The Chicagoist will be launching later but in the meantime please enjoy our archives.

Tips For Getting Through Dark Lord Day

By Chuck Sudo in Food on Apr 23, 2010 4:00PM

Beer geeks traveling in style, parked in front of the ticket holder line

Tomorrow will be Marcus's first foray to Dark Lord Day and he asked me for tips on navigating the festival yesterday. One would think that a man who made it through the sustained Sodom of a New Orleans Saints Super Bowl victory celebration and Mardi Gras in succession would need no tips on how to navigate something of this size.

But Marcus came to me anyway. I've been critical of previous Dark Lord Days but will be the first to admit that I can miss the forest for the trees when it comes to this. The one thing I have to keep reminding myself is that, while Dark Lord is just a beer, the event is about more than the beer. It's about community: beer fans coming together as a fraternity and to enjoy themselves. It's also a way for Three Floyds to thank its customers. So following are some tips to enjoy the event, hopefully get your mitts on some of Three Floyds Imperial Russian Stout without the golden tickets, and not wind up like Dysentery Larry or Erdinger 2003.

  1. Pack cash. Lots of it. Three Floyds does bring in ATMs for Dark Lord Day, but the lines to reach one at times can be as long and frustrating as the ones for beer.
  2. Pack for the weather. The forecast calls for rain tomorrow. Bring rain gear. Bring sunscreen, also. Three Floyds is located in the middle of Munster's industrial park. Shade is at a premium.
  3. Parking is a bitch. Take a look at this map. Everything shaded in red is no parking. Everything shaded in green is alright, but will most likely be filled before the fest opens at 10 a.m. This is why biking to DLD has become a very popular transportation option for some attendees. Weather permitting, I might even try it myself tomorrow.
  4. Make a plan of attack. If you're coming down on one of the buses from LUSH, Drinks Over Dearborn, Sheffield's, Quencher's, Reggie's, or biking, your window for staying at DLD is limited. Golden ticket holders can purchase Dark Lord from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. You don't have to queue up immediately after leaving the bus to get your Dark Lord. Have some of the guest beers. Enjoy the music lineup. Walk around.
  5. Dark Lord sales are open for everyone after 5 p.m. Golden ticket holders can get the beer from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. If you didn't make your purchase by then, you're lining up with everyone who didn't get tickets.
  6. Respect the beer. As with any festival where you find yourself waist-deep in suds, the odds are even that someone at DLD will have too much to drink and act like a jackass, then get hauled away by Munster's finest.
  7. Be patient. This is the one rule I consistently fail to follow. Try to remember that everyone is in the same boat. You're here for fun and beer (which is also fun). The lines move when they're ready to move and any amount of cursing under your breath and exaggerated sighing will not get them to move faster. This will serve you well if you're waiting to get into the brewpub.
  8. Introduce yourself to the homebrewers: they're willing to share if you're nice. The best beers I had at last year's DLD were from homebrewers, especially the Mystic Brewers of the Inebriati. Which leads to my next tip.
  9. Embrace your inner geek. If you've ever wasted a weekend playing Dungeons & Dragons or Magic: the Gathering; have mint condition first printings of Marvels and Crisis on Infinite Earths you'll be right at home and your skin's melanin will thank you for being outside. Don't believe me? Take a look at the Dark Lord label.
  10. Drink something besides beer. Bring water. Bring a sport drink. Bring something non-alcoholic that isn't a soda or energy drink so you don't wind up drinking parking lot beer spillage for $25 like Dysentery Larry.
  11. Eat. See previous. Three Floyds brewpub chef Benjamin Caulfield does the Lord's Work. He and other vendors will have plenty of stuff for you to balance all that beer. Chow down.
  12. Dark Lord Day is "Heavy Metal Parking Lot Munster." There's gonna be a lot of metal playing onstage tomorrow. Sybris kicks ass. Imperial Battlesnake should give you your best opportunity for an extended bathroom break.
  13. Don't miss your bus or ride. If you're on a bus, they leave promptly. If you separate from your designated driver and wind up in Ohio with someone you hooked up with at the fest, make sure you have money for a train or a long cab ride back to Chicago.