Warm sunshine and a sweet breeze ushered in the arrival of Zephyr Lager to Chicago. Neither Big Star nor California’s Lagunitas Brewing Company could have ordered a more perfect day to debut their new lager.
Big Star beer directors Ben Fasman and Laurent Lebec said they wanted to do something special for the Wicker Park establishment.
Even in our brief conversation, their passion for beer was evident. That’s why Fasman, Lebec and The Publican craft beer aficionado Michael McAvena partnered with Lagunitas to cook up a pre-Prohibition style lager with a twist, mixing grains like corn and wheat with Pilsner and New Zealand hops to create a uniquely flavored brew. Zephyr is the result of passionately pushing the brewing envelope.
My take? Straight from the tap, this orange-amber colored brew has very little head. On first sip, I tasted a bit of sweetness but that was quickly followed by the full-bodied wow of double hops, ending in a perfect landing with a smooth, spicy finish. Zephyr rolls down fast, so beware: the alcohol by volume is over 7 percent. A great summer brew best served cold, Zephyr is perfectly tuned for the patio on a hot day.
By the way, the name isn’t really a nod to Chicago’s “Windy City” appellation. Zephyr Lager is, in fact, named after the late 1940’s California Zephyr which ran from San Francisco to Chicago. An earlier Zephyr Streamliner called the Pioneer made a record-breaking “Dawn to Dusk” run from Denver to Chicago in 1934. You can tour that Zephyr at the Museum of Science and Industry.
You’ll find this very drinkable Zephyr on tap at Big Star and The Publican, as well as other establishments throughout Chicago that serve Lagunitas brews.
1531 North Damen
Chicago, IL 60622
837 W. Fulton Market
Chicago, IL 60607
Beverages were provided free as part of a media event.