In Milwaukee, Black Friday means shopping for specialty beer. Here's a guide to 31 of this year's events.
Beer is the new Black Friday. Well, it is in Milwaukee.
Brew City celebrates what used to be opening day of the Christmas shopping season with an unparalleled beer-centric intensity. There are so many beer events you might need a spreadsheet to hit them all.
Chicago’s Goose Island Brewery may have invented the beer release on Black Friday when it launched barrel-aged Bourbon County Stout in 2010. But it was Milwaukee’s Lakefront Brewery that trademarked the name for the barrel-aged stout it has released on Black Friday since 2011.
Here’s your Thanksgiving weekend beer guide:
Nov. 27 Black Husky Brewing, 909 E. Locust St., features its “Ahead of the Pack” release ahead of the others. This year, it’s an Imperial Sweet Potato beer called The Great Yamkin. The brewery is open from 4 to 9 p.m. Beer events are planned throughout the weekend.
The Fermentorium releases Sweater Weather Imperial Milk Stout and three variants of that style — Cookies & Cookies, Coffee and Double Vanilla. Releases occur at its Cedarburg Brewery & Tasting Room, 7481 Highway 60 in Cedarburg, and The Fermentorium Barrel House, 6933 W. North Ave., Wauwatosa.
The Cedarburg brewery is open from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.; the Barrel House is open from 4 to 10 p.m.
Nov. 29 6 a.m.: The Explorium Brewpub, 5300 S. 76th St., Greendale, will open early to sell bottles of Milwaukee County Stout, an American Imperial Stout aged for 12 months in Maker’s Mark barrels. The 750-milliliter bottles will sell for $16 each; limit two per person. It also will be available on tap at $7.50 for a 12-ounce pour. Last year, Explorium sold out before 1 p.m. Owner Mike Doble expects the same experience this year.
The Explorium is serving coffee and doughnuts from 5:30 a.m. until the doors open.
8 a.m.-1 p.m.: Take that 8 a.m. start time as the official opening, but people will be lined up long before that. Lakefront Brewery, 1872 N. Commerce St., is the brewery that started it all in Milwaukee.
This year, the brewery will have four beers available for sale. The lineup includes Black Friday, stout aged in bourbon barrels; Rye Barrel-Aged Black Friday, a stout aged in rye barrels; Rum Barrel-Aged Fruit Cake Black Friday, a strong ale aged in rum barrels; and Barleywine Black Friday strong ale.
The beers will be sold in four packs of three Black Friday stouts with one Rye Barrel-Aged Black Friday or two Black Friday Barleywine beers with two Fruit Cake strong ales. The packages are $80. Single beers will also be available for sale.
There’s a fifth option for 2019, one limited to the first 100 people. It’s a 750-milliliter bottle of limited-edition stout that has been aging in barrels since 2014 and costs $100 a bottle.
MORE: For Black Friday, Lakefront Brewery adds a limited-edition $100 bottle of beer
11 a.m.-10 p.m.: Third Space Brewing, 1505 W. St. Paul Ave., changes things up on Black Friday by releasing four variants of its Liquid Layers Barleywine. This year’s Barleywine variants have been aged in either bourbon, rye, rum or, for the first time, a special whiskey pumpkin barrel. Four-packs of the beer are $20 each, and will include each of the four variants.
11 a.m.: Raised Grain Brewing, 1725 Dolphin Drive in Waukesha, will release a variety pack of Santa’s Sack Christmas Ale. The four-pack includes one can of the original spiced ale version, one can of the beer aged in tequila barrels, one aged in bourbon barrels and one aged in Sour Mash Whiskey barrels. A four-pack sells for $15.
11 a.m.: 1840 Brewing, 342 E. Ward St., opens early for sales of “Plumpy-Black,” naturally soured Cream Ale with black currant, blackberry, black cherry and lactose. It sells for $15 for a 750-milliliter bottle.
11 a.m.: Company Brewing, 735 E. Center St., opens early for the release of Holiday Party, a Belgian Quad aged in rum barrels.
11 a.m.: 3 Sheeps Brewing, 1837 North Ave., Sheboygan. Not technically Milwaukee but not a rough drive from here. The brewery will tap a keg of Imperial Stout with Raspberries that has been aged in a second-use red wine barrel for two years and nine months. 3 Sheeps will also have 22-ounce bottles of Bourbon Barrel-Aged Cashmere Hammer with Vanilla and discounts on merchandise.
11 a.m.: Water Street Brewery, 1101 N. Water St., will have release a Barrel Buster Porter, named in a contest for free beer. The brew, aged in Wild Turkey barrels for notes of strong coffee, chocolate, toffee and dark fruit, will be available at all Water Street locations: 2615 Washington St., Grafton; 3191 Golf Road, Delafield; and 140 West Town Square Way, Oak Creek. It’s limited and available on tap only.
11 a.m.: Good City Brewing, 2108 N. Farwell Ave., releases Days of My Youth, a Foeder-aged Farmhouse-style Saison and the first beer made at the brewery’s downtown location. Bottles will be available at both the Farwell and the downtown location, 333 W. Juneau Ave.
11 a.m.: Hacienda Beer Co., 2018 E. North Ave., calls the day Pitch Black Friday because it will release Velvet Bulldozer, an extra thick Imperial Stout available in four-pack cans and on tap. It will also sell 500-milliliter bottles of L’hiver No. 2, a mixed culture saison which just won silver at the Festival of Wood and Barrel-Aged Beer. L’hiver will also be on tap. The same thing happens at the brewery’s Baileys Harbor taproom.
11 a.m.: Eagle Park Brewing, 823 E. Hamilton St., hosts what it’s calling EP Black Friday Quadruple Beer Release. They’ll have four new beers on Friday: Wrong Way Peanut Butter-inspired Imperial Stout; Melt: O’Paya, the last in a three-part collaboration series with Melt Chocolates, Ltd.; Evil Ways New England IPA; and Dragon Fruit, Orange, Mango Slush sour ale.
On Saturday, Eagle Park taps kegs of Bourbon Barrel-Aged Booze For Breakfast and Huey Lewis And The Booziest.
Noon: Urban Harvest Brewing, 1024 S. Fifth St., releases its Black Friday Imperial Chocolate Whiskey Stout and this year, a second release of the day — Two Step, a Belgian Dark Strong. Both will be available on tap. They’ll also be available for 32-ounce growler fills for $20.
Noon: Dead Bird Brewing, 1726 N. Fifth St., will release two big beers. One is Beanut Putter, an Imperial Peanut Butter Oatmeal Stout; the other is Bean Water, a Java Stout with Mexican chocolate, cold brew coffee and Tahitian vanilla.
Noon: Westallion Brewing, 1825 S. 72nd St., West Allis, sells its Marine Corps Night Ops 0317 for Black Friday. The bourbon-barrel Imperial Coffee Stout comes in a 22-ounce bottle and costs $15.
Noon: Indeed Brewing, 530 S. Second St., opens for a special beer release for its first Black Friday in Milwaukee. The style of beer is to be determined.
Noon: Brewfinity Brewing, N58-W39800 Industrial Road., Suite D, Oconomowoc, releases a chocolate-covered cherry stout with deals on growler fills Wednesday and Friday.
Noon: Component Brewing, 2018 S. First St., No. 207, will pour a black currant and cocoa nib sour.
4 p.m.: MobCraft Brewing, 505 S. Fifth St., releases Moo-waukee White Chocolate Milk Stout; Six Year Anniversary Stout aged in Great Lakes Pumpkin Spirit Barrels and Wisconsin’s Old Fashioned, a brandy barrel-aged Old Fashioned Amber.
A Liquid Dessert, a bourbon barrel-aged Imperial Stout, goes on tap at 6 p.m. and Stitch and Snitch, a peach and raspberry sour, will be tapped at 7 p.m. The brewery opens at noon Friday.
5 p.m.: Biloba Brewing, 2970 N. Brookfield Road, Brookfield, will release a Russian Imperial Stout aged in bourbon barrels. The stout will be available in 500-milliliter bottles for $10 and 750-milliliter bottles for $15. They’ll also sell the brewery’s award winning Cherry Lambic — $8 for a 500-milliliter bottle; $12 for a 750-milliliter bottles.
3 p.m: Enlightened Brewing will celebrate Black Friday for the first time in its new location, 2020 S. Allis St. The brewery will release Sustained Thought Coffee Stout (made with Valentine Coffee) on draft and in cans. The beer costs $10 for a six-pack. The plan includes getting a food truck for the day, said co-owner Tommy Vandervort.
Other beer-related events Nov. 29 8 a.m.: City Lights, 2200 W. Mount Vernon Ave., opens early for the day. Tours start at 10 a.m. The brewery will start serving its fish fry dinner at 11 a.m. Black Friday is one of the largest tour days of the year at the brewery, said founder Robin Gohsman. Tours cost $10.
9 a.m.: Discount Liquor, 5031 W. Oklahoma Ave., and 919 N. Barstow Ave., Waukesha, will have the Goose Island Bourbon County Stouts and variants available at both stores Friday and Saturday along with some other rare beers.
9 a.m.: Stubby’s Gastrogrub & Beer Bar, 2060 N. Humboldt Ave., opens early for brunch. Rare beers like Central Waters Black Gold and Great Lakes Barrel-Aged Christmas Ale are on the menu. Reservations are recommended at (414) 763-6324.
Noon: Milwaukee Brewing Co., 1128 N. Ninth St., will offers tours on the hour starting at noon. Tours cost $12.
Noon: Gathering Place, 811 E. Vienna Ave., opens early for the day. Look for specials.
4-7 p.m.: The Harley-Davidson Museum, 400 W. Canal St., pours the goods during its eighth annual Black Friday Beerfest in The Garage. More than 20 breweries will be represented, along with representatives from a couple of canned cocktail makers. General admission is $45 and includes event admission and snacks (no need to bring a pretzel necklace). VIP tickets, which allow for early entry at 3 p.m. are $65. Tickets are available at harley-davidson.com.
Nov. 30 8 a.m. Ray’s Wine & Spirits, 8930 W. North Ave., Wauwatosa, will host Super Saturday 2019 with special beers including those made with the store’s proprietary bourbon barrels. Stout State of Mind aged in 1792 bourbon barrels from Third Space and 3 Sheeps Veneration that was aged in Maker’s Mark bourbon barrels. There will be other beer tappings in Ray’s Growler Gallery, and there’ll be food trucks on the grounds.
2 p.m.: Pabst Milwaukee Brewery & Taproom, 1037 W. Juneau Ave., will offer buy-one-get-one crowlers and will offer 15% off all of its 175th anniversary merchandise.
2 p.m.: Stock House Brewing, 7208 W. North Ave., Wauwatosa, has special pricing for those who shop local in Wauwatosa. Bring in a receipt from a locally owned Wauwatosa business.