There's been a whole mess 'o buzz around a new beer coming to the Chicago market—and with good reason. Big Star and The Publican teamed up with Petaluma, Calif.,-based Lagunitas Brewing Co., to create Zephyr, the first restaurant collaboration the brewery has ever done.
Zephyr, a light-colored ale made from pale malted barley and a bit of malted wheat, was named for the art deco California Zephyr train (aka "Silver Lady") that used to travel between the San Francisco Bay Area and Chicago, and is currently housed at the Museum of Science and Industry. The brewery produced 500 barrels, of which 200 will hit all the Lagunitas accounts in the city on Monday, June 6, including Big Star, The Publican, Small Bar (all three locations), Long Room, Hopleaf and Four Moon Tavern, among others.
The beer was initially conceived by Big Star's Ben Fasman and Laurent Lebec and Publican's Michael McAvena. They created the beer and brought it out to the Petaluma brewery, which was founded by Chicagoan Tony Magee, where it was tweaked and perfected. To up the star power, the crew tapped Hannah Aitchison, of LA Ink, to create the cool label.
Zephyr Label [Photo: Hannah Aitchison]