Lagunitas Zephyr

Yikes.

Billed as a pre-prohibition lager, California Common, wheat lager, steam beer, all of the above, depending on where you look, Zephyr is a collaborative brew brought to you by Lagunitas Brewing of Petaluma, CA, and Chicago restaurants Big Star and Publican.  It is named in honor of the Pioneer Zephyr, a train that set a speed record from Chicago to Denver in 1934 and is now on display at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago.  I guess this beer is a cross-platform collaboration.  Maybe Lagunitas is going to be able to offer expensive food now.  The good new is that at least this is not one of Lagunitas’ myriad of short-run barleywines, the bad news, it’s good and not great.  That said, the bouquet is mild and leans toward the sweet end of the spectrum.  The taste is hoppier than the bouquet leads one to believe.  It’s light-bodied and saliva-thickening.  The mouthfeel is silky, and the initial sweetness turns dry and piney on the exhale.  7.8% ABV, but it doesn’t smell very alcoholy.  That could be dangerous, should you require a second.  Zephyr is brewed with barley, wheat and corn (corn?  why?) and some New Zealand hops.  It kind of rubbed me the wrong way from the start, just the annoying and over-thought concept, I guess.  I know that is probably not fair.  It’s good, but I don’t want another one.  Since it is a small batch limited edition beer (500 barrels, 200 of which made it to Chicago), I won’t be able to get another one anyway.

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