This Black Friday, skip the mall and sip 'em all.
For years, Senor Wong celebrated the day after Thanksgiving by bringing out dozens of different stouts -- including some pretty rare vintages -- for Imperial Black Friday. But the under-the-radar St. Paul favorite closed earlier this year, with no one to darken the day in their stead.
It led Republic owner Matty O’Reilly to look at some of the rare, rainy-day beers the bar has squirreled away in its own cellar. He realized it was up to him to carry (or extinguish?) the torch, finally tapping some of the dark brews they've been stockpiling for the last few years for an Imperial Black Friday of their own.
The list sits at 44 different beers right now, including four years of Lift Bridge's Silhouette and an AleSmith Hammerhead Speedway Stout that's been resting since the brewery began distributing in Minnesota in 2015. Also: exactly one keg of 2013 Rum King.
“I don’t even know if there’s any of that left anywhere anymore," O’Reilly says. "The patience of not tapping those things … it was sort of this exercise, if you will, in restraint."
Other less-rare but still-tasty verticals include Goose Island's renowned Bourbon County Stout -- "It gets a big-beer bad rap, but it’s undeniably good in my book” -- and 2016 and 2017 Surly Darkness.
Need another reason to go? Well, the U is closed for the holiday, meaning that a lot of regulars will be out of town to make way for beer fans from all over. (Plus, Republic's nowhere near the mall.)
The fun starts at 11 a.m. and continues until the kegs run dry.
Imperial Black Friday
Republic, 221 Cedar Ave. S., Minneapolis
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