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The swag: Three pint glasses and three bottles of Black Friday.
The swag: Three pint glasses and three bottles of Black Friday.
The line at the brewery at about 7 a.m.
The line at the brewery at about 7 a.m.
It's so close I can almost taste it.
It's so close I can almost taste it.
"Not Available Tomorrow."
"Not Available Tomorrow."

Beer me, Black Friday

I'm not a Black Friday shopper. Years of retail have served as a cautionary tale against becoming one of the door-busting deal junkies, and I still feel a lingering moral solidarity with the poor cash jockeys. That, and I just plain hate getting up early.

Tempt my lushy proclivities, however, and you've got a whole different ball game on your hands. I'll brave wee morning hours, arctic wasteland temps and even – shudder – the shopping public if you offer me booze.

That's just what was on the itinerary this morning when, in an unprecedented show of initiative, I and two of my friends ventured out into the frozen hell that was 4 a.m. on a quest for fame, glory and Lakefront beer.

The prize: limited-edition 22-ounce bottles of Black Friday imperial India-style black ale, sold only at the brewery and only on Black Friday. It was the first time they'd done something so exclusive, and we wanted it.

So, we caffeine'd up and hit the road not-so-bright and early. We got there at quarter to 5, and it was dead.

We sat in the car for about an hour and a half and watched as the first intrepid beer monkey took his place at the double doors, followed by a handful of other brave souls – including a few who had been holed up in their cars since before we arrived – who chose to start lining up down the ramp.

I have no idea why. Call it a paranoid chain reaction on account of the 300 special-edition pint glasses up for grabs, but there were maybe 20 people, tops, freezing their hops off waiting outside for no reason.

Eventually we caved and subjected ourselves to the windy death tundra, but in the end we only waited about 45 minutes before the lovely Lakefront folks decided enough was enough and let us all in early (but not before taking a couple pictures of the scene from the warm side of the waiting room window, the teases).

We gratefully defrosted, grabbed our prize and were on our way by 8. I'm glad we got there early since the line was well down Commerce Street by the time we left, but good God did those 45 frozen minutes go by slowly.

I'm now the proud owner of three Black Friday pint glasses and three absolutely gorgeous bottles of black ale. And, despite now being one of "those" people, that pride is still surprisingly intact.

I'm not sure I'll be able to say the same for those bottles of ale for very long, though.

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