Saturday I went 3 hours away to the beautiful town of Decorah, Iowa. For about 2.5 hours. And then turned around and came home. All in the same day. It takes a lot for that to happen. And the reason was a beer release. Not just any beer release, but Toppling Goliath’s Morning Delight beer release. This is consistently one of the highest-rated and most anticipated beers in the world, and I couldn’t pass up the fact to experience it.
When I saw the lottery was open to win a ticket to attend the release, I registered. And I won! I would have the opportunity to purchase a 4-pack of 12 ounce beers and two glasses. Morning Delight is an imperial stout brewed with coffee and balanced with maple syrup. It has a great, thick mouth feel and is nicely balanced. Not my typical type of beer, the fact that I won a spot to receive a package of the beer and experiencing the release was enticing, but it really is a good beer.
I haven’t been to many specialty beer releases, but this is run about as smooth as one can expect. Winners have to bring cash and two forms of ID, and come at an assigned time. Parking was easy, it was clear where to go and the event was organized. I got my beer, sample and extras that were for sale (in my case, Supa Sumo, another fantastic beer that is only being sold in Northeast Iowa) and was in and out in less than 30 minutes. I know it takes trial and error to get to that point, I’ve heard about past Morning Delight days and, having lived in Florida, have heard how Cigar City’s Hunahpu’s Day has evolved, so I appreciate the process.
The big learning experience between going to Decorah on Saturday and even my experience at Surly’s Darkness Day in 2015 is to learn how much you can about what’s going on for the event. In Decorah, bars and restaurants were having special releases and concurrent events for people who didn’t get Morning Delight tickets or who were waiting for the brewery to open after the release. One bar had seven pours of rare and special release kegs for $25. A great, fun deal if we didn’t have to turn around and drive home.
Point is, find out as much as you can about the release, any food trucks or special releases, etc., you can before you arrive. I would make an overnight trip of it next time, and even if you don’t get the special release of Morning Delight, you can still get to town and try it (as I could when I went to Darkness Day). Find someone who has been there before, check the internet and message boards, ask on social media, etc., to “know before you go” so you can roll into the event like and experienced fan of the release.
Have you ever been to a specialty release? What was your experience like and what tips do you have?