Updated (6/21/11) See end of post.

Being born in Chicago and now living in Petaluma, CA, I couldn’t be more stoked to make this my first post on Bay Area Craft Beer.

A cross-country tale of Brews, Tattoos, and Restaurateurs …

Zephyr Ale Logo

Fresh off the heels from their Bay Area pub-owner collaborative brew, SF Beer Week Beer, this is the first group effort Lagunitas has done with restaurants. It’s a collaboration with two Chicago eateries, Big Star and The Publican. Why ChiTown? For one thing, Lagunitas Founder Tony Magee is a Chicago native. And another, why not?

This is a special beer made just for Chicago by Chicagoans. We kept it light in color, but big in flavor–it was made with mostly Pale Malted Barely, and we added a bit of Malted Wheat and dry-hopped it with Liberty and Nelson Sauvin to lend a spicy finish. It was fermented with our Lager yeast and we held back on the Hop-bomb effect so the yeast character could poke through a bit. Rolls down smooth and fast, like it’s namesake cross-county train!”

Zephyr Ale is in fact named after the gorgeous art deco streamliner that ran from Cali to Chicago. The train, also known as The Silver Lady, can still be viewed and even strolled through inside the Museum of Science & Industry. Apparently, the hostesses who worked on it were known as “Zephyrettes.”

Design: Hanna Aitchison

In tribute to The Silver Lady, the spirit of collaboration, and generally bein’ rough-around-the-edges, the gang brought in tattoo artist extraordinaire Hanna Aitchison of LA Ink fame to handle the artwork. Unfortunately due to timing constraints it didn’t make the official tap. Stay tuned for details on where it’ll surely pop up.

The beer hits Chicago and California in June but you can get a taste right now …

Lagunitas Taproom Zephyr Chalkboard

Photo: Eric Kenner

If you’re in the Bay Area you can be among the first to try it right at the Lagunitas TapRoom in Petaluma. They just tapped it yesterday. Cheers.

Update (6/21/11): A mural of Hanna Aitchison’s Lagunitas artwork was spotted in Wicker Park, Chicago.

Photo: Markandeya Sendan

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