LINCOLN PARK — On the busiest shopping day of the year, the nearly 600 people lined up in front of a Lincoln Park store had one thing on their mind: beer.
"It's a beer drinker's holiday," said 29-year-old David Kudla, who got in line with two buddies at 7 a.m. outside Lincoln Park's Binny's Beverage Depot Friday morning for a chance to grab one of Goose Island's rarest brews.
They weren't early enough, and were behind 300 others waiting for bombers and four-packs of Goose Island's Bourbon County Brand variants.
Some customers had lined up as early as midnight, but unlike those fighting at big-box stores across the country, it was a friendly crowd.
That could be thanks to the beers that customers brought along and shared among new friends.
"I told my parents at Thanksgiving yesterday. They thought I was nuts," Kudla said.
Exactly 593 people lined up outside Binny's before the store opened at 9 a.m. and the six variants of the Bourbon County brew were available, said Adam Vavrick, Binny's beer manager.
It was the third year that the store teamed up with Goose Island for the rare release.
"People are becoming more and more interested in beer. It's a neat thing," Vavrick said. "This is people realizing that beer doesn't have to be bland and tasteless."
During last year's Black Friday release 350 lined up, he said.
For Kudla and his friends, it was the third year in a row they lined up early for a chance at the beers.
"Binny's Black Friday is the only Black Friday I've ever taken a part of," said Jimmy Schultz, a 29-year-old Logan Square resident.
Goose Island was the originator of bourbon-aged beers, which they first produced in 1992 at the original Clybourn brewpub.
The bourbon-barrel aged beers sold out almost immediately at the Lincoln Park location Friday morning.
"It's so cool to see so many people come out here in the cold to get a good beer," Vavrick said.
For those who didn't snag a bottle or two, Binny's stashed away kegs of Bourbon County Brand that will be tapped when the store opens a tap room as part of a massive addition.
Vavrick said he is hoping to open by early February.
While Kudla, Schultz and their friend Adam Freid were able to snag numerous packs of the coveted beer, they missed out on the rarest of the rare variants.
That won't happen next year.
They are already thinking about their game plan, which could involve renting an RV if necesary to camp out in the parking lot.
"We probably would have got more beer if the weather was worse today," Kudla said.
That was his only complaint.
For those who were unable to snag the precious brew, Goose Island is hosting a tapping of the Bourbon County Barleywine and Coffee Stout blends at Fatpour, 2005 W. Division St., at 4 p.m.