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Beer and Loathing (and chili nachos) at Gonzofest

We were somewhere between Gaithersburg and Germantown when the thirst for beer took hold. I was driving to cover a local beer event with my Canadian American photographer, Mehan, in the great brown Toyota. We were on the road by about 3:30PM on Saturday, speeding up Route 270 with 30 miles to go. They’d be tough miles. We’d soon be twisted trying not to get sucked in by the various Waffle Houses and Cracker Barrels tormenting us like dive-bombing desert bats from random sidetracking exits we had no business taking before we made it to our final destination. We were promised chili, so we stood strong against the aromas of hashbrowns smothered and covered wafting in through the Toyota’s air vents.

I remember saying something like “This seems a lot less local when you are caught in traffic,” and my photographer just flipped on some Dirty Projectors from his iPod. No point mentioning the waffles, the poor bastard would smell them soon enough. The english muffin trucks along English Muffin Way let us know we were getting close, as did the growing number of cars parked along the edges of the side-streets and parking lots leading up to the brewery. Suddenly there it was, a line around the building and a giant doghouse-like tower proclaiming that we had arrived at the Colorado-craft beer transplant, Flying Dog Brewery. We found our own creative parking spot on the grass of what probably was the english muffin plant’s grass.

Gonzofest ID Check and Flying Dog Brewery

Moving quickly through the ID check, getting our obligatory pink bracelet, we were greeted by the cluster of porta-potties that would soon be overrun by beer enthusiasts. The lines continued, as if a theme of the day, for both beer and food–and sometimes just nothing. Lines would form as intrepid line formers who couldn’t see the front would join in for fun and as people neared the front, the line would disintegrate at a slow trickle as the phantom lines led to no beer, no food or no where. Mehan and I joined a few such lines before we enjoyed some beer, but it gave us a chance to examine some of the finer Hunter S. Thompson costumes and make friends with other similarly duped line-connoisseurs.

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