Why would anyone want to shake off a tryptophan-induced slumber just to stand in the freezing cold for the latest TV set when you could stand in line for something worthwhile, like beer? Black Friday has become one of the biggest beer release days in the world of craft beer, with dozens of breweries releasing some of their most sought after seasonals during the post-Thanksgiving consumerism bonanza. While the masses are trampling over themselves for $2 DVDs and $4 coffeemakers, head to one of these breweries to enjoy the greatest gift of all: beer.
Goose Island Bourbon County Brand Stout
Whether you consider it craft or crafty, Goose Island has released its popular Bourbon County Brand Stout at the Clybourne brewpub in Chicago for the past five years on Black Friday. Beer geeks will line up in the early morning for a chance to buy bottles of the stout as well as variants like Bourbon County Brand Coffee Stout, Vanilla Rye Bourbon County Brand Stout, Proprietor’s Bourbon County Brand Stout and Bourbon County Brand Barleywine. The brewery is also doing launch events in Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Jacksonville, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, Phoenix and San Francisco.
Lakefront Brewery Black Friday Imperial Stout Aged in Bourbon Barrels
Goose Island’s not the only brewery on Lake Michigan releasing a big, barrel-aged stout on Black Friday. Just a couple hours north along the lake is Lakefront Brewery in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, which has released a beer on the day after Thanksgiving for the past four years. In the past, this was an Imperial Black IPA; this year, they’ve switched to a Black Friday™ Imperial Stout Aged in Bourbon Barrels. See that trademark? They’re serious about the Black Friday thing, so much so that they even bought BlackFridayBeer.com.
Center of the Universe Brewing Shut Up Imperial Stout
Bourbon, by definition, must be aged in new, charred oak barrels — which is why so many breweries are able to scoop them up when the distilleries are done. But it’s not just breweries who use such barrels. The guys at Center of the Universe Brewing in Ashland, Virginia grabbed barrels that held port after they were used for bourbon, adding another layer of complexity to their imperial stout, which was the third type of alcohol to kiss these barrels. After four months in the barrels, the team gathered to sample the beer. It was so good that everyone simply shut up — and the name was born.
Flat12 Bierwerks Pinko! Russian Imperial Stout
In Indianapolis, Flat12 Bierwerks will open their doors at 10 a.m. to release Pinko! Russian Imperial Stout, which will be available in four-packs for the first time. Different versions of Pinko! will be on tap that day, and the brewery will have a pop-up shop for anyone shopping for additional Flat12 gifts that day.
Modern Times Black House Black Friday
For the second year in a row, Modern Times will spend Black Friday by tapping different versions of Black House, its oatmeal coffee stout. The event, “Black House Black Friday 2: Revenge of the ‘House,” will feature Black House treatments that include: gingerbread, toasted coconut and vanilla, and several different types of coffee, including coffee that’s been aged in rye whiskey barrels. They are also tapping different treatments of their Monsters’ Park, a 12 percent imperial stout. No bottles, just lots of tasters. Grab tickets to the event here.
Odd Side Ales Hipster Brunch Stout
For the first time, Odd Side Ales is releasing bottles of Hipster Brunch Stout, which is brewed with bacon, coffee and maple syrup before spending time in bourbon barrels. They’ll open up at 9 a.m. on Black Friday to sell 12-ounce bottles of this stout, which will retail for $5 a bottle or $17.50 a four-pack. It’s worth buying just for the bottle, which depicts a scarf-wearing slice of bacon hanging out in a cappuccino.
Firestone Walker Maltose Falcons Brownywine Collaboration
Firestone Walker collaborated with the Maltose Falcons — Los Angeles’ oldest homebrew club — to brew a beer to celebrate the club’s 40th anniversary. These two parties came together to brew a “barley wine class brown ale” that they dubbed Brownywine. Some of the beer spent time in rum barrels, some in brandy, and some in bourbon. After seven months, it was all blended back together before finding its way to bottles, which go on sale at the various Firestone Walker locations on Black Friday. Firestone Walker describes the beer as “rum soaked chocolate pound cake.”
Hangar 24 Craft Brewery Chandelle
Not all breweries are releasing big stouts and barleywines on Black Friday. Hangar 24 Craft Brewery will release bottles of Chandelle, the fifth beer in their Barrel Roll series. Chandelle starts life as a blonde ale brewed with both malted and unmated wheat, that’s put into white wine barrels and topped off with a souring culture. After a year, the barrels are blended back together and the beer is given a healthy dose of local apricots. They will release 22-ounce bombers of the beer at 10 a.m. on Black Friday.
Smuttynose Brewing Smistletoe
For many, thoughts turn to Christmas not long after Thanksgiving dessert. Smuttynose had visions of sugar plums dancing in their heads many weeks ago, and good thing for us — they will release their new Smistletoe only at the brewery on Black Friday. This Bière de Garde was brewed with plums, sweet cherries and black currants before being aged on toasted American oak. You can choose between ceramic or champagne-style bottles.
Triangle Brewing’s Black Friday Cask Festival
Now in its eighth year, Triangle Brewing’s Black Friday Cask Festival adds to the most glutonous of holidays with a sampling of beers from more than 25 different North Carolina breweries. And not from bottles — no, cask is the vessel of choice for these brewers. Tickets are $35 in advance and $45 at the door, which gets you unlimited samples from all of the casks at the event. Proceeds benefit the North Carolina Craft Brewers Guild.