Last week, the gang took our first road trip to one of our favorite breweries, Three Floyds. We departed Binny’s in Wilowbrook at 11:30 am and were in beautiful Munster, Indiana forty minutes later. The ride down was relatively quick, albeit the Three Floyds Gorch Fock and Brookyln Local 2 we were enjoying on the way made the trip much faster. Upon entering Three Floyds, an L shaped bar was on the left, with two low rider couches that hug the ground on either side of the entrance. A few tables are mixed in here and there. There is a room on the right with a few more couches and tables. Straight ahead from this second room is the entrance to the brewery. A single TV was in the corner, with some European soccer game on. Someone from the gang asked to have the NCAA basketball tournament put on, as we piled around the bar.
Our brewery tour didn’t start until 1:00 pm, so we had some time to enjoy a beer or two before. We were pleased to find three beers on tap at Three Floyds that are only available at the brewpub. My favorite out of the three was Slave Princess. Slave Princess is a very hoppy porter, made from the second runnings of the world famous Dark Lord Imperial Stout. It is 4.5% ABV, very sessionable, and was a sneak preview of the new batch of Dark Lord. The next rarity we found on tap was a beer called Banana Split. Banana Split is a very potent Dunkelweizen, that tastes like, you guessed it, bananas. The third beer we found on tap was a pale ale called Devil’s Handshake. This is a fantastic beer, and I wish they would bottle it so more people could savor it. They also had Brian Boru on tap, to go along with their regular lineup of Gumballhead, Alpha King, Robert the Bruce, Pride and Joy, as well as several guest taps.
Before long, it was time for our brewery tour to start, and we entered through a door connected to the back end of the brewpub. The brewery consists of two large rooms. The first room consists of all the brewing equipment, while the second room deals with all of the packaging and has a giant cooler attached. One of the first things I noticed was the heavy metal music blaring from the far end of the room we had just entered. Lincoln Anderson was leading us on our tour, and took us about ten feet before we stopped and huddled in front of a Pupskull holding tank. Popskull is an American Brown Ale, and is a collaborative effort between Three Floyds brewery and Dogfish Head Brewing. This beer will be available in bottles on Dark Lord day only. To the left brew master Nick Floyd had his head in the Dark Lord brew vessel, obsessing over the viscous beer the entire afternoon. Lincoln explained some of the history of the brewery to us, such as Three Floyds starting in 1997 with the two Floyd brothers and their dad, how Nick’s brother now owns a restaurant, and told us some of the history of the different beers, among other things. The point Lincoln kept hammering home is that the beer is what really matters, and nothing will get in the way of way of that.
After our history lesson was done, Lincoln motioned for us to follow as he lead us to the other side of the brewing room. We stopped close to the “Nemetron,” a machine that looked like a metal alien. The Nemetron was on wheels, had speakers for arms, and had an old school police siren on top of it’s head. The Nemetron’s arms were the source of the heavy metal music booming throughout the brewery. Lincoln pointed out the new brewing vessels Three Floyds has recently purchased, extending their barrel limit to 20,000 a year. Two years ago Three Floyds sold 6,000 barrels a year, and this year they expect to sell 10,000 to 12,000 barrels. When purchasing new brewing vessels, Three Floyds will buy any size, and consequentially have brewing vessels of varying sizes. This calls for hands on brewing, and since particular beers don’t have their own designated brewing vessel, every batch of any given beer is a different size. This is quite a challenge for Nick Floyd, but he seems to welcome it.
Since we were right next to the Nemetron and could barely hear a thing, Lincoln led us to the second room, located in the back of the brewery. In here empty boxes were stacked to the ceiling, waiting to be packed and shipped out. There was about ten beers being barrel aged in here, such as Vanilla Bean Dark Lord, Popskull, and Alpha Klaus, among others. Someone took this time to ask Lincoln if Three Floyds has any plans of expanding into any other states. He told us Three Floyds can barely supply the three states that they are in, so why expand?
We then moved into the cooler, which was directly to our right. There was two pallets of Popskull on our left stacked extremely high, only to be unveiled on Dark Lord Day. Two pallets of pelletized hops were to our right. Against the left wall was some Gumball Head and Pride and Joy six packs ready to be shipped out. There were kegs scattered throughout the entire cooler. I veered off into the far right corner, and discovered several Dark Lord barrels, as well as other oddball kegs beer lovers would kill to try, such as barrel aged Behemoth Barley wine. I desperately wanted to take a barrel with us, because it would instantly make me the most popular person in the neighborhood if I had Dark Lord on tap at my house.
The brewery tour wasn’t too long, and our schedule permitted us to hang around the brewpub until 4:00 pm. Katie insisted on ordering some Scotch eggs with our fresh round of beers, and boy was I glad she did. These gems are hard boiled eggs, rolled in breakfast sausage, then breaded, then fried. I was surprised at how superb the food was, wolfing down a cheeseburger topped with goat cheese with home made fries on the side. After lunch, I purchased an Alpha King shirt, Dave bought a Blackheart sweatshirt, and before I knew it, it was time to go. It was sad to see the brewery tour end, but the gang was already discussing the next trip. Founder’s and Bell’s were the most popular choices, with trips of Dark Horse and Jolly Pumpkin not out of the question. Where do you think the gang should go on their next road trip? We’d love to hear about your personal experiences at different breweries.