Tis the season of the barrel-aged stout and other limited release season brews that aim to warm us from the inside out as autumn turns to winter.
With all the struggles of the pandemic year added to the kettle, Milwaukee-area craft brewers need your support more than ever, and what better way to help than on Black Friday, which has become a traditional craft beer launch day in Brew City.
So, check out what's on offer and enjoy these special beers while lending a hand to area breweries at the same time.
Note that some area brewers are eschewing Black Friday releases this year, including Black Husky, Dead Bird, Enlightened Faklandia and New Barons.
Bay View's 1840 will be open from noon until 5 for carryout sales, including of the the Kveik New Skal juicy hazy IPA and the fruited sour Plumpy, back for a second year, with blackberry, black currant, black cherry and lactose.
414 / Vernacular
No new brews for Black Friday, but instead a day-after-Thanksgiving pop-up, with cans of 414 Lager in a variety of label designs as well as Vernacular's Daemon King imperial stout aged in 9-year Heaven Hill bourbon barrels and Prince of Daemons variant with extra vanilla beans and bottle conditioned. More info and pre-ordering here.
Brookfield's Biloba Brewing opens at noon and is reprising its Night Out Russian Imperial Sout in 500 and 750ml bottles for $8 and $12, respectively, as well as the new Impossible, an ale with a whopping 21 percent ABV, also in bottles.
Oconomowoc's Brewfinity Brewing will open at 4 p.m. to release a barleywine called Knuckle Dragger.
Walker's Point's baseball-themed Broken Bat opens at 3 p.m. launches two new beers in bottles and on tap at 3 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 27, including 762-The King, an imperial stout aged in Heaven Hill bourbon barrels (22-ounce bottles are $15) and Benny Mexican lager dosed with lime and sea salt and aged in tequila barrels (22-ounce bottles, $13). Pre-ordering begins Monday, Nov. 16.
Co-owner DJ Kowalske says Bay View's Component, will have a coffee chocolate stout and a fruited kettle sour with acai, banana and coconut this Black Friday. On tap and in cans to go. Open at noon.
Eagle Park Brewing and Distilling
For the first time ever, Eagle Park, which opens at 11 a.m., has special Black Friday beers AND special Black Friday spirits. Details here.
You may want to get comfortable for this one!
Owner Mike Doble says that The Explorium's two locations – which open super early, at 6 a.m. – will release a quartet of variations of Milwaukee County Stout this year for sale/pick-up at 6 a.m. on Nov. 27. All bottles are $18 each.
"I’m hoping that 90 percent of our sales will be pre-sales online," he says. "Two of the variants, green and red, are ONLY available at Total Wine. (The brewpubs) will only be selling the silver and gold."
Here are the details:
MCS Gold: About 700 bottles will be available at Greendale location only. Aged in honey whiskey barrels and blended with Willett Bourbon-barrel-aged MCS.
MCS Silver: About 550 bottles will be available Downtown only. Aged in rye whiskey barrels that also aged maple syrup.
The Red and Green use the same base beer aged in barrels supplied by Total Wine. Green (about 120 bottles) was aged in Buffalo Trace barrels, and Red (about 200 bottles) were aged in Makers Mark barrels.
The beers will not be on draft this year, says Doble, due to COVID.
"I’m trying to not make this an on-premise event other than reserved tables. People will be allowed to open and consume their bottles on premises if they have a reservation. I want them to open and enjoy the beer on Black Friday!"
Six different reservation packages will be available (descriptions provided by The Explorium).
Package 1: Reservation for two with two bottles, $70. This package includes a table for two for 1.5 hours, two bottles of MCS (silver or gold depending on location), and a $40 tab credit applied at checkout.
Package 2: Reservation for two with four bottles, $100. This package includes a table for two for 1.5 hours, four bottles of MCS (silver or gold depending on location), and a $40 tab credit applied at checkout.
Package 3: Reservation for four with four bottles, $140. This package includes a table for four for 2 hours, four bottles of MCS (silver or gold depending on location), and a $80 tab credit applied at checkout.
Package 4: Reservation for four with eight bottles, $210. This package includes a table for four for 2 hours, eight bottles of MCS (silver or gold depending on location), and a $80 tab credit applied at checkout.
Package 5: Reservation for six with six bottles, $210. This package includes a table for six for 2.5 hours, six bottles of MCS (silver or gold depending on location), and a $120 tab credit applied at checkout.
Package 6: Reservation for six with 12 bottles, $320. This package includes a table for six for 2.5 hours, 12 bottles of MCS (silver or gold depending on location), and a $120 tab credit applied at checkout.
Online reservations close at end of day, Tuesday, Nov. 24.
Riverwest's Gathering Place Brewing has a new system and is brewing its Black Friday beers on it. Read more here. Open at 2 p.m.
Co-owner David Dupee says, "We're excited to do our first big Black Friday release featuring three big beers headlined by the latest in our Indigo series."
Giant Monitor Pastry Stout with peanut butter, chocolate, toasted coconut and Ghanaian cocoa nibs (indigo series), is the fourth in the Indigo series, and clocks in at 8.5 percent ABV; Silent Sun is a bourbon-barrel-aged imperial porter with raspberry (12.9 percent); and the 12.8 percent Dual Nature Imperial Wheat Ale is aged in cognac barrels.
Good Citizen loyalty members can preorder and pick up on Wednesday, Nov. 25 before it goes on sale to the public on Black Friday. Opening that day at 11 a.m.
Hacienda Beer Co.
Pre-sales for these Black Friday beers begin on Thursday, Nov. 12 at Hacienda online:
Velvet Bulldozer: Imperial rye stout with lactose sugar, vanilla, cacao and espresso, 12 percent ABV.
Art of Decay: Barrel-fermented sour beer with Pinot Noir grape must, 6.8 percent.
The Come Up: Good City collaboration honey double IPA dry-hopped with Lotus, Sabro and Azacca hops, 8.1 percent.
True Hallucinations: Double dry-hopped IPA with Vic Secret, Idaho 7 and El Dorado hops, 8.5 percent.
Hacienda opens at noon on Black Friday.
The Walker's Point brewery and taproom will open at 11 a.m. on Black Friday, and Indeed Chief Operating Officer Kelly Moritz says, "We're going to be releasing our first-ever bottle from the brewery. It's a barleywine made with local honey. We'll only have about 200 bottles of it."
Milwaukee Honey Barleywine clocks in at 12.3 percent ABV, and uses honey from the nearby rooftop herb garden and apiary at CORE/El Centro, a bilingual non-profit organization offering affordable natural healing and wellness services.
"We'll be sampling out the honey (we) used, and Allie Boy's Bagels and Luncheonette are going to be on site with COVID-friendly bagels and spreads for a pop-up that can be preordered, too. We're encouraging curbside pickups and the whole taproom will have our usual social distancing and safety measures in place."
Here is the link to pre-order. There is a two-bottle max.
This year, Lakefront is skipping the brewery release and sending its Black Friday beers to retail only. The details are here.
In related news, Lakefront Brewery is offering crowlers of 2017 Black Friday Imperial Stout, 2017 Black Friday XXX Vintage Reserve, 2018 Black Friday Imperial Stout, 2018 Black Friday XXX Vintage Reserve, and 750ml bottles of the brewery exclusive, 2020 5-year-old Black Friday V.
They can be ordered beginning Saturday, Nov. 14 at 8 a.m., at lakefrontbrewery.com. When purchased online, buyers can select a pick-up time from Sunday, Nov. 22 to Tuesday, Nov. 24.
“We always squirrel-away barrels of beer to offer to folks later on. Now is one of those times,” said Lakefront President and Founder, Russ Klisch. “And the timing is perfect for a pairing with turkey.”
Full details at the website.
In addition to its special Black Friday releases, this Walker's Point brewery, which opens at noon, has sent 24-pack Advent Calendars to retail. Details here.
Waukesha's Raised Grain taproom opens at 11:30 a.m. and is offering bourbon-barrel-aged Paradocs Red imperial India pale ale in bombers, as well as Santa's Sack Christmas ale, brewed with nutmeg, cinnamon, fresh ginger and star anise, in 16-ounce four-packs. You can purchase and pickup at a drive-thru that will run from 10 a.m. until noon.
Sahale Ale Works
Sahale owner Matthew Hofmann says, "While we are normally closed on Wednesdays, we make an exception every year for the day before Thanksgiving to celebrate Drinksgiving. We offer a number of deals and this year we will release a special brew for the occasion."
The new beer is Three The Hard Way, a Triple Milkshake IPA with lactose and hopped with Galaxy, Sabro, Citra, Azacca and El Dorado in a triple dry-hopping to maximize the flavors.
"Hornindal Kviek yeast was chosen to ferment out this beast of a beer, not only for its ability to handle the high ABV, but also for its contribution of intense tropical flavors of fresh pineapple, mango and tangerine."
The beer which should finish out a tad above 10 percent ABV will be available in cans and very limited taproom draft.
Supermoon Beer Co.
This new Bay View brewery releases its first two beers the weekend before Black Friday. Details here.
Opening Black Friday at 11 a.m., Sheboygan's 3 Sheeps releases its new Midnight Bourbon, and will also have 2017 bourbon-barrel-aged Paid Time Off, and cellared Cuvee bottles and Nimble Lip Noble Tongue series brews.
Stock House's East Tosa taproom opens at noon and is launching a bourbon barrel-aged cocktail sour and is pouring a Novemberfest marzen and a whiskey barrel-aged honey saison.
Get three 22-ounce bombers (two barrel-aged and the late fall beer) for $30. Otherwise, the barrel-ageds are $12 each and all other bombers are $9. Pre-order here.
Third Space releases a series of beers based on Mocha Pie over the course of the next three months, plus, for Black Friday, a pair of barrel-aged beers. Full detals are here. Opening Friday, Nov. 27 at noon.
When the pandemic led to the cancelation of Urban Harvest's fourth anniversary celebration in spring, the special beers planned for release then are now Black Friday specials. Read about them here. Open at 11 a.m. Black Friday.
Get a jump on Black Friday as Vennture in Uptown Crossing offers its brews at noon on Wednesday, Nov. 25, including Night Crew anniversary stout aged in J. Henry bourbon barrels (I got an early taste and it's thick and rich and packs a punch) and a dark saison called Second Helping with Cascara hops, spices and aged in the apple brandy barrels that also aged stout.
Water Street Brewery
Although its Downtown location remains closed, the three WSB suburban locations will release a limited barrel-aged Begian sour at 11 a.m. on Black Friday. This strong Beglian dubbel has 8.5 percent ABV and dark cherry fruit notes. It was aged nine months in a bourbon barrel. Swing-top 16-ounce bottles are $8 to go and tappers are $7 for 12-ounce pours and $8 for 16-ounce pours.
Co-owner Kimberly Dorofner says Westallion, which opens at noon, will release, "our Danziger – a historical strong ale – that took over 24 hours just to brew!" It's 12.34 percent ABV.
The West Allis brewery will also release Candy Cane Lane peppermint stout, which like the annual 'Stallis tradition, Candy Cane Lane, raises money for the MACC fund.
Owner Chris Ivanovich says Wizard Works will release a new passion fruit sour on Black Friday.
"I was considering opening at noon, as well," he says, so call ahead if you're looking for a lunch-hour brew that day.
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.
He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.
With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.
He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for OnMilwaukee.com and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.
In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.
He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.