the time I got to the scratch off they were all out of the Bourbon Vanilla which is what I would have opted for. I did purchase a bottle of the Bourbon w/ Chillies but I ended up having second thoughts and I pawned it off on our bus ride home to some one who really wanted it. While purchasing the Dark Lord you could also buy any of the other beers 3Floyd’s brewed. For some reason the Zombie Dust was flying off the shelves.

Aftermath
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All around it was a great experience.

Minneapolis: Baseball & Beer

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Julie and I headed out with a group of friends to Minneapolis for the Mets – Twins series at Target Field. Being that it’s Minnesota and April there was a decent amount of snow on the ground. They managed to have the field clean for Friday’s game and the Twins offered free hot chocolate and coffee throughout the game. I think I stayed until about the 5th inning with the Mets leading by 8 runs or something. Julie managed to stay for the long haul.

Gluek’s
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Before the game and after we headed to Gluek’s Restaurant & Bar which is considered the oldest restaurant in Minneapolis. Gluek’s Resturant dates back to the early 1930’s but the Gluek’s Brewery has ties that go back to 1857. The bar is a large German style beer house with a good beer selection and live music.

Al’s
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Saturday morning we made our way over to Al’s Breakfast near the University of Minnesota’s campus. As expected we ended up waiting about an hour in line before getting a spot. Al’s is a diner that dates back to the 1950’s that is basically a building that has been wedged in an alley. They’re known for their pancakes.

Walking Brewery Tour

Saturday afternoon we headed out to three breweries which were all within walking distance to each other: 612 Brew, Indeed Brewing and Dangerous Man Brewing.

612 Brewing
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After breakfast we hopped a cab over to 612 Brewing and began our walking brewery tour. 612 Brew took a little while to find the entrance as it’s in an industrial building nearly under an overpass. Their space was huge and they had the Cajun 2 Geaux food truck out front taking orders so we were well stocked with beignet. The brewery is rather new so the beer selection was small. I preferred their Zero Hour black ale over the other beers.

Indeed Brewing
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After 612 Brew we walked several blocks to Indeed Brewing which was in a similar industrial area but a some what smaller place. They also had a food truck outside serving. The beer selection at Indeed was much better than the other places we stopped. I also like the old tavern feel of their brewery compared to the others.

Dangerous Man
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We headed to Dangerous Man next but were temporarily halted by a doorman and a waiting period before we could enter. This setback in addition to our evening plans limited us to one quick beer. I went for the IPA. I wish we would have spent more time here but that wasn’t the case.

Pittsburgh Hockey Trip

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This past Friday I headed to Pittsburgh for my annual Hockey road trip. It was a challenge to get six tickets to a Friday night Pens – Rangers game so we ended up with Standing Room Only tickets. There was little info on what that actually meant so we went into the game thinking we’d basically be watching the game at a bar from within the arena. It turns out that Consol Energy Arena has specific spots for each SRO ticket and we had a great view of the game except for the Shootout when everyone in the arena stood.

This was by far the best game we’ve attended on any of these trips. Fleury had an amazing game, Jussi Jokinen scored his first goal as a Penguin, there was a fight and the Pens beat the Rangers in a Shootout. The beer selection at Consol was solid.

D’s SixPax & Dogz
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On Saturday we headed over to D’s SixPax & Dogz for lunch and drinks. D’s is known for their hotdogs covered in basically anything you can imagine and their massive Beer Cave. Their Beer Cave consisted of a walk-in cooler and a back room that is the size of most liquor stores. They also had a great tap list including Tröegs Nugget Nectar which was one of the better beers I’ve had in a while. In addition D’s had 1919 Draft Root Beer which was fantastic.

East End Brewing Company
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After lunch we stopped by East End Brewing Company for a tasting. The night before, Tom, our host set us up with two pony kegs of Big Hop IPA and Black Strap Stout. We didn’t purchase any beer but we did make our way around the sample list. They also had a Root Beer which was good.

Arsenal Cider House
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In the afternoon we stopped at Arsenal Cider House where I proceeded to make rarely funny jokes about their rules. The setup is a small bar were you buy growlers and there are some tables in the back, all amongst civil war paraphernalia due to the close location to site of the Allegheny Arsenal. We had a great selection of cider, my favorite was the Honey Crisp.

Side Notes:

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* The View From My Seat.

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** Only one of these beers is an American Beer – Yuengling.
*** Previous Hockey Trips: 2010, 20112012,