For years, Lakefront Brewery‘s annual Black Friday beer release has been a part of Milwaukee’s holiday tradition. The only way for beer aficionados to make sure they would secure a bottle of the small batch and barrel-aged liquid goodness was to wait in line outside the brewery the morning after Thanksgiving. However, with COVID-19 cases rapidly climbing and group gatherings being strongly discouraged (yes, even for the holidays!), Lakefront Brewery will be celebrating Black Friday a little bit differently this year.

This time around, bottles of the brewery’s three Black Friday 2020 variants—an imperial stout, a barleywine, and a Christmas ale—will exclusively be available in a retail capacity. All 5,000 bottles and 3,000 bottles of Black Friday 2019 will be distributed to more than 100 Milwaukee-area retailers, including Otto’s, Discount Liquor, and Total Wine. The bottles will be for sale starting November 27.

“We’re doing our very best to keep COVID at bay, and doing a good job of it,” Lakefront President and Founder Russ Klisch says in a press release. “Which is why we decided not to have a party with a couple thousand of our friends. They can find Black Friday at their favorite stores and we’ll be back to a big brewery release again next year.”

The brewery will be the exclusive place to pick up Black Friday V, which has been aging in bourbon barrels for more than five years. There’s no more information on that beer or its release available at this point. Check out the full press release below for more info on the other Black Friday offerings from Lakefront this year:


On November 27th, Black Friday fans will find their favorite beer at over 100 retailers.

MILWAUKEE (November 10th, 2020) – With Covid-19 cases raging across Wisconsin, there will be no Black Friday gathering at Lakefront Brewery. Instead, all 5,000 bottles of the 2020 vintage will be distributed to liquor stores throughout the Milwaukee area. Stores like Otto’s, Discount Liquor, Total Wine and many more Milwaukee-area outlets will be selling all three 2020 Black Friday beers:

2020 Black Friday Imperial Stout – Lakefront’s biggest stout has been aging in bourbon barrels all year long. This year’s vintage is one of the best Black Fridays brewed and sports a 14.2% abv.

2020 Black Friday Barleywine – With flavors of caramel, brown sugar, vanilla, almond and oak, the Black Friday Barleywine has been aging in bourbon barrels since February. It has a 14.9% abv.

2020 Black Friday Christmas Ale – Featuring holiday spices and complex depth that have been aged in Wollersheim brandy barrels all year. Perfect for holiday enjoyment and has a 13% abv.

“We’re doing our very best to keep Covid at bay, and doing a good job of it,” stated Lakefront President and Founder, Russ Klisch. “Which is why we decided not to have a party with a couple thousand of our friends. They can find Black Friday at their favorite stores and we’ll be back to a big Brewery release again next year.”

And not only are 2020 Black Friday beers available, but 3,000 bottles of 2019 Black Friday will be at retailers as well.

“So, at this point, 2020 has become a punchline and even Black Friday won’t be spared this weird moment in our history.” said Lakefront Brand Manager, Michael Stodola. “It may be a treasure hunt for some folks, but there are 5,000 2020 Black Friday bottles and 3,000 2019 Black Friday out there, waiting to be found.”

This Black Friday also includes a 5-year-old Black Friday V. It’s been in bourbon barrels for over 5 years and will be bottled as a 750mL. It will be available at the Brewery only. News to come.

The Black Friday beer sale will be across the metro area starting, as always, the morning of Black Friday, November 27th. For more information, please visit

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Co-Founder and Editor

Before co-founding Milwaukee Record, Tyler Maas wrote for virtually every Milwaukee publication (except Wassup! Magazine). He lives in Bay View and enjoys both stuff and things.