Raise your gaze, and raise a glass: Restaurants hope people will be over-the-moon for eclipse drinks

Mike Wolanin | The Republic A view of the black and tan beer ZwanzigZ Pizza and Brewing is serving for the upcoming solar eclipse. The beer, called ZwanzigZ Solar EclipZe, is comprised of a Nitro Moon Oatmeal Cream Stout on top and ZwanzigZ Solar Golden Ale on bottom. The beers were made specifically for the solar eclipse on April 8th. The beer was photographed in ZwanzigZ Production Brewery.

You can do more than raise your gaze to the coming total solar eclipse April 8.

Area eateries are also encouraging you to raise a glass with over-the-moon, one-time promotions, from coffee to craft beer and say cheers to the heavenly halo slated to rim the moon at about 3 p.m. for a total of nearly 4 minutes in Bartholomew County.

At ZwanzigZ Pizza and ZwanzigZ Production Brewery, the team has come up with a one-time-only specialty beer: ZwanzigZ Solar EclipZe. The beer cocktail product is a mix of two ZwanzigZ special brews — ZwanzigZ Nitro Moon Oatmeal Cream Stout and ZwanzigZ Solar Golden Ale.

Shortly after pouring, the darker brew gradually and fittingly overtakes the lighter one.

Co-owner Kurt Zwanzig and his team began brainstorming on promotional drinks in January in preparation for the solar eclipse. A blend is a natural for the pizzeria and the brewery known for its unique blends. Recently, just before the drink was placed on the menu, customers began asking about a specialty brew.

“Increasingly, they had been asking, yes — especially as they’ve been hearing and reading more and more stories about the eclipse,” Zwanzig said. “I’m finding that the public is now paying a lot more attention to it. It’s really going to be a big deal.”

It’s a big enough deal that area authorities are predicting that south-central Indiana could see an influx of 150,000 visitors in some form that first week of April.

Toward that end, the business is staffing at 110 percent of normal from April 3 to 8, and the brewery is hosting special events beginning April 8.

Lucabe Coffee Company co-owner Tyler Hodge serves on the board of the Columbus Area Visitors Center, which is functioning as the city’s clearinghouse of sorts for all things eclipse. Visitors Center staff began eclipse activities planning last year.

“So this has been on my radar for a while,” Hodge said. “And it’s is an exciting opportunity that doesn’t come around very often.”

Hodge will close doors on both his downtown Fourth Street and Eastbrook Plaza Lucabe locations for about 10 minutes around 3 p.m. April 8 so that even his staff can catch the near-night spectacle of the moon passing between the Earth and the sun.

Hodge’s menu at both locations will include four special items, courtesy of drink creator Isabell Harrison: “Totality Blender” a blended espresso drink, “Eclipse, a Spring Blend” brew, plus a “Blackout Cookie” and “Moonrise Cake Pop.” The additions will be available April 1 to 8, or until supplies last.

Totality Blender consists of dark mocha, vanilla, and chocolate chips spun together “with a shadow of activated charcoal,” as Hodge puts it for the black coloring, referring to the nutritional, digestive supplement.

Hog Molly Brewing Company, 830 Depot St., will release Blackout Pastry Blonde in a special edition can and on tap at 4 p.m. April 5. The event will include live music and food. “Moon pastries” were used in the mash to create the pastry blonde ale, according to the company. Flavors include graham cracker, chocolate, and marshmallow.

At 450 North Brewing Co., the eclipse rollout is “Pitch Black,” a slushy craft beer available on tap and in a four-pack on April 8 until supplies last, according to Lauren Solomon, general manager. Also on the menu will be an India pale ale called “The Great Eclipse.”

She added that the drinks might be available in this area via Bartholomew County Beverage at The Cork locations and smaller stores for a limited time.

450 North Brewing Co., which has hosted past events such as elaborate corn mazes attracting several thousand people, is hosting an eclipse viewing party April 8 with free parking and free primitive camping. At press time, about 100 people have signed up for the camping.

“We’d like people just to be able to hang out and have a good time,” Solomon said. “We’ve got a few acres here.”