BLACK FRIDAY isn’t just about holiday shopping anymore. It’s now the darkest day on the annual beer calendar, when bars flush the light lagers from their spigots and make room for luscious porters, stouts and other black brews.
Founders KBS: Though this heavy-duty “breakfast” stout (11.2 percent alcohol) normally shows up in the spring, savvy bar managers often keep a keg around for Black Friday. The added aging only enhances its vanilla and coffee flavors. Pouring at City Tap House, 3925 Walnut St.; and American Sardine Bar, 1800 Federal St.
Free Will Black Friday: The Perkasie brewery aged its Belgian quadrupel in a barrel to enhance its fruit character. Available at Spinnerstown Hotel, 2195 Spinnerstown Road, Quakertown.
Goose Island Bourbon County Brand Stout: Though Goose Island is now owned by Anheuser-Busch, its limited edition barrel-aged stout has never been dumbed-down for the masses. It comes in five varieties, including so-called Rare that was aged in 30-year-old barrels from Heaven Hill Distilleries.
You’ll find bottles today starting at 8 a.m. at the Foodery, 837 N. 2nd St. It’s also on tap at these locations:
- Bishop’s Collar, 2349 Fairmount Ave.;
- City Tap House, 2 Logan Square;
- Penn Taproom, 80 W. State St., Doylestown;
- The Pour House, 29 Airport Square, North Wales.
Victory Java Cask: The Downingtown brewery paired with JB’s Coffee (as in Johnny Brenda’s, the popular Fishtown taproom) to produce this new coffee stout aged in bourbon barrels. At 14.3 percent alcohol, this bold, full-bodied caffeinated brew should counteract any vestiges of tryptophan-induced sleepiness. Available at the brewery and select locations.
Barren Hill Tavern & Brewery: This Montco brewpub is a magnet for visiting brewers who seem all too happy to collaborate with brewmaster David Wood on one-offs. Two will get a Black Friday release: Saison Sauvage, a wild imperial saison brewed with Oxbow Brewing of Maine; and Rye Mental Health, a whiskey-aged Belgian dark ale with Bucks County’s Free Will. 646 Germantown Pike, Lafayette Hill.
Bell Beverage: I’ll scour the South Philly distributor for some of my favorite dark beers and pour free samples from 4 to 6 p.m. Stop in and I’ll tell you about my annual holiday case share, too. 2809 S. Front St.
Bottle Bar East: Victory and Neshaminy Creek take over the taps for an all-day party marking the Fishtown takeout shop’s third anniversary. Look for NCBC Concrete Coffee Porter. 1308 Frankford Ave.
BRU Craft & Wurst: An all-day happy hour with 11 black drafts (notably 2SP Stigz Imperial Porter, Carton Epitome, Captain Lawrence Black Sour) paired with black-truffle deviled eggs and Black Sea bass tacos. 1316 Chestnut St.
Capone’s Restaurant: The mind-boggling tap list this year includes the likes of Cantillon Iris, Russian River Pliny the Elder and several vintage brews (like ’09 Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout). The taps start pouring at 7 a.m. Yes, 7 a.m. 224 W. Germantown Pike, Norristown.
Flanigan’s Boathouse: Black Friday is a big college football day, and you won’t miss a game – or a pint – at this beer-focused suburban sports bar. The afternoon lineup includes Iowa vs. Nebraska and Deschutes The Abyss vs. Your Brain. 113 Fayette St., Conshohocken.
Memphis Taproom: Though many black beers are headbangers, you can still find dark stuff with a light touch. Two notables: Sprecher Black Bavarian (5.9 percent alcohol) and Fuller’s London Porter (5.4 percent alcohol) are featured at “Everything Went Black” at this Kensington joint. 2331 E. Cumberland St.
The Sidecar Bar & Grille: Its Blackout Brunch sounds like an ideal hangover antidote: Thanksgiving burritos and Mikkeller Black Hole Russian imperial stout. 2201 Christian St.