Lagunitas recently teamed up with the Publican and Big Star for its first official collaboration brew, dubbed Zephyr in honor of the Pioneer Zephyr
, a train that set a speed record for travel between Chicago and Denver in 1934 (it's now on display at the Museum of Science and Industry). Its official release date is June 6, but I tried it at a media event this afternoon at Big Star, where it's already on tap. Dry-hopped with Liberty and Nelson Sauvin hops, it initially tastes quite sweet, but the bitterness and spiciness of the hops come through on the finish—overall, it's well-balanced, and dangerously light and drinkable considering that it's 7.6 percent alcohol. The beer is made with lager yeast, but rather than going through the lagering process (at cool temperatures), it's brewed at room temperature like an ale.
Of the 500 barrels produced, 200 will make it to Chicago, and any bar that has an account with Lagunitas will have a chance to carry it. In addition, it should be on tap at the Publican and Big Star all summer. The Publican will launch it with a beer dinner Mon 6/6, which includes Zephyr and other Lagunitas beers paired with food and costs $55.