No, I didn't start worshiping Satan (Yet). Dark Lord Day is a beer festival at 3 Floyds Brewery in Munster, Indiana, up near Chicago. The last Saturday in April is the only day you can buy a bottle of their Dark Lord imperial stout. But you can't just go and buy it, heavens no. First you have to be lucky enough to get a ticket (and pay 30 dollars for the privilege), then you have to get to Munster, then you have to wait in line to get in, then you have to wait in line to buy your tiny allotment of bottles. Nothing in life is easy, except the things that are.
Here's my review of the weekend, delivered in the popular bullet points style. Keep in mind that as I write this I have a fever, either from being outside in the cold all day Saturday or for sleeping in a Super 8 hotel that was basically one giant mold spore. Either way, I'm even less right than usual.
- Hammond, Indiana
Our hotel was in Hammond, Indiana because the hotels in Munster tend to be expensive and fill up months in advance. Now, there is a chance some of you reading this may live in Hammond. To you I say FOR GOD'S SAKE MOVE! Seriously, you live in a bleak potholed hellscape. Hammond, Indiana is like Gary, Indiana sans the whimsy. Leaving 3 Floyds in Munster and driving just a mile or so into Hammond was like driving into Toon Town in Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, only replace the lively antics of the Toons with a palpable sense of resignation bordering on despair. The Aurelio's Pizza in Hammond is the town's only saving grace.That business should be given many local tax breaks, and the Hammond police should let the Aurelio's staff get away with every minor crime and some of the major ones.
-The Old Man in the Hawaiian Shirt and Jorts
I hear it was 80 degrees in Louisville on Saturday. Well, at Dark Lord Day the air temperature was about 44, with the kind of wind that'll rip your nipples off. Everyone there was wearing a light jacket or hoodie they had packed "just in case," and were all cursing themselves for not bringing something warmer. We were all freezing, except for The Old Man in the Hawaiian Shirt and Jorts. The guy appeared to be in his seventies and didn't seem the least bit uncomfortable.When my grandfather was in his seventies, he put on a sweater if the mercury dipped below 95.
The last I saw of The Old Man in the Hawaiian Shirt and Jorts, he was passed out unconscious, sitting against a fence, his mouth agape, covered in a combination of puke and drool. Druke? Prool? It was about three hours into the festival.
Bands play at Dark Lord Day. If you've heard of any of them, you aren't much like me. They all sounded the same to me, with the guttural screaming and all, so I'll leave it to someone else to discuss the general merits of Touchy Uncle or My Sad Childhood or Woe is Me it's So Hard Being a White Male in America.*
*If you think it's odd that someone would make this joke while complaining about a few minor inconveniences at a beer festival, well duh - I'M A COMPLETE HYPOCRITE.
The constant wave of humorless scream music did have a benefit though...
-The Seldom-Used Port a Pottys Just Past the Stage
If you've ever been to any large outdoor event, you know all about the joys of waiting in long lines to relieve yourself in a tiny enclosed space. Add a stench that smells like all the urine ever produced by all souls living or dead since time began, and you have the typical Port a Potty at Dark Lord Day. However, if you wanted to avoid a 45 minute wait to add your pee to this hellish Bouillabaisse, you just walked past the final song from My Stepdad Had Boundary Issues and there were two rows of almost unused portable piss units. And they weren't as filthy, because dozens of people were using them rather than thousands.
Thank you, music I can't stand!
- Bottle Shares
In a lot of ways, I think 3 Floyds likes to see just how much they can mess with people and still have them attend their festival. The scarcity of the tickets, bands with Cookie Monster on lead vocals, the long lines, the longer lines, the longest lines, all seem like a torture test. 3 Floyds makes up for it by letting people bring in their own bottles to share with other beer lovers. In this age of anthrax letters, would you take a liquid offered to you by a complete stranger? You would if you were attending a beer festival. The bottle share lets you give people some of the rare beer you've attained and try beers you never thought you'd get a chance to taste. There was also a bottle share at a hotel the night before and the night after. This was at a nice hotel in Munster, not at our Hammond hotel, which I'm pretty sure was the place Bob Crane was beaten to death.
See you next year, Northern Indiana.