The event, dubbed Dark Saturday, broke a record set at HopCat Detroit’s grand opening on Dec. 13, 2014, which featured 120 Short’s Brewing Company beers.
By 11 a.m., a line wrapped around the front of the building as fans waited to try the huge variety of Dark Horse brews.
For HopCat and Dark Horse staff, the day began much earlier.
“It was all hands on deck to get this event together,” Trevor Mapes, captain of beer research at Hopcat, said. “A lot of the logistical elements were planned early on, and barbacks and food runners provided muscle late into the night and early in the morning before opening.”.
The bar filled up quickly as attendees anticipated rare and hard-to-find Dark Horse Brews.
“It’s great to see Dark Horse and HopCat tackling this event in Detroit,” said Damon Ward, Detroit resident and craft beer enthusiast. “It signifies how supportive they are of the local beer community.” Of the 130 beers on tap, Ward was most excited to try the 2014 and 2015 Bourbon Barrel Plead the 5th stout.
The all-day event included a special one-day renaming of HopCat Detroit’s Huma Room into the Crooked Tree Room. TV screens showed college football throughout the afternoon, and live music began at 7 p.m. to close out the evening.
“We love Detroit and want to be part of its ongoing renaissance,” said Bryan Wiggs, head of brewery operations and token hippie at Dark Horse. Yes, his business card really says that.
“It is a privilege and it is exciting to be breaking the world record here in Detroit,” Wiggs added.
“We came up with the idea for the tap takeover with HopCat at the Winter Beer Fest in February of 2014, and have been brewing beers specifically for this event since them,” said Aaron Morse, founder and owner of Dark Horse.
On the 12-acre Dark Horse compound in Marshall, Morse makes honey and maple syrup, he grows hops and fruit, and he uses all these elements in his beer.
“We have fun pushing the envelope and doing things people say you can’t,” Morse added.
For a must-try beer, Morse suggested the Rubescent Zhaftig Ghastly, which has all the roasty, creamy characteristics one would expect in a stout, but pours a vibrant red color.
“It is a brain teaser,” he said.