Black Friday is more than a day about throngs of customers at department stores and sales on big ticket items. At Wise Guys Discount Liquors it is also a day for craft beer enthusiasts to get their hands on the latest limited releases from breweries in and around the area.
Fans lined-up outside of Wise Guys’ new Valparaiso location for the opportunity to buy two unique stouts. The first was Goose Island’s annual batch of Bourbon County, a rich beverage that the Chicago brewery started offering on Black Friday about a decade ago. The other, a collaboration with Crown Point’s Off Square Brewing, was the Down the Hatch Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Stout – a unique mix infused with hatch chili peppers specific to Hatch Valley New Mexico.
“I’ve had the chance to try it and it’s really good,” said Sam Liubakka, Store Manager for Wise Guys Valparaiso. “It’s a well-balanced stout, and that pepper blends in so nicely to give a nice note to it.”
Liubakka started his career at Wise Guys years ago and said that he always looks forward to doing the special releases, particularly collaborations like this batch with Off Square Brewing.
“Whenever we do a collaboration, we always do it with a local brewery because we believe in the local market,” he said. “If we can help them grow, and they can help us grow, it works out so nicely. I’m excited to get this release in fan’s hands; if I was off today, I’d be in that line myself.”
Enthusiasts lined-up outside the store as early as 8 a.m., an hour before opening, to ensure they could get their bottles from the limited supply. Ron Knight, one of those early arrivals, was grateful to have a store closer to home offering Goose Island’s highly-coveted Bourbon County release.
“Last year, my son and I went up to Chicago at two in the morning and waited all night to get our bottles,” he said. “I like bourbon, and this was probably the best bourbon beer that I’ve ever had, so that’s why I’m after it this morning.”
Steven Sinkiewicz, another early arrival, said that the hype from beer enthusiasts for these two releases was not at all surprising.
“It’s just typical Black Friday shopping for some people,” he said. “Some people have their toys or PlayStations they want to go get, while everyone here wants to get their beer.”
To learn more about Wise Guys Discount Liquors, visit them at wiseguysliquors.com.