It was party time as merry elves descended on Dark Horse Brewing in Marshall to chow down and drink up at the annual 4 Elf party.
4 Elf 2023 – We are back!
When we arrived at the annual 4 Elf party at Dark Horse Brewing this weekend, I thought, “We are back, baby!” Not only did we make it this year after missing last year, but it felt like we all had made it back, back from the lower turn-out after the pandemic and just back to gathering in mass.
Then I thought of the scene from The Hangover where Phil and Stu are jazzed about being back. Now, I’m not sure if I’m Phil or Stu in this scene (or perhaps I’m Doug??) Anyway, for a refresher, here’s the clip:
Now, I could also be Alan as he sings about his best friends. However, in my case, it isn’t just three friends; it’s a room full.
Dark Horse Community
I love beer events like 4 Elf. While the beers are outstanding, what makes it shine is the community. We immediately started seeing old friends such as Go Dad, Brett, and Kevin. Our dearest Dark Horse pals Trent, Emily, and Taylor were on hand.
Sadly, I missed getting a pic of Cabe, Katy, and Kristine. However, we met Dark Horse marketing director Charlie Osberger, whom we’d seen at beer festivals. Now, we can put a name to the face.
Speaking of names, I will admit up front that I’m terrible with names. This is not a good trait, and I’ve yet to rectify it. Suffice it to say, we ran into many friendly and familiar faces, the usual suspects, if you will. I’m going to have to get my shit together and take a hot minute to ask folks names. In the meantime, shout out in the comments after this story if you have names for these wonderful folks.
It Ain’t Easy
If you are like me, you love a great party, and there can be no doubt that 4 Elf is one of the very best. Everyone is decked out in fun holiday wear. Some with their favorite ugly sweater. Some with festive hats or Christmas lights. Others take their holiday costumes to the max, hoping to snag the best costume prize money.
In the rush of seeing people enjoying beers and food, it is easy to forget that a ton of work goes into putting on a party like this. Many thanks to the Dark Horse team of staff and volunteers who make 4 Elf so much fun. They did a marvelous job keeping the beer flowing and serving dandy food.
Roaking Out in the Beer Garden
With the new Roak Beer Garden up and running, the 4 Elf party has a badass new home. Dark Horse set up tents connected to the roof over the Roak bar and into the garden. It made the party space feel huge. Filled with partying elves, the space was bright, festive and fun. Although, the rocks in the garden made for a sobriety obstacle course when navigating around them.
The famous bottle releases from 4 Elf parties of old were back this year. The general store had special bourbon barrel varieties of Plead The 5th, the delicious Russian Imperial, and 4 Elf Winter Warmer. Those big-ass beers were on tap along with a bevy of beauties, including the new Apricot Tree Hazy IPA and the Gen Pop pilsner. These beers and the original Crooked Tree made this party hum harder.
When we made our power slide into the 4 Elf party, the music was already kicking. We missed out on Father Stone but caught the soulful rockin’ blues of the Fat Animals. The band was firing on all cylinders. Brilliant vocals, heart-thumping rhythm, and the sweet singing of dual Les Pauls were heaven to my ears. The Fat Animals jammed a number of classic tunes, but the highlight was the extended cover of The Allman Brothers’ “Whipping Post.” My lord, The Fat Animals are fantastic.
The front of the stage on the opposite end of the Roar beer garden quickly filled up in anticipation of Starfarm. This was the band’s third year in a row headlining the 4 Elf party. After just a few notes of “Working for the Weekend” by Loverboy, it is easy to see why Starfarm is a favorite. They play to perfection the power hits of the 80’s. You want to dance, Starfarm’s got you. You want to go crazy, Starfarm’s got you. You want to crack that whip, Starfarm’s got you. We jumped around with a few hundred of our best friends and had a ball.
Stories of 4 Elf Party Past
We’ve got a bunch of 4 Elf Party stories going back to 2012!:
- 4 Elf Party 2021 Post-Pandemic reboot
- 4 Elf Party 2019 Fat Animals and Starfarm.
- 4 Elf Party 2018 OMG the music!
- 4 Elf Party 2017 It was Dark Horse’s 20th Anniversary
- 4 Elf Party 2016 We met Jesus.
- 4 Elf Party 2015 The mosh pit was out of control. I didn’t know that could even happen.
- 4 Elf Party 2014 The Massholes played!
- 4 Elf Party 2013 That was the year the guy had an alligator head on the dance floor.
- 4 Elf Party 2012 Met the guy with fucker tattooed on his lower lip.
For more 4 Elf memories from this year, head to our gallery.
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