Wednesday, May 30, 2012

A Birthday Tradition

I turned 33 on Sunday.  I usually celebrate my birthday by having close friends over for a good BBQ and drinks.  This year I decided to turn that into a beer tasting event in addition to the 2 smoked pork shoulders for pulled pork.  The party was on saturday.  We feasted on BBQ and enjoyed countless beers.  Included in the beer sampling was Barrel Aged Alpha Klaus, KBS, Speedway Stout, Hop Stoopid, La Roja, Dark Mild, Scotty Karate, Maduro Brown, and several local selections including Sun King Popcorn Pilsner, Firefly Wheat,  Bare Hands Thai P.A., and Peoples name a few.  We had a blast at the party.  Many thanks to my friends and family who were able to attend this year.  Birthdays are much more special when celebrated with loved ones.  Unfortunately, nobody took any photos....complete fail on that picture front.  Whoops!

On Sunday I decided to add to the birthday tradition and open my first Three Floyds Dark Lord.  I plan to have 1 bottle of Dark Lord on my birthday from now until I no longer have it or have access to it.  Right now I have 4 left, so the next 4 years I'm all set :-)  Anyway, here are the notes for the tasting of this truly remarkable beer.

Choose Your Vessel:  As you might recall from my previous post on glassware, the drinking vessel is extremely important to me.  I chose the large CBS Snifter from Founders Brewing for this occasion.  The beer pours jet black in color and appears to have a motor oil type of consistency.  It definitely seems thick from the pour.  There is a small dark brown head that recedes quickly, but of special note is the carbonation that seems to be lively towards the surface of the beer.  Overall this beer looks quite intimidating....but I'm up for the task....I think.

Aroma:  The aroma here is of significant roasted chocolate malt and fruits.  Sometimes with higher ABV beers you also smell the alcohol a little bit, not with Dark Lord.  It seems to be completely hidden from the nose.

Taste:  Wowzers.  The first sip is an experience.  The beer coats my tongue with a thick and viscous fluid.  It's the thickest stout I've ever had.  Extremely full bodies.  My palate is flooded with flavors throughout the very first sip.  Charred fruits, plums, cherries, sweet molasses, and I definitely have the INTELLEGENTSIA coffee underneath all of these flavors throughout each sip.  The finish for me was the perfect blend of chocolate, vanilla, fruits, and coffee.  These flavors became more pronounced as the beer warmed up.  There was absolutely no hint of alcohol in the taste of the beer, but I did get a slight alcohol burn in my gut as the beer settled in to my system.

Overall:  Definitely the most complex stout I've ever had.  Super thick, incredibly chewy.  I loved it.  The beer really reminded me of a port wine.  It was rather sweet, which made it pretty challenging to drink the whole bottle.  It took me a little over an hour to finish.  Many people who rate beers like this claim it to not live up to the hype.  I would strongly disagree with that.  This beer is worthy of its lofty reputation.  I can't wait to celebrate next years birthday with another one.


Thursday, May 24, 2012

A Nice Piece of Glass

I love craft beer.  My friends and family are well aware of this.  What some may not realize is that I also have a special affinity for drinking glasses.  It started out as just a collection.  I collected pint glasses, the standard drinking glass you would find at any regular old drinking establishment.  My collection grew and grew.  As of today I think I probably have around 60 pint glasses.  I also have 12 or so specialty glasses such as Tulips, Snifters, Globes, and Imperial Pints.  I love glasses, not quite as much as I love beer, but it's close.

I was at a friends house a month or so ago and when we arrived for this beer tasting, my buddies wife brought out the good old "frosty mug".  Inside I cringed.  I couldn't possibly drink one of these fine quality beers from a frosty mug, but I wasn't going to be rude.  It was the first time I had been to this guys home and so I was determined to just suck it up and deal with the inadequate glassware.  A conversation ensued about craft beer and appropriate glassware which inevitably led to us switching to different glasses. After we switched to different glasses, a buddy of mine remarked at the astounding difference in aroma the beer had when poured into the more appropriate glass.

You are probably asking, "what's wrong with the frosty mug?  I have two in the freezer right now waiting for my next after work beer".  Do yourself a favor and, unless you are going to drink a Coors Light out of the frosty mug, please take the frosty mug out of the freezer and put it back in your cupboard.  Or find another use for it, like making root beer floats.  Just please, don't use a frosty mug for a good quality craft beer.  Craft beer is complex.  You want to enjoy your craft beer the way it was intended for you, right?  On this occasion at my friends home, we started with New Holland Dragon's Milk, a robust and rich Imperial Stout.  The frosty mug is one of the biggest enemies to a beer like Dragon's Milk.  It's essentially like dropping an ice cube or two into the beer.  The condensation from the inside of the glass turns into water which then dilutes what was a rich and robust stout and turns it into a watered down unhappy version of itself.  Please don't make your beer sad. Coors light and those other yellow fizzy "beers" are already watered down, so really you aren't doing any damage to them.....not that further damage can be done to the already inferior product...unless you add Clamato and Chelada to Bud Light....but that's for another day.

Back to the discussion of glassware.  I'm not going to go into all the varieties of glassware out there, just the ones I think you should know about.

First: Let's Talk Tulip:

Palate Wrecker 
The Tulip glass is probably my all-time favorite glass to consume beer.  This glass has a stem and is in the shape of a, you guessed it, tulip.  The body of the glass is rather bulbous, with a slight inward curve in the middle, and at the top the glass flares out slightly.  It's no coincidence that my favorite glass is also the proper vessel for my favorite style of beer....the IPA or Imperial IPA.  Why is this the best glass for this beer?  Well, IPA's and Double IPA's have the highest hop content of most, if not all, beers.  Hops provide intoxicating aromas and when drinking an IPA you want that aroma to stick around as long as possible.  Once you open the beer, you inevitably start to lose some of that sweet hop aroma goodness.  The Tulip glass helps to prevent against aroma loss.  The curve in the middle keeps the majority of the beer below and the glass promotes incredible head retention, which also helps to keep the aromas in the vessel, unlocking them slowly and creating an incredible beer drinking experience as you work way through.
Zombie Dust in Tulip glass.  I know, Zombie dust is a Pale Ale, but it's so heavily hopped that a Tulip is  optimal.

Second: Snifter's.
Snifters are usually paired with Cognac or Brandy, but they are also the perfect choice for stouts, porters, barleywines, strong ales, scotch ales, and other heavier beer styles.
One of the most attractive qualities of a stout or a porter is complexity.  These beers offer a much more complicated aroma and flavor profile than most beers.  Snifters have a rather wide base and therefore it supports the "weight" of these heavier beers.  Fat glass for a heavy beer....makes perfect sense to me.  What does that wider base do?  Well, stouts and porters typically get better as they warm up.  This unlocks more layers of aroma and flavor along the way.  The wide base of the snifter provides more surface area.  More surface area means that heavy beer can spread out all over and inside that glass, which allows it to get comfortable and warm up a little sooner than if you were to put it in a regular pint glass. The other advantage of a snifter is the narrowed rim.  The narrowed rim again keeps the aromas inside the glass better than any other vessel.  It's also usually quite perfect when taking those precious sips because the rim will literally encircle your nose, trapping it in the glass and allowing you take a massive inhalation of aromas while your beer floods your taste buds.  This makes for the perfect stout/porter drinking experience.  If you don't have a snifter, a globe glass will essentially do the same thing
Firestone Walker Velvet Merlin in Snifter
Goose Island Bourbon County Stout in  Globe glass
Founders KBS in Globe
The Pint Glass:

There's nothing fancy here.  Pint glasses are probably the most well-known type of beer glass, and there are a lot of different ones out there.  I generally use the pint glass for American Pale Ales and Lagers.  These glasses are just easy to drink out of and are a solid choice when you aren't so concerned about intense aromas and complex flavors.  If I have been mowing my yard and I need to have a thirst quencher, I go with the pale ale in a pint glass.  Mostly just trying to enjoy a craft beer quickly and efficiently.  It's a versatile glass also, and if you are in a bar and want to enjoy an IPA or a Stout and they don't have a Tulip or a Snifter, then a pint glass will likely be an adequate replacement vessel.

Sun King Osiris Pale Ale in Sun King Pint Glass

Finch's Threadless IPA in an Imperial Pint Glass

The last glass we will look more specifically at is the Goblet or Chalice glass.  Goblets and Chalices have a stem and the body just flares straight out and up.  They don't narrow back inward at any point.  Goblets tend to be more thick and heavy.  Chalices are usually more delicate.  They both tend to resemble each other in style though and are rather majestic.  I like to think of them as glasses fit for a king.  Especially the Goblet.  It really is a solid piece of glass that you can wrap your big mitts around and they just make you feel like you are drinking something special.  They are designed to maximize head retention and the wide mouth enables you to take bigger sips.  They are also just badass to look at and you feel like a king when you use one.
Avery Goblet

Westvleteren 12 Chalice
There are also other styles of glasses out there.  From the flute to the pilsner to the stein, there are many options at your disposal.  To learn more about proper glassware, read this article presented by the experts at Beer Advocate.  Make your beer happy and use an appropriate glass, and please, promise me, no stouts/porters in frosty mugs. 

What are your favorite drinking glasses?  Pics are welcome!!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Beer Review #3: Pliny the Elder

Today I will be taking a look at quite possibly my favorite double IPA that I have ever tried.  My fabulous sister, Lori, who lives in Colorado, sent me this picture last fall: 
She and I had many conversations about the beer after I began my journey in craft beer last summer.  This one has incredible reviews on Beer Advocate and Rate Beer.  All the beer geeks confirm it to be one of the best double IPA's around, giving it a perfect overall ranking of 100 on both sites, which says a lot about it's greatness.  When I received the picture I just about jumped through the ceiling in my house.  My sister and I have sent several boxes of beer back and forth from Colorado to Indy, but this is the beer that started us down the path of trading beers.

Russian River is one of the best breweries in the world.  They are located in Santa Rosa, California, which inspires me to someday take a trip out there when the even more hyped Pliny the Younger is on tap.  They are known for consistently putting out incredible brews, particularly their lineup of Sour Ales....Supplication, Consecration, and name a few.  They also put out Pliny the Elder, which is a year round double IPA that they offer....however, it's not always that easy to find as Lori has discovered.  So whenever she finds it, I usually get a box in the mail soon after.....thanks sis!  Let's get down to business:

Bottle Date: 4/3/12.  This is important to note because Pliny demands that you consume it fresh (seriously, read the tells you to drink immediately).  This bottle is about a month and  a half old at the time of consumption, so it's not the freshest bottle....but it'll do.

Choose Your Vessel: I love the 16ish ounce Bell's Tulip for this one.  Double IPA's almost require a tulip of some sort, and this beer gets my very best performing large tulip.  When I pour a beer, I want it to tell me what glass to use.  The aromas and flavor that accompany a pour from a double IPA such as this one tell me that the Tulip is a superior vessel to all other glasses.

The Pour: The beer, as pictured above, pours a beautiful golden color with a solid 2-3 finger head.  It's also  fairly clear.  It's up there in terms of the prettiest beers I have ever seen.

Aroma: I imagine that if/when I get to heaven, my first inhale of the sweet air would resemble my first whiff of Pliny.  Tropical fruits up front overwhelm the nose...pineapple, mango, and a bit of citrus are the predominant notes.  It smells like a floral hop bomb.

Taste: Hops Hops Hops up front.  Again you get the strong tropical notes of pineapple, mango, and strong citrus hop flavors.  Citrus notes are orange and some lemon.  It's really the perfect mix of all these incredible hop flavors that I love.  Also present is a touch of Pine.  I'm not a huge Pine hop fan as mentioned in previous reviews, but this one is completely well-balanced within the framework of the complex hop flavor profile this beer provides.  The finish is equally impressive as the malt backbone comes through, only to transition the beer back to the hops at the very end of the palate.  Super crisp throughout.  Light to medium body, decent carbonation.  Incredibly refreshing and thirst quenching, yet still leaves you in a space where you absolutely have to have one delicious gulp after another.

Overall: This one lives up to they hype and reputation it receives.  I would love someday to try a freshly tapped keg of this beer or at least get my hands on a bottle that's less than a week old.  Nevertheless, it is probably the most well-crafted double IPA I have had.  So many hop flavors mixed in with a decent malt backbone to leave your palate craving more and more.  Get your hands on this one if you are able.  Thanks to Russian River for making this beauty.


My American Craft Beer Week

Beer is Good.  Craft beer with friends is even better.  My lack of attendance at all but 1 american craft beer week events was made up for by the shenanigans that took place at Macnivens on Thursday night for the Sun King tap takeover.  I started off American Craft Beer Week strongly with one of my all time favorite double IPA's, Pliny the Elder.  Followed that gem up with Founders Curmudgeon Old Ale, Odell IPA, Finch's Threadless IPA, and Three Floyds Zombie Dust.  Pics below:

Then came Thursday.  My buddy matt and I set out on a beer drinking adventure like none other.  It was a hot day, perfect for seeking out the thirst quenching goodness of Sun King's hand crafted gems.  We started the day by heading down to South of Chicago Pizza and Beef for scrumptious Italian Beef sandwiches.  If you haven't made it to this restaurant, I suggest you do so right now.  When we arrived, they were we walked across the street to the Dugout to enjoy a beer while we waited 20 minutes for glorious beef.
Matt enjoying his Sun King Cream Ale at the Dugout

My Osiris

Osiris and Me
 One beer down and over to enjoy what is one of the best Italian Beef sandwiches in Indy
We were lucky to find a was jam packed

Bears decor

Matt slamming his beef...and enjoying an Osiris
Matt couldn't quite finish his sandwich in the restaurant.  We sat and chatted for a few minutes before walking back to the car.  On our way, Matt decided he wanted to finish his beef....

On to Macnivens.  We were able to get a couple chairs right in front of the taps.  Sun King had 14 beers on tap for this occasion.  The list was packed with specialty brews.  One thing I have observed with Sun King is that, while their house beers are decent, their specialty beers are usually dynamite.  What's difficult is that they are usually quite hard to obtain.  So this event was truly special.  Here is a shot of one of the pour stations:

I enjoyed the following beers:

Poff the Magic Dragon
Stupid Sexy Flanders
Pappy Van Muckle
3 Grapefruit Jungle on hand pull

I also sampled:
Oak Aged Golden Princess
Sky Cake
Timmie on cask.

While enjoying our first round, we were joined by friends Tom and Brett.  I also spent quite a bit of time talking with a couple of Sun King employees who were there enjoying themselves as well.  More pics:
Firkin of Grapefruit Jungle

First GFJ

Second GFJ

Sun King employee

Tom enjoying the event

Third GFJ

Matt, Me, Tom, Brett...Matt has issues keeping his eyes open for pics

Matt and me
For me the stars of the event were the Pappy Van Muckle and the Grapefruit Jungle.  The Van Muckle was the first time I have tried a beer aged in Pappy Van Winkle barrels.  It was amazingly delicious.  I was a fan of Wee Muckle to begin with, but having it aged with Pappy took that beer to a completely different level of complexity and added an amazing smoothness.  I actually think it might be the best beer I have had from Sun King.  The Grapefruit Jungle was equally amazing.  I have had this one before and it was previously my favorite from Sun King.  The aroma of the beer is probably one of the most intense citrus hop smell I have ever encountered in a beer.  I could have smelled that beer for hours.  

This was quite a special day.  Looking forward to more events like this in the future.

Thanks to Macnivens and Sun King for doing this!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Founders Frangelic Mountain Brown

Founders is definitely one of my favorite breweries of all time.  Breakfast Stout, Centennial IPA, Founders Porter, Double Trouble, and KBS are some  of my favorites, although I really haven't come across a Founders brew that I haven't really enjoyed.

Founders has a special Backstage Series of special beers that are usually pretty difficult to obtain.  Recent releases include Curmudgeon's Better Half, Blushing Monk, and Canadian Breakfast Stout.  These beers can be tough to find if you aren't aware of release dates.  I missed out on Blushing Monk and CBS, but was able to score a few bottles of the Better Half.

The next release in the Backstage Series is Frangelic Mountain Brown.  Slated for release on July 2.  Sounds like a brown ale that's brewed with hazelnut coffee and will come in at about 9% ABV.  If you know anything about Founders, you know they do incredible things with coffee brews.  Read more about the release here and call your bottle shop to make sure you don't miss out on what sounds like an awesome release!  I just called my store and am first on the list for this one.....


Monday, May 14, 2012

American Craft Beer Week

American Craft Beer Week begins today and I can't really think of a better way to celebrate the coming summer than to enjoy craft beer with family and friends.  It seems that many cities/towns are gearing up for American Craft Beer Week with a plethora of special events, tastings, and takeovers, and my home city of Indianapolis is pulling out all the stops for Craft Beer this week.  As I think about it, I probably should have just taken the whole week off of work to celebrate Craft Beer.

One of the blogs I follow, Hoosier Beer Geek, has a list of the many events that will be held throughout the city during this week.  I encourage you to check out their blog which is a wealth of craft beer information.  It's an incredibly exciting list of events, but it certainly can be a bit overwhelming to think about how many different places are offering special activities.  If you are anything like me, you might end up agonizing over the decision you have to make so much that you just stay home, sit on your couch, and celebrate Craft Beer Week on your couch with your favorite craft beer in hand.......which is, of course, a completely acceptable way to celebrate and something I surely will be doing this week.

As my wife and I are expecting a new baby in the coming weeks and having a handful of a 2 year old we already do, I am well aware that my presence is required at home during this week to continue working on preparations for the new baby and to help relieve my wife's stress with the pending expansion of our family.  So for me, attending all of the events I would like to attend is virtually impossible.  Meaning that most of my craft beer celebrating will have to be done at home.  However, there are a couple of events that I hope to be able to attend and I encourage you to do so as well if you have the time.

Monday May 14th (I know, it's a little late to be putting this out there, but seriously) go grab your car keys and a couple friends right now and head to  Macnivens for their Three Floyds Tap Takeover.  It appears that they will have 12 taps of Three Floyds brews from 5p-11p tonight....and with that selection, you simply can not go wrong.  In fact, why are you still reading this?  Why haven't you left yet?  What's wrong with you?  GO!!! EDIT: I am reminded by the good people at Hoosier Beer Geek and Gina that the Three Floyds tap takeover is wednesday night....

I might also suggest grabbing a pint before or after your Three Floyds adventure at the Tomlinson Tap Room at City Market since pints are just $4 between 2p-9p.  This is an incredible way to kick off ACBW.

Tuesday:  Here's where tough decisions are made, but I think I have figured out what I would do if I could.  I would start by going back to Macnivens for the Two Hearted firkin that will be on all day.  I then might head over to the Red Lion Grog House for trivia from 7p-10p.  I would finish the night by enjoying $2.50 pints at the White Rabbit Cabaret.

Wednesday:  I would start my day at Triton Brewing to enjoy some Rail Splitter IPA and awesome food served by Clustertruck.  Then I would go back to Macnivens for a quick couple of Three Floyds brews before heading to Flat 12 Bierwerks Rock the Block Party where your money goes to a good cause and you get to enjoy the awesomeness that is Flat 12 brews.  Part of me would really like to go to the Tomlinson Tap Room for the IndyMonthly beerfest, but the price tag is kind of steep....but if that's your thing, then go ahead and enjoy because that is certainly a good choice as well.

Thursday:  Back to Macnivens for the Sun King tap takeover.  No, your liver does not need a break, you are a well oiled machine at this point.  I would literally just belly up all day at Macnivens today and enjoy the Fresh Local Beer that Sun King brews.  There are sure to be special releases there, and from what I have read a Firkin of Grapefruit Jungle could be all the rage.

Friday:  I would actually choose today to take a break and enjoy some craft beer from my fridge/cellar.  It's a good day to break it up, but if you must go out I would suggest Happy Hour at Tomlinson Tap Room.

That's a busy week of enjoying and celebrating American Craft Beer.  As for myself, I hope to get out to at least the Three Floyds takeover on Wednesday at Macnivens or the Sun King Takeover on Thursday.  Either way, I know I will be enjoying this week dedicated to one of my favorite things....craft beer.  As always, please enjoy responsibly.  Indianapolis Yellow Cab can be reached at 487-7777 for your safe transportation needs.


Saturday, May 12, 2012

A Tale of Two Pale Ales

For my first official beer reviews I was quite unsure as to what to discuss.  So I ventured to my beer fridge for some inspiration, hoping for some thirst quenching goodness.  My beer fridge is completely loaded with awesome brews, but immediately I saw the Deschutes Red Chair NWPA and I suddenly remembered that I also have a Deschutes Mirror Pond Pale Ale.  So I thought those two brews would make for a great beer blog review.

What I know about the brewery:  Well, not that much.  It's not a brewery that is readily available here in Indiana.  Nestled in the town of Bend, Oregon, Deschutes puts out world class craft beers.  They are well known for their imperial stout called The Abyss, which I do have, but haven't tasted yet.  Including the two beers I am about to discuss, I have enjoyed a whopping total of 5 beers from this brewery.  Each of them have been pretty solid.  Find out more about Deschutes Brewery here.

So let's talk Pale Ales.  First up was the Red Chair Northwest Pale Ale.  Here's what the beer geeks at and Beer Advocate have to say about this brew.
Choose your vessel:  For most pale ales, I tend to go with a standard pint glass.  We will get into glassware in a future post, I'm sure you are excited about that one. 

The Pour: This beer pours a nice amber color with a small white head that sticks around for a bit.  Some decent lacing (the white stuff that sticks to the inside of the glass) is visible. 

Aroma: Quite interesting for a pale ale.  Initially it smells of sweet malt with just a touch of citrus hops.  Maybe a touch of honey as well in the nose.  

Mouthfeel:  This one is surprisingly light with medium/light carbonation.

Taste:  Sweet malt up front, quite complex malt profile compared to most pale ales.  There is a citrus hop in the middle with a touch of pine that is quite common with Northwestern Pales.  Finish to this is pretty nicely balanced between sweet malts and bitter citrusy hops.  

Overall:  A much more malt forward pale ale than I am used to.  American Pale Ales tend to showcase the hops whereas English Pale Ales are known for their malt profiles.  This one resembled a good mix of the two styles.  Malty sweet with solid hop punches to keep you intrigued throughout consumption.  This one was very smooth and easy drinking.  Was gone before I knew it.  Would definitely enjoy this again sometime.  Thanks to my buddy John for sending this bottle.

On to the Mirror Pond Pale Ale.  Again, here is what Beer Advocate and have to say about this brew.  Solid reviews.
Choose your vessel: The standard pint glass.  I chose the Wynkoop I Heart Beer glass for this know....I heart beer.        

The Pour:  This one poured a hazy copper color.  Thin white head and again, the decent lacing on the glass.  The head went away a little quicker than the Red Chair.                                                      

Aroma: Straight up piney hops with maybe a little pineapple and citrus in there, but pine predominant.  Getting a little bit of sweet caramel as well.  But really, the pine is what I get most of in the nose.           

Mouthfeel:  Pretty light again, which is not surprising given the relatively low ABV of 5%.  Medium carbonation, some nice bubbles here.  Love me some bubbles.                                                       

Taste:  Again I just get a lot of piney hops up front, which is generally not my favorite hop flavor.  The citrus/pineapple sneaks in the flavor in the middle and the finish has a touch of caramel malt which helps to soften the pine from the palate.  Reminds me a little bit of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale.                                                                     

Overall:  Pretty solid Pale Ale.  My tasting notes revealed that as I drank this one the more I enjoyed it.  Was quite impressed with the complexity of the beer given it's low ABV.  An incredibly sessionable pale ale, pretty sure I could burn through a six pack in a matter of a couple hours.  Really good flavor for 5% ABV.  Special thanks to my big sis, Lori, for sending this brew to me.  Feel free to send more sis!!

In the end, quite a contrast for two beers in the same Pale Ale category.  One that features a sweet and complex malt profile with hops in the background, and another that is very hop forward with a touch of malt to balance the hop bitterness.  Just shows the versatility of craft beer.  Two beers in the same family that taste completely different from each other.  They are certainly unique brews.  


Dark Lord Day 2012....A Beer Adventure

Let's talk about Dark Lord Day 2012.  For those of you who may not know, Dark Lord Day is an event put on by one of my favorite breweries, Three Floyds.  They brew a dynamic Russian Imperial Stout called Dark Lord and they sell it on this day and this day only.  It is the lone time of the year where consumers are able to get their hands on this elusive brew.  Approximately 6000 tickets sell out in a matter of minutes for this event.  My friend Matt and I were able to get our hands on 2 tickets each.  So our good friend, Phil, and my little sister, Libby joined us for what would be an excellent beer adventure.

We arrived at Three Floyds at around 8:15am.  I can honestly say that this was the earliest time I have ever consumed beer.  I wasn't sure my system would be able to handle it.  Upon our arrival we saw the line of people that wrapped around the brewing facility and all through the streets.  I am sure that people began lining up around 5am or so.  Here are a couple of photos of us at the beginning of the day.

Phil and Libby enjoying breakfast beers

Phil, Libby, Me, and Matt at our first Dark Lord Day

Lines and gobs of people
One of the more interesting and unique traditions of Dark Lord Day is bottle sharing and the Dead Soldiers.  It was evident immediately that people here are incredibly friendly.  Many people bring some rare beers to share amongst friends they have never met.  Our group started the day with Left Hand Milk Stout Nitro.  The nitro made the beer incredibly smooth and velvety and was a perfect wake-up call for our still sleepy palates.  We met up with an old high school friend of ours, Rob, about 10 minutes into the event.  He shared his Oskar Blues Ten Fidy with us which was awesome.  We stood in line for about 2 hours, sharing brews, meeting friends, and just enjoying the company of many other craft beer junkies.  As the line started moving we came across several lines of dead soldiers.  When people finish bottles they line them up on the ground to pay tribute to the fallen brews.  A couple of photos of dead soldiers....

Dead soldiers

More Dead Soldiers
We enjoyed many many many awesome beers today.  One of these, and possibly my favorite of the day was Surly Darkness 2011.  Surly is a brewery out of Minnesota that exclusively distributes in their state only.  Darkness is a Russian Imperial Stout that is similar to Dark Lord in that it is only sold one day a year....Darkness Day.  I didn't have enough of it to write a complete review, but the sample that I had was spectacular.

Surly Darkness 2011 and me
Even More Dead Soldiers
We also met some pretty cool people along the way.  Here is a shot of the next generation of Dark Lord Fan...

A Dark Lord Fan to be...
 In front of us in line was an awesome guy named Ethan.  He writes the Midwest Beer Blog.  Ethan was generous to share his growler of Half Acre's Over Ale.  So far I have really enjoyed everything I have tried from Half Acre so getting to try something new was pretty special.  Ethan and I chatted up about various craft brews and I shared with him my limited knowledge of the Indianapolis craft beer scene. You can follow Ethan's beer blogging here.  He and I will surely connect when his adventures take him to Indianapolis.  Cheers Ethan!
Ethan and Me
Once we made it through the line and into the actual event, approximately 10:30 or so, we started scoping out the scene.  I grabbed a pint of Three Floyds Rye Da Lightning which I remember having quite a nice rye spice to it.  I snagged bottles of Live the Rich Life, Three Floyd's/Half Acre collab Mutiny and The Mollusk, Barrel Aged Alpha Klaus, and Three Floyds XV Baller Stout.  I found my buddy Rob and some of his friends at one of the few tables inside the event, where he convinced me to open the Baller Stout.  He did promise to replace the bottle, so that made this an easy decision.  While at the table I noticed  a bottle of Founders Canadian Breakfast Stout and whoever brought it was generous to allow me a small pour of it.  I remember the stout being full bodied, hits you with coffee in the front and finishes with the most amazing maple sweetness.  Truly an outstanding beer.  So outstanding that it required a photo....

A couple random photos from the day


Three Stooges
We then entered our group sales time for Dark Lord.  We only waited in this line for about 20 minutes or so, at least that's what I remember.  I snagged Matt's bottles since he didn't want them, and also "won" the chance for a Dark Lord variant.  I chose the Cognac barrel aged Dark Lord De Muerte which is aged with Ancho and Guajillo peppers.  I am a sucker for a chili beer.

Welcome to Dark Lord Day....Lib is happy
 The end of our dark lord day adventure.  Here is a list of beers that were tried at Dark Lord Day, followed by a picture of our groups haul:
La Pelican Brun
Three Floyds Baller Stout
Founders Better Half
Founders CBS
Founders KBS
Surly Darkness 2011
Bells Eccentric Ale 2005
Barrel Aged North Coast Old Rasputin
Firestone Walker Sucaba
Three Floyds Rye Da Lightning
Dogfish Head 120 Minute IPA
Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA
Dogfish Head Burton Baton
Goose Island Bourbon County Stout 2011
Half Acre Over Ale
Firestone Walker Double Jack IPA
Cigar City Humidor Series Cedar Aged IPA
Schlafly Reserve Imperial Stout 2011
The Lost Abbey Deliverance Ale
Oskar Blues Ten Fidy
Left Hand Milk Stout Nitro
Sun King Isis Imperial IPA
Triton Railsplitter IPA
Our Haul
And what trip to the region would be complete without a stop at Portillo's for the best italian beef sandwich in the world?  Here we are enjoying the beef.....

My haul