Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Surviving Dark Lord Day

This week begins just like every other week for most people. For many beer geeks, however, this week starts with more excitement than most. Dark Lord Day is Saturday. If you don't know about this, check out www.darklordday.com and catch up.

Having been to the past two Dark Lord Day events, I thought it might be good to pass along some tips for surviving the day. The boom of craft beer in the last year or two has brought a lot of new beer geeks to the scene which has increased the number of first time attendees. 

1. Arrive early. The parking situation is a concern. The sides of the streets will be lined with cars by 7:00am. If not earlier. If you don't get one of those spots, you may be forced to pay for parking in one of the surrounding lots or across the street in the park. If you plan to arrive later in the day, you may have better luck as there are people who leave early. But one of my favorite things about DLD is the bottle sharing line before the event starts. So getting there early means less stress related to parking and awesome time waiting in line. 

2. Don't be an asshole. This is probably the most important tip for the day. Be flexible, have a positive attitude, and remember that everyone is there to have a good time. Don't line cut in the bottle line once inside. If someone in line offers you a pour of Bourbon County Rare, be modest. Take a 1-2oz pour. Don't be greedy and take a 6oz pour unless you are looking to get in a fight. Which goes back to the first sentence in this rule. 

3. Take a case of water with you. Seriously everyone should bring that much water. This is a marathon. Not a sprint. Small pours and lots of water are your keys to not getting drunk early in the day and face planting in the grass. Contrary to what you might think, you do not want to get drunk at DLD. For most, this is inevitable though. So hydrate hydrate hydrate and make sure you eat a substantial breakfast and an alpha brat for lunch. Bring snacks as well. Food and water are your best friends on Saturday. 

4. Don't forget your tickets, cash, and ID. You will need all of them. Guest taps are $5-$10 during the day. Dark Lord bottles are $15. If you win the right to buy a barrel aged Dark Lord that's $50. Plan for the best because you don't want to have to deal with the ATM line. I promise. 

5. Bring a cooler or a backpack. The rules say coolers are not allowed, but if you bring a soft cooler that goes over your shoulder, you will be fine. Backpacks are definitely good to bring as well. Just don't bring one of those large coolers on wheels. They won't let that in. Also, the high temp for Saturday right now is 48, so you may not need a cooler at all. But better to have it to transport your beers for sharing. 

6. Bring beer to share and a tasting glass. People love craft beer. You don't have to bring super rare bottles to share. Bring a growler of your local favorite. Bring home brews. We all will want to try most anything craft. I also usually bring two tasting glasses. Don't stress about what to bring. Bring something you want to drink and don't mind sharing with others. 

7. Dress appropriately. It's going to be a tad chilly. Great for keeping beer cold during the day, but you will want to wear a sweatshirt or a light jacket. Also, sunscreen is a good idea if you don't plan on wearing a hat. It will be sunny and you can still get sunburned if you don't take proper precautions. Also, right now the forecast is for 0% chance of rain...which means you should definitely bring some rain gear. 

8. Bring a cloth grocery bag. When you go through the bottle line to get your dark lord bottles, they will provide you with a flimsy bomber 4 pack holder. Don't trust your bottle fate to these carriers. Put your bottles in a cloth grocery bag and immediately take them to your car. You don't want to be the guy who passes out in the grass next to your dark lord bottles because there ARE people there who will violate tip #2 and you will go home empty handed. 

9. Bottle sharing tips. Don't assume anything you see on the table is fair game for you to take a pour. Always be courteous and ask. It usually will be fair game, but asking eliminates any question. If you didn't bring it, ask. People are always nice and generous, but if you just start taking pours you are violating tip #2 and people won't enjoy being with you. Contribute to the share as well. Plan to bring bottles that you open in line before the event and in the tents during the event. Don't open all of your bottles in the line before. Also, if your bottle has a cork, bring a corkscrew. 

10. Bring toilet paper. Self explanatory. 

11. Hit up the guest taps. There is world class beer brought in from awesome breweries across the globe. Use your friends to divide and conquer. If you have 10 friends everyone buys one different pour and you share them with the group. Sharing guest taps is a lot of fun and you get to try more incredible beer.  

12. Check out the bands. I've missed this each year, and while Metal is not really my thing, I definitely want to check out some of it this year. I am dying to rage. 

I am sure there are many other things I could list but if you follow these 12 tips you should have yourself a marvelous time. Be safe, don't be afraid to call a cab, and have fun!  Be sure to check back as we will have our own Dark Lord Day story to share with you all. 

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