Big Star One Year Anniversary will feature debut of Big Star Beer, live music from Jon Langford and specials
On November 8th, Wicker Park taco and whiskey roadhouse Big Star celebrates one year of runaway success in true Big Star style.
Ben Fasman of Big Star tells me that the new Big Star Beer is a collaboration with Jared Rouben (Goose Island's head brewer), chef de cuisine Justin Large, Ben Fasman and Laurent Lebec (both managers at Big Star). Despite its killer cocktail selections and wide range of small batch bourbons to which I am partial, the bar, like any proper "roadhouse," mostly sells a heck of a lot of Tecate, Schlitz and Lone Star. So the Big Star crew wanted something in line with what it already does well with. But there were more considerations in formulating the signature brew, as Fasman told me via email.
“Due to the nature of our food (the pastor having pineapple in it, a lot of our marinades being heavy on citrus), we wanted something that had some citrus-y elements, but nothing overpowering, while having an interesting nose and having more body to it than a regular session beer. So what we decided on was an American pale ale that used American yeast and both Chinook and Simcoe hops. Chinook will give it a slightly piney aroma, while Simcoe cops also have some pine to them but tend to give things a slightly grapefruit-y flavor. We used a bit of rye to give it some spice, and two different types of caramel malts, to give it some body as well as hopefully making it a light-whiskey amber-ish hue. FInally, we dry-hopped it the other day, so hopefully it'll go down like a good, clean session ale, and not a hoppy American-style IPA.”
Does that sound like a man who enjoys a complex beer?
More on Big Star Beer after the jump.
Rouben was the mastermind of the hops, Lebec and Fasman had the pleasure of naming the beer: Deguello, after ZZ Top’s sixth album—“also a war cry used by the Mexican army at the battle of the Alamo, which meant either no surrender or beheading, depending upon who you ask” according to Fasman. Thus, the beer is a tribute to Texas in the same way Big Star's tacos are a tribute to Bakersfield, CA. And, they’re barrel aging the beer in whiskey barrels selected by Michael Rubel, Lebec and Fasman on a mission to Kentucky a few weeks back. The plan is for Publican, Goose Island Clybourn brewpub to have a few barrels of the beer, too. But most of the initial stash will reside at Big Star.
So if pouring back a pint of the first keg of Big Star Beer isn’t enough incentive, they’ve got shit-kicking country punk rocker Jon Langford playing a set (see video of Langford doing "Death Valley Days" at Live at TOC at the bottom of this post) just after the first pours come out. Justin/Paul and the Big Star kitchen will be turning out some surprise specials and me? I’ll be wearing a cowboy hat, toy sixguns, chaps and dancing on a table in the backroom, er, I mean, enjoying myself to the fullest.*
Big Star One Year Anniversary takes place November 8 at 8pm at Big Star, (1531 N Damen Ave, 773-235-4039).
*You should know that Big Star partner Terry Alexander is my brother-in-law.