Beer aficionados revel in Dark Lord Day
By Christin Nance Lazerus firstname.lastname@example.org April 27, 2013 5:42PM
A 22-ounce bottle of Dark Lord Russian Imperial Stout, made by Three Floyds Brewery in Munster, Ind., sells for $15 and goes on sale just once a year. | Sun-Times Media
Updated: May 30, 2013 2:48PM
MUNSTER — Dedicated beer lovers started lining the streets near Three Floyds Brewery about 3:30 a.m. Saturday in their quest to purchase up to three bottles of the coveted Dark Lord Russian Imperial Stout.
The dense brew with flavors of coffee, licorice and molasses has developed a cult following among beer aficionados since its first release in 2004, with many making a pilgrimage across the country. A 22-ounce bottle costs $15.
The day of the beer’s annual release — Dark Lord Day — has grown from a few hundred people standing in line to close to 10,000 people buying during times specified in their tickets. Attendees bring their own favorite beers to trade with other beer lovers as they spend time in line. Food vendors and an entertainment tent featuring a slate of heavy metal bands — including Bloodiest, Lair of the Minotaur and Pig Destroyer — were also packed.
An estimated 8,500 people jammed Indiana Parkway in the industrial park where the brewery is located. The road was closed to traffic, and Munster police directed traffic and enforced parking rules in the area. A handful of arrests occurred throughout the day.
The ticketed event had two lines, and it took most attendees two to three hours to get a bottle of the chosen brew, but the time was worth it, they said — especially on a sunny day with temperatures in the 70s.
Crown Point resident Christine McCants returns every year with people she met the first year of the beer’s release.
“It’s gotten bigger,” McCants said. “It’s like watching your kid grow up and go off to college.”
Bolingbrook, Ill., resident Lalo Clara and his brother, Alex, of Chicago were enjoying their first time at the festival.
“We come pretty regularly to the brewpub,” Lalo Clara said. “I’ve heard so many complaints about the lines, but the people right next to us came with the intention to share. They’re here to enjoy themselves, so we didn’t even notice the wait.”
For the past two years, those in line also received a scratch-off golden ticket that could give them a chance to purchase one $50 bottle of a special variant of Dark Lord. Choices included port barrel aged, vanilla bourbon, muscatel barrel aged and bourbon barrel with chilies.
Indianapolis resident Dustin Dahl, who works at Indiana City Beer, said he loves the spirit of the event.
“All of us come here to trade beer and share beer and everybody brings chairs,” Dahl said. “It’s a grassroots event. People love beer.”