Black beer for Black Friday
November 23rd, 2012
09:00 AM ET
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Nathan Berrong works at CNN's satellite desk and writes Eatocracy's beer column, "Berrong on Beer." He Tweets at @nathanberrong and logs beers at Untappd.

“OMG it’s Black Friday! Did you see that deal for the 227-inch LCD HDTV for only nineteen dollars? What about that set of 4 bath towels for three cents? There’s a place selling blenders for two dollars. We could always use another blender...”

For millions of Americans this is a day filled with ungodly early mornings and a determination to store-hop all day long, searching for the best deals that only come once a year. A much smaller crowd bucks this trend and takes a stand against consumerism and pledges to purchase absolutely nothing on what has become known as Buy Nothing Day. And everyone else seems to fall somewhere in between these two groups.

I partake in this day in the only way I know how – by finding a beer correlation. And today, it’s all about the dark beers. These pitch black ales and lagers tend to showcase more roasted flavors, heavier coatings on the tongue, typically brewed with a higher ABV, and sometimes with hints of warming ingredients like coffee, chocolate, and bourbon.

Lakefront Brewery out of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, is also participating in the celebration of darker colored beers today as they are releasing a special Black IPA, appropriately named, Black Friday. If you’re not one of the lucky ones and won’t be able to make it to Milwaukee today, worry not, I have you covered. Below I have listed some of my favorite Black IPAs, Stouts, and Schwarzbiers, all excellent choices for drinking on this Black Friday.

Schwarzbiers – A German-style beer that literally translates to “black beer.” These beers have bottom fermenting yeast, making them lagers, and have a lighter mouthfeel than the Black IPAs and Stouts.

Chatoe Rogue Dirtoir Black Lager

Duck Rabbit Schwarzbier

Saranac Black Forest

Black IPAs – These beers are a contradiction to some. An India Pale Ale that’s NOT pale? Instead of using pale malts, this relatively new beer style uses roasted malts, which still give the beer the hop bitterness of an IPA but exchange the lighter color for a darker one.

Hill Farmstead Jim

Southern Tier Iniquity

Hoppin Frog Hop Heathen

Stouts – These pitch black ales run the beer gamut. They range in abv from 4% to well past 14% and some contain as little as four ingredients while others contain “the kitchen sink”. Stouts have become one of the more experimental beer categories with brewers aging them in anything from red wine barrels to tequila barrels.

Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout

Saint Arnold Pumpkinator Imperial Stout

Goose Island Bourbon County Stout

What about you? How are you partaking in Black Friday and what is your favorite dark beer? Let me know in the comments below and cheers to a stress-free holiday weekend!

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Filed under: Beer • Berrong on Beer • Sip

soundoff (74 Responses)
  1. randygardnerjr

    Founder's Breakfast Stout too.

    November 27, 2012 at 12:12 pm |
  2. randygardnerjr

    Firestone Walker Wookey Jack

    November 27, 2012 at 12:02 pm |
  3. Jello Shooter

    Pabst Blue Ribbon. Nuf said.

    November 26, 2012 at 7:47 am |
  4. Kim

    Schneider-Weiss Aventinus!!!

    November 26, 2012 at 7:26 am |
  5. Observer

    You do realize that everyone on this thread is an alcoholic, right?


    November 23, 2012 at 7:54 pm |
    • r u

      Causing trouble on here as well observer?

      November 23, 2012 at 8:19 pm |
    • AleeD from Home Sweet Home

      Your logic, faulty as it is, equates to you being one as well. Good job, Tard.

      November 25, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
  6. joelwilliamscnn

    I've really been digging Harpoon's Winter Warmer. I'm continually impressed by the beers they put out.

    November 23, 2012 at 4:34 pm |

    Hmm, very good question. I think my Black Friday choice will be between a Southern Tier Crème Brûlée Imperial Milk Stout or a Mikkeller Beer Geek Brunch Weasel.

    November 23, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
  8. Brad

    Open Pit Porter at the Quarry, butte, mt. In about an hour!

    November 23, 2012 at 2:50 pm |
  9. sativa619

    Stone Imperial Russian Stout!

    November 23, 2012 at 1:23 pm |
  10. Bruce

    I skimmed pretty fast, but I didn't see 21st Amendment Back in Black. Also if you can get to Victory Brewing in Downingtown PA. ask for a Dark Devil. (it is a 50/50 blend of Hop Devil and Storm King Stout) They do not put it on the tap boards. The only way to get it, is to ask for it. This is the beer that turned me on to Black IPA's and probably my favorite beer right now.

    November 23, 2012 at 1:08 pm |
  11. girlonahandcycle

    Reblogged this on girlonahandcycle and commented:
    now this is more like my kind of Black Friday ;) no prizes for guessing what I'll be quaffing while I watch the Apple Cup – go Huskies!

    November 23, 2012 at 1:04 pm |
  12. Kevin

    The best has to be Irish Death from Iron Horse Brewery. It's got the classic black beer Guinness taste, but it's got a creamy smoothness and texture that takes away the harshness that some black beers can have. It's brewed in Ellensburg, WA and in stores in WA and North Idaho.

    November 23, 2012 at 12:58 pm |
  13. Lisa

    I love Old Engine Oil (Harviestoun Brewery, Ltd.). I drink it at my local Scottish pub. Delish!

    November 23, 2012 at 12:56 pm |
  14. Mike

    Award winning Central Waters Mud Puppy Porter of course...cheers

    November 23, 2012 at 12:52 pm |
  15. Schwanzstucker

    The Abyss....

    November 23, 2012 at 12:33 pm |
  16. Al

    Trader Joe's carries a very drinkable Oatmeal Stout.

    Lefthand makes a nice Milk stout.

    November 23, 2012 at 12:04 pm |
  17. Cutter

    You people are driving me nuts.
    I have a good 4 hours of work before I can visit my St. Ambroise Oatmeal stout… stop it!!

    November 23, 2012 at 12:04 pm |
  18. Al

    I noticed that Mackeson's Triple stout is back on the shelves. Highly recommended.

    Sierra Nevada Stout is excellent, and so is Founders Breakfast Stout.

    If you are a Guinness fan try their Foreign Export stout.

    Porters aren't black, but they are worth trying. Look for Great Lakes Edmund Fitzgerald Porter, Founders Porter, and Anchor Porter.

    Samuel Smith Taddy Porter is excellent, but I tend to buy American. American micro breweries can stand with the best of the European breweries. Research sites like Rate Beer or Beer Advocate. Research is part of the fun. There's a lot of beer reviews on youtube too.

    November 23, 2012 at 12:01 pm |
  19. Old Leg Humper for me

    Nothing like Old Leg Humper stout. That will be mine tonight.

    November 23, 2012 at 11:46 am |
  20. Chris

    I've got a Bridgeport porter sitting in my fridge for after work, might have to throw in a Goose Island BCBS too.

    November 23, 2012 at 11:45 am |
  21. Chuck Horton

    How can a discussion of Dark Beers NOT include Porter? More for me.

    November 23, 2012 at 11:44 am |
  22. Johnny Signs

    Firestone Walker Wookey Jack, a black rye IPA will be my beer of choice tonight.

    November 23, 2012 at 11:37 am |
    • randygardnerjr

      I agree wholeheartedly.

      November 27, 2012 at 12:04 pm |
  23. Jeann

    It is so cute watching Americans talk about beer, a subject that you know even less about than you do food.

    November 23, 2012 at 11:30 am |
    • palintwit

      Yeah, but we have Sarah Palin and the Tea Party Patriots.

      November 23, 2012 at 11:39 am |
    • Sean

      On the contrary; we simply handle the full range. On the low end, there are the rice beers ( which a growing number of us will never touch ). At the other, the micro/nano brews, or even the home brews, in all their experimental glory.

      November 23, 2012 at 11:44 am |
    • lonewolfpr

      It's so cute seeing Non-Americans that think our beer is nothing but what comes out of Bud/Miller/Coors. Do yourself a favor. Go back and look at the result of last years World Beer cup. You'll see that Americans are at the forefront of brewing. I work at a small craft brewery that took bronze in the Dopplebock category (a very traditional german style) beating out a ton of much older german breweries. They also took gold for a Belgian Dark Strong beating out a bunch of Belgian breweries. Oh yeah, and they took Silver with a dry-irish stout. That's only the tip of the iceberg. American breweries are fast becoming the best in the world.

      November 23, 2012 at 11:46 am |
      • JoeBotics

        People make funny faces when I drink some fine American beer and tell them.. "this is one one of the best beers in the World". .. made in the beautiful US of A... I follow up with "here.. try it".. I always get a kick out of the way their faces come back to life after they try the beer... I have a friend who used to drink some boring beers... now he sends me pictures each time he has a North Coast Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout... my work is not done yet... I will forever promote the great American micro breweries!!!! yeahhh!!!

        November 23, 2012 at 1:06 pm |
      • joelwilliamscnn


        November 23, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
    • Adam Williamson

      North America has some of the best microbreweries and restaurants in the world, but hey, keep stewing in your own ignorance if you like.

      Nathan – how can you include not a single porter in an article on black beers? Being from BC, I drink Okanagan Springs porter most of the winter. Phillips Longboat double chocolate porter is also rather nice.

      November 23, 2012 at 11:47 am |
    • Danno

      What comedy! Sure, 20 years ago your choices in American beer were "tastes great" or "less filling." But now, the best beers are made here in the US of A!

      November 23, 2012 at 11:49 am |
    • Chuck Horton

      Really? Does that make you feel better? Napoleon had a complex too. But beer bashing – you’re grasping at straws little brain.

      November 23, 2012 at 11:51 am |
    • Grizzly

      Gee, sorry to offend you with our insophisticated brews – if not for us, though, you'd all be drinking Mein Fuhrer Lager!

      November 23, 2012 at 12:03 pm |
    • Dan

      Sounds like somebody had a pint of Righteous Indignation. Go away!

      November 23, 2012 at 1:18 pm |
    • Barry

      Oh, stop

      November 23, 2012 at 8:05 pm |
  24. Ben

    Kostritzer and Moose Drool. Anything by Rogue. This black beer on Black Friday is an excellent idea.

    November 23, 2012 at 11:26 am |
    • Tom

      Ahhh, yes – Moose Drool. Nectar of the Gods!

      November 23, 2012 at 12:04 pm |
    • ubermotz

      Ben, Kostrizer is one of the best and least expensive imports. Tried so many dark beers, this one does not leave an alcohol aftertaste like most, like it a lot! Erdinger also nice...

      November 23, 2012 at 1:13 pm |
  25. Fat Dog

    The best...Stoudt's Fat Dog Stout (American Stout) from Stoudts Brewing Co. in Adamstown, PA

    November 23, 2012 at 11:23 am |
    • Jdizzle McHammerpants ♫♫

      That's what she said

      November 23, 2012 at 11:24 am |
  26. Shane

    Central Oregon – 10 Barrels "Sinister Black" Always the right choice!!

    November 23, 2012 at 11:08 am |
    • Don

      10 Barrel's Sinister is perhaps the best in Central Oregon, followed by Cascade Lake's Monkey Face, and Three Creeks in Sisters has a good one too, but I don't remember what they call it. Central Oregon, the land of many breweries !!!!

      November 23, 2012 at 1:07 pm |
  27. Joshua

    Founder's Dirty Bastard is the best dark beer I can easily find around here. Guinness leaves a watery aftertaste, and a lot of the other "dark" beers seem weak. I can find a lot of IPA's but few stouts. The dominance of cheap lager has probably made the market for dark beer tiny in my area.

    November 23, 2012 at 11:08 am |
  28. Barry

    As i write this, I have a brew kettle on the stove, with what is going to be a batch of chocolate oatmeal stout. This had nothing to do with Black Friday. I just love dark beer this time of year.

    November 23, 2012 at 11:08 am |
  29. Michael @ Changes In Longitude

    Enjoy your black beer today but NEVER order a Black & Tan in Ireland. We learned that the hard way:

    November 23, 2012 at 11:01 am |
  30. Quid Malmborg in Plano TX

    Every day is dark beer day.

    November 23, 2012 at 10:58 am |
  31. Greg

    For a beer that can be had nation wide, I recommend Samuel Adams Imperial Stout. It is available in a 4 pack at many locations. It is sufficiently dark that little light passes through the glass (what does make it through is almost ruby red). And the taste is absolutely fantastic. This is not a knock on microbrews or regional brews (I happen to like the Big Eddy Imperial Stout from the Upper Midwest as well), but the Sam Adams is easier to find and a real treat. – Enjoy

    November 23, 2012 at 10:49 am |
    • Dan

      I agree Greg, and the Double Bock from the same Imperial series is simply the best beer I've had.

      November 23, 2012 at 1:01 pm |
  32. Darrell

    Celebrator Dopplebock

    November 23, 2012 at 10:47 am |
  33. Tim

    Wow, I didn't realize that I was that trendy. My Thanksgiving was celebrated with That's What I'm Talkin' Bout Stout from the Pearl Street Brewery of LaCrosse WI and some Tommy's Porter from Lake Louie Brewery of Arena, WI. Your article makes me want to finish off what's left in the fridge.

    November 23, 2012 at 10:45 am |
  34. Duncan

    If you want to start a fight in an Irish bar, (and who doesn't?) just claim that Murphy's Irish Stout is better than Guinness. And I'm claiming it here, so throw down. I could drink a glass of the foam, which is the best in the world.

    Michael's right? Who needs a holiday?

    November 23, 2012 at 10:39 am |
    • Ken

      I agree! Friends did an Irish beer tasting bracket and Murphy's beat Guinness unanimously.

      November 23, 2012 at 11:03 am |
  35. Matthew

    Rogue, Chocolate Stout.

    November 23, 2012 at 10:37 am |
    • Yum


      November 23, 2012 at 10:55 am |
  36. DRJ

    my stout menu: enjoy!

    thirsty dog brewing: siberian night
    north coast brewing: old rasputin russian imperial stout
    founders: breakfast stout

    November 23, 2012 at 10:36 am |
  37. Qodex

    Stone Imperial Russian Stout. When you can get it.

    November 23, 2012 at 10:35 am |
  38. TWAL

    1) Odin's Raven ( Bourbon barrel aged) – Alpine Brewing
    2) Dark Truth – Boulevard
    3) B3k – Wynkoop

    November 23, 2012 at 10:34 am |
  39. Mike

    I love Lakefront's beer! I moved away from Milwaukee 8 years ago and miss them dearly. I can sometimes find their Riverwest Stein or a mix case. Hmmm, maybe I'll go out and hunt around for some... that is about the only thing that can get me out shopping on Black Friday.

    November 23, 2012 at 10:32 am |
  40. Jim

    Left Handed Nitro Milk Stout. Is it noon yet?

    November 23, 2012 at 10:30 am |
    • Mike Walters

      Oh yea~! Nitro baby! Pour hard!!

      November 23, 2012 at 11:32 am |
  41. BrightGeorge

    Goose Island is a very nice Stout. Celebrated Thanksgiving yesterday with a 2005 Founders Imperial Stout and my was that a treat! Inspired by your article, I think today I'll have a Firestone Walker Wookey Jack, which is an incredible black IPA – probably the best new beer I've tried in 2012

    November 23, 2012 at 10:29 am |
  42. Gregory Ashby

    right now i have 3 thay i like to switch around 1) XING it is a black beer from brazil 2) is called UGLY PUG it is made in Fort Worth Texas By Rahr & Sons Brewing co. 3) is called DEAD GUY ALE it is made in Grants Pass Oregon by Rouge Brewery i do have another one that i drink in a pinch it is the Shiner Black Label made right here in the great state of Texas at the shiner brewery in none other than Shiner Texas.

    November 23, 2012 at 10:22 am |
  43. Jeremy

    Southern Tier Imperial Oatmeal Stout is a great dark beer that I just had fo the first time earlier this week. I'm also a huge fan of Uinta's Labyrinth which is a a black ale. Both have incredible flavors and are smooth as can be.

    November 23, 2012 at 10:20 am |
  44. palintwit

    Teabaggers believe that on Black Friday republicans turn into black people.

    November 23, 2012 at 10:15 am |
    • Jdizzle McHammerpants ♫♫


      November 23, 2012 at 11:22 am |
  45. Mike

    Guinness is amazing, but I still have a lot to experience. I'm gonna literately take this list to the local beer & wine store and try some of them out.

    November 23, 2012 at 10:13 am |
    • scott

      mike, that is a great idea. the only downside to these articles is that distribution is really shotty. but, your local beer guys should be able to help you find something similar. i like that you are using this to learn more, good luck and hope you enjoy what you are recommended. cheers!

      November 23, 2012 at 10:32 am |
  46. the best

    uhh Guinness stout

    November 23, 2012 at 10:13 am |
  47. Michael Heath

    Kostritzer Black Lager and Anderson Valley Barney Flats Oatmeal Stout are two of my favorite beers, and one of the best I have ever had is Marshall's winter seasonal, the Big Jamoke Porter. I am ridiculously proud that the Big Jamoke is brewed right here in Tulsa, and angry that they think it should only be seasonal.

    I keep telling people that the best beers look like used Pennzoil. Who needs a holiday to drink black beer?

    November 23, 2012 at 10:02 am |
    • Svedrick

      Kostritzer is an amazing beer! The complex flavor of a darker ale/stout paired with the drinkability of a lager. Unfortunately, I live in San Diego where everyone is crazy about local microbrew, so it's always difficult to find some.

      November 23, 2012 at 10:52 am |
  48. Vern

    Left Hand Milk Stout Nitro all the way! Also, Harviestoun Old Engine Oil (especially Engineer's Reserve) is most excellent if you can find it.

    November 23, 2012 at 9:55 am |
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