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Feature Thu May 01 2008

Dark Lord Day

When I arrived at Dark Lord Day 2007, the Three Floyds Brewery parking lot was filled with people clustered around picnic tables. New to Dark Lord Day, my companions and I had neglected to bring any beer to drink that morning.

Within minutes we had been introduced to one of the picnic table groups, handed disposable cups, and offered samples of an impressive spread of unique beers.

The beer nerdiness combined with Kentucky Breakfast Stout, homebrew and Dark Lord from previous years made the hour before the brew house doors opened fly by. At 11:00 a.m. an excited shuffle moved everyone into a line that pulled us past other picnic tables of abandoned bottles. We freely sampled from them as we slowly made our way toward the building. An hour and a half later we left with our allotted six bottles and headed back to Chicago.

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This year, things were a bit different. Three Floyds had instituted some changes in order to make the day run smoothly given the anticipated surge in attendance, but it seems they underestimated.

We arrived at 10:00 a.m., just as we had before, to find an enormous line snaking off into the distance. We settled into the back of the line and began to notice infants, cans of Coors Light, and even a television crew. I momentarily regretted writing about the past year and began to tally up the media mentions of the event that I had come across in the previous weeks.

As the line began to compress we adjusted to the cold winds and opened some of the beers and homebrew that my father had packed. A few feet later we began to meet the people on either side of us and an hour later I had a pint of barrel-aged Dark Lord in my hand. Five hours later we were relieved to each have our six bottles of Dark Lord, and alarmed that the supply was clearly dwindling while hundreds of people were still in line.

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Dark Lord Day 2008 was not an awful event, but it was very different. I count myself lucky to have been able to experience the year before where the wait was less of a line and more of a beer festival. There were certainly some unsavory moments this year: Local residents attempting to sell their bottles to the end of the line at inflated prices, the unconscionable six bottle limit when there clearly were not enough bottles to go around, the inexplicable empty bottles of O’Doul's that I found in the port-o-potty, and the pleading faces of the individuals who offered to buy one of our bottles “for any price” as we were heading to our car.

But, now we know. I plan to be there next year, though I plan to be there much earlier than I was for the last two. I will no longer think of the event as an opportunity to meet other beer enthusiasts like the Great Taste of the Midwest is – it is now simply an opportunity to obtain a few bottles of great beer. While that might not be quite as fun, it isn’t going to make me write off my pursuit of Dark Lord.


 
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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

The State of Food Writing

By Brandy Gonsoulin

In 2009, food blogging, social media and Yelp were gaining popularity, and America's revered gastronomic magazine Gourmet shuttered after 68 years in business. Former Cook's Illustrated editor-in-chief Chris Kimball followed with an editorial, stating that "The shuttering of Gourmet reminds...
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About Drive-Thru

Drive-Thru is the food and drink section of Gapers Block, covering the city's vibrant dining, drinking and cooking scene. More...
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Editor: Robyn Nisi, rn@gapersblock.com
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