HERE ARE 10 EVENTS to plan around. Check out the weekly beer events list for dozens more. Thanksgiving weekend is a very busy time for beer lovers.
Lakefront Brewery (1872 N. Commerce St.), 8 a.m.
Lakefront was on the ground floor of the Milwaukee Black Friday beer release thing when it released Black Friday IPA in 2011. This year’s event could prove to be the biggest. The highlight is Black Friday V, an imperial stout that has been aged for more than five years in bourbon barrels. There are only 250 bottles available at $100 each. Four barrel-aged variants, at just $20 each, include 2019 Black Friday Imperial Stout, 2017 Black Friday Rye, 2019 Black Friday Barleywine and 2019 Black Friday Fruit Cake Strong Ale. The fun starts at 8 a.m., but get there much earlier if you want a shot at Black Friday V, a delicious brew that Milwaukee Magazine executive editor Chris Drosner and I had a taste of.
Stubby’s Gastrogrub & Beer Bar (2060 N. Humboldt Ave.), 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Brunch at Stubby’s pairs extremely well with the Lakefront release, which is stumbling distance away. Admire your Black Friday haul while indulging in Stubby’s full menu and sipping on a few rare pours. This year, the bar will be pouring Central Waters Black Gold Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout, Great Lakes Barrel-Aged Christmas Ale and Eagle Park Melt: Rugoso, an imperial stout made with Rugoso cacao nibs.
Explorium Brewpub (5300 S. 76th St.), 6 a.m.
The beauty about the release of Milwaukee County Stout, aged for a year in Maker’s Mark barrels, is that it starts so early you can snag a bottle and head to another big beer event. The good folks at Explorium are providing coffee and doughnuts at 5:30 a.m. for those waiting in line.
Harley-Davidson Museum (400 W. Canal St.), 4 to 7 p.m.
A laid-back beer festival that features two dozen standout breweries. The beer list this year includes indulgences like Epic Brewing Big Bad Baptist Imperial Stout aged in whiskey barrels and Saugatuck Brewing’s Barrel-Aged Neopolitan Milk Stout. Cost is $45 for general admission or $65 for VIP, which gets you in an hour early at 3 p.m.
MobCraft (505 S. 5th St.), noon.
There’s a day full of festivities at MobCraft. At noon, bottle releases of 2018 Brandy Barrel-Aged Old Fashioned Amber and Six Year Anniversary Great Lakes Pumpkin Spirit Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout are happening. Can’t get there that early? Show up at 4 p.m. for timed tappings of some big brews like Moowaukee White Chocolate Stout (4 p.m.), Liquid Dessert Imperial Stout (6 p.m.) and Stitch & Snitch Peach and Raspberry Sour (7 p.m.).
Third Space Brewing (1505 W. St. Paul Ave.), 11 a.m.
Third Space is offering its barrel-aged barleywine in cans. This year’s version comes in four variants—aged in bourbon, rye, rum and whiskey pumpkin barrels. Snag a four-pack for home, and try each variant on tap. Expect a few other barrel-aged beers to show up on the taps as well.
Raised Grain Brewing (1725 Dolphin Dr., Waukesha), 11 a.m.
Stock up on Christmas ales with a slightly crude, but comical, name. The mixed four-pack of cans includes standard Santa’s Sack Spiced Ale, one aged in tequila barrels, one aged in bourbon barrels, and one aged in sour mash whiskey barrels. The festive base brew is a red ale made with nutmeg, cinnamon, star anise and ginger.
Good City Brewing (2108 N. Farwell Ave. and 333 W. Juneau Ave.), 11 a.m.
Need a break from barrel-aged stouts? Good City joins the Black Friday fray with the bottle release of Day of My Youth, a foeder-aged saison. It’s the first beer in the Deer District Series and was aged in Good City’s downtown Oak Room for several months.
The Brass Tap (7808 W. Layton Ave.), 11 a.m.
It’s not easy finding several variants of Bourbon County Stouts on tap at once. But The Brass Tap has four of them. Try standard Bourbon County, Bourbon County Wheatwine, Bourbon County Mon Cheri Stout and Bourbon County Café de Olla Stout. Café de Olla is one of my favorites from this year’s batch. The mix of coffee with a hint of orange zest is unusual, but in a good way.
Ray’s Wine & Spirits (8930 W. North Ave.), 8 a.m.
OK, so it’s not exactly on Black Friday, but this is another popular Thanksgiving weekend tradition, right up there with green bean casserole and indigestion. Super Saturday has always been a great chance to snag a rare brew or two. This year, Ray’s is offering a selection of Ray’s Proprietary barrel-aged beers made in collaboration with Third Space Brewing and 3 Sheeps Brewing. The list includes Third Space Stout State of Mind aged in a Ray’s J. Henry bourbon barrel, Third Space Stout State of Mind Hazelnut Vanilla aged in a Ray’s 1792 bourbon barrel and 3 Sheeps Veneration Quad aged in a Ray’s Maker’s Mark barrel. Goose Island Bourbon County Stouts will also be available (no word yet on allotments). When you’re done shopping head upstairs to Ray’s Growler Gallery for timed releases of rare brews.