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The Beer Circle » Cigar City Brewing Co., Imperial Stout » Guest Post: Cigar City Hunahpu Day

Guest Post: Cigar City Hunahpu Day

Editor’s Note: This is the first of what we hope is many contributions from our readers. These guest posts come from our friends, followers, and fellow beer geeks who have something they want to share. If you’ve attended a great event, tasted a rare beer, want to give your favorite brewery some love, or anything else beer related feel free to send us an email at thebeercircle@gmail.com and let us know!

Cigar City Hunahpu’s Imperial Stout is at the tipping point of being one of the most sought after beers in the market, and I was at the 2012 release. With a reported 5000+ in attendance, the event did not disappoint.

Cigar City Brewing Company started in Tampa in March of 2009. The two main beers that the brewery is best known for is Jai Alai IPA and Maduro Brown. The brewery has focused on not only having a great beer but also expanding the Cuban tradition in South Florida. Beers like Hunahpu have their basis in the traditional style but then move in a different direction with unique tastes that take on the essence of their heritage.

Tap Handles

Now onto the release, it officially started at 11am on March 10th but people had already started gathering outside the brewery as early as 5am. Talking with fellow craft beer fans in line, many were shocked by how fast the event has grown over the past three years.

Walking into the event was exciting. Each person received two wrist bands, one for two bottles of Hunahpu you were allowed to buy and the other for trying any of the other beers. Tap stations were set up every 30 feet or so and distributed five or more beers, a good many of which have never been seen in Florida, including Founders who brought their breakfast stout and Three Floyds, who had Dark Lord 2011 available as well as most of their staple beers like Dreadnaught and Alpha King, and a few others.

Outside Tap Stations

Other breweries that were represented included: Dunedin, Seventh Sun, Ballast Point, Swamp Head and many others. Generally people have been very surprised about the beer selection, specifically the rarer beers they’ve had in the past. However, the event has never brought in anything like Three Floyds or Founders before. The 2011 Hunahpu day was more focused on regional beers, whereas this year we saw a lot more rare beers from around the US.

The Inside Bar

As I was standing in any of the many lines that were between me and beer or beer tickets, it was fascinating to see the buzz around not only Hunahpu but of the other beers Cigar City had brewed for that day. A personal favorite was the Hungarian Oak Peach IPA, just a wonderfully balanced IPA with hints of peach that were perfect on the hot sunny day.

The beer of the day, Hunahpu, was served at every station in the lot and tasters were given out constantly, just in case you weren’t already jealous enough, and it was damn good. The beer itself was phenomenal! The nose smelled of sweet molasses and chocolate and was set off with a hint of chili. The head was a rich brown and even in the taster glass was very pronounced. Tasting the beer you instantly get that Russian Imperial Stout flavor with the heavy malts, sweetness and coffee. However, Cigar City did a great job of showcasing the chilies in an almost subdued way. It was not over pronounced in the end but brought great characteristics to the taste. Being my first try of the sweet and spicy Russian Imperial Stout, my taste buds were shocked to encounter the chili peppers. It had all the characteristics of a well crafted RIS but had a kick of chili in the end that really gave it that Cigar City taste. The beer itself just coated my palate, it was thick, rich and as my friend said reminiscent of engine oil. To say the least, it was well worth the waiting in lines.

Victory

In all, the event was stellar, but not perfect. Lines were the biggest issue. It wasn’t the fact that you had to stand in line for beer, but that there was a lot of confusion between ticket lines and beer lines. This caused some of the less patient to get upset temporarily, but because everyone ended up with phenomenal beer, we all were happy. The cost was on par with an event of this caliber $5 = one ticket = one beer. Normal glasses seemed to be about 8-10oz and smaller glasses for the higher alcohol/ higher end beer were about 5oz.

The end result was some bad tan lines, good stories, new friends, and two bottles of Hunahpu 2012. I would highly recommend going next year if you are in town. Especially, if you can make it to the week leading up, Tampa Bay Beer Week, which will never disappoint.

The Spoils

Cheers, Andrew

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Written by Andrew Denniger (Guest Author)

Growing up in the Midwest, Andrew was always around good beer. Over the past four years, he really expanded his knowledge on it, having tasted hundreds of beers, starting homebrewing and even running a few beer events. He also loves sports and believes there is nothing like a good beer after being exhausted.

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