Now, Black Friday isn't just for shoppers. It's for beer lovers. – Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

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Milwaukee breweries are establishing a tradition of introducing specialty beers in conjunction with black Friday. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

The line wraps around the side of the Lakefront Brewery building during a Black Friday special release.(Photo: Lakefront Brewery, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

They stand in the cold, fingers numb around a bottle of beer. They might or might not have slept in the car. For sure, they are in line and drinking before the sun made an appearance.  

On the surface, they are there on the day after Thanksgiving for a specific, special beer release: Lakefront Brewery’s barrel-aged Imperial Stout Black Friday beer.

But the people who line up in the cold — an estimated 1,600 people did so last year — are there to tap more than a rare brew.  

“The first year I went because it was a novelty,” said Eric Sullivan, who has been to every Lakefront Black Friday since the first one in 2012. “The thing that keeps me coming back is the community, the awesome people.” 

Black Friday in Milwaukee is no longer just a shopping day — it’s a beer lover’s day. 

Five years ago, Lakefront was the only Milwaukee brewery to have a Black Friday event. This year, 10 craft brewers and brewpubs have announced a special-release beer for the day after Thanksgiving, with one more doing a release on Thanksgiving Eve and another on the Saturday after Black Friday. And other local craft-beer destinations are having special Black Friday events, too. 

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Mike Doble, owner of The Explorium Brew Pub in Greendale, puts labels on bottles for his Black Friday brew, a bourbon barrel-aged Cherry Chocolate Imperial Stout. (Photo: Michael Sears / Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

The day after Thanksgiving has become a time when breweries release big, unique

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