Maybe it's my fault. As a rookie coming off the bench, maybe I didn't prepare myself or establish the right expectations for the day. I was so excited to have access to this "exclusive" shindig that I failed to read any information about it posted just the day before. I have waited a week and half to even attempt to describe the day's activities because I needed to calm myself down. I wanted to approach it from the most objective perspective I could muster, but in the end I still hate, HATE, what I went through.
My wonderful sister-in-law Genny was kind enough to drop my brother Adrian and I off because I knew that parking was going to be ridiculous. That warning was well publicized by Three Floyd's from the outset, plus I read about previous Dark Lord Days. We arrived at 1:07pm, which was seven minutes after the premises was accessible to ticket holders and the line snaked down the street, around the corner, around a cul-de-sac, and back down the other side of the street. Now, I stood in line to get into a ballgame before with ticket in hand, so I was fine with that, but the line wasn't moving!
The picture above shows how much further we had to wait having already waited in the line for approximately one hour. Many of my taste buds were crying as I watched those around us drinking fine brews and feeling the saliva in my mouth ascending to levels reserved probably for dogs looking at a bacon treat. I had two bottles of CBS in my bag that I was looking to trade so the will power not to crack one of those open was battling my desire to drink a beer. I was hungry too. I skipped lunch because there were fine chefs inside and I love good brewpub food.
It took two and a half hours to get into a facility where we had tickets to attend the event inside. Egregious. When I get to the gate I present my ticket and my driver's license and the woman gave me two options, "To the right is the line to buy the bottled beers, to the left is the tent where they are serving the guest beers along with Three Floyd's beer." We went to the right.
Fortunately, my friend Dale met us near the front of the line. I let him cut the line. I didn't care at this point. I was tired, thirsty, hungry, and decidedly peeved about the whole situation. Not to mention the group behind us let about six people cut the line. Dale was our beer gopher. As my brother and I stood waiting to buy beer, Dale went to grab a couple of Alpha Kings. Yes, you read that right. Of all the selection of beers they were offering we decided to get the flagship formula. Why? Because it was the easiest brew to get. When Dale returned he handed us our Solo cups and graciously said, "First round is on me." I chuckled a little assuming that the beer had to come with the price of admission. Nope. $5. Damn, I'm at a beer garden at a lame state fair, right?
The picture above is the line to buy bottled beer along the side of the brewery's warehouse. Another hour and a half. Thankfully I was able to try "Baller Stout," the XV anniversary brew which is a combination of Dark Lord, Surly Darkness, Struise Black Albert, and Mikeller Beer Geek Brunch, before I decided if I wanted to buy it. Who am I kidding, I was going to buy it regardless. It was very tasty. Velvety smooth, but really hits you with coffee on the front end and cayenne notes on the back end. When I actually drink a bottle I could offer you a better opinion, but since I felt like a jilted lover drinking it, probably a good idea to leave the bias aside.
It took us another hour and a half standing in line before we bought our beer. I walked away with four bottles of Baller Stout, a bottle of Biggs' Stache (limited barrel aged brew), and a bottle of Alpha Klaus just because I wanted it. My time in line also yielded a bottle of Goose Island Bourbon County Stout which cost me a bottle of CBS. With beer securely in my bag, in was time to forage for sustenance.
At 5 o'clock, with five hours still ahead of the celebration, the food was gone. The celebrated chefs, nowhere to be found. The two food trucks that they brought in to supplement? One was closed and waiting for all the guests to enter the brewery (yes, still a line outside) and the other had a long, winding line since it was the only food on site. The bands that were lined up for entertainment? Inside the warehouse.
I left. I could not fathom spending another second of my time there. On a scale of one to worst episode ever you can imagine where I rated this event. Am I on a soapbox? You bet I am! $25 per ticket gets you into a party where you have to spend $5 on beer, an equal if not more amount on food that wasn't even there, and $30 per bottle of anniversary beer. I've never been to Dark Lord Day, but I'm guessing that I'm never going to go either. Having tried that beer (and it is by far the best beer I've had to date) I have no need to go back.
Alternatively, now that I'm a seasoned veteran, I can always approach the festivities from a different perspective. However, my favorite craft beer establishment threw a one year anniversary celebration for its patrons and provided Zombie Dust free of charge (along with another craft beer selection) and the food was free as well. In fifteen years, maybe Three Floyd's is slowly morphing into an entity whose mystique far outweighs its service. The product is outstanding, don't get me wrong, but if the precedent of Dark Lord is the new trend in craft beer (i.e. CBS, Darkness, etc.) then I may just pass and stick with the Alpha Kings.