MUNSTER | The town became the center of the craft beer universe Saturday, as thousands of people made the trek to Three Floyds brewery for its annual Dark Lord Day.
The event in Munster proved bigger than the opportunity to come away with the one-time-per-year yield of the sweet, syrupy — and strong — Dark Lord Russian Imperial Stout beer.
Some 7,500 beer aficionados were willing to pay the $30 entry fee for an opportunity to wait in an approximately two-hour line to purchase a $60 four-pack of the rare brew.
For Keith Hannafin, who made the pilgrimage from Tampa, Fla., his thoughts were with his uncle and fellow craft beer lover, who died in the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
“I give Dark Lord a 7½ on a scale of 10, but the socialization here today is 12,” he said.
Indeed, most people were keeping their Dark Lord capped for a special day, and instead traded and offered samples of their favorite brews, which they were allowed to bring in. Attendees could also sample beers sold by other brewers or purchase any number of Three Floyds varietals.
Denver’s Jorge Chavez said he knew of no other beer festival where people were allowed to bring in their own beers.
“This is an opportunity to hang out with people you’ve never met before and share the beers you love,” he said. “We have many craft breweries in Denver, but no beer festival like this. It’s pretty cool.”
Alia Midoun, was doling out samples of Wreckagemaster, a double India pale ale she brought from Solemn Oath Brewery, in Naperville, where she works as a tap supervisor.
“It’s all about the beer culture today, a common goal to try new things and challenge your palette,” she said.
For Chicago’s Jessie Diaz, Dark Lord Day was a coming out party for his Dark Matter coffee, which Three Floyds used for the first time to brew Dark Lord. Diaz marveled at the long lines to purchase his varieties of coffee, iced or hot, and espressos.
“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for my brand,” said Diaz, noting Three Floyds used about 1,000 pounds of his Dark Matter coffee. “I wish they sold Dark Lord every day.”
A lucky few scratched off a ticket making them eligible to purchase a special vanilla bean coffee blend of Dark Lord, albeit for an extra $50. Valparaiso’s Scott Mockler felt like he won the beer lottery.
“Someone offered me $100 when I walked off with it, but I’m keeping it for myself,” he said.
While Dark Lord Day drew people from across the United States, region residents like Munster’s Russ Rommelfanger, appreciated the craft beer cache Dark Lord Day brings to Munster.
“When I tell people I’m from Munster they always mention Three Floyds,” he said. “It’s fun to have our town associated with something like Dark Lord Day.”