Tag Archives: Hunahpu’s Imperial Stout

Hunahpu’s Day a joyous celebration despite some issues

hunapuhsThousands of hopeful beer enthusiasts lined up in the dark streets of Tampa, FL in the wee hours of the morning Saturday. Some brought chairs to make their wait a little more comfortable; at least one intrepid soul brought a hammock that he strung between two trees. The throngs were gathered at Cigar City Brewing Company, waiting for their chance to purchase the brewery’s annual Hunahpu’s Day to begin. All in line were there in hopes of procuring their allotment of Hunahpu’s Imperial Stout, an annually-released, and much sought after beer that is a mélange of chocolate, vanilla, cinnamon, and chili peppers.

Standing in line for a big release like Hunahpu’s is a uniquely social event. Beer aficionados are a gregarious and generous bunch. While discussing the finer points of other big release brews, it is likely that someone may open up a cooler, reach inside and pull out a bottle that is promptly opened and shared. The sharing often prompts discussion of the flavors evident and the process by which the brewer elicited them from the ingredients. It seemed that everywhere one looked people were laughing, talking, and sharing good beer.

But, even at the most joyous of beer events, things go wrong. Just after dawn, the Tampa police department appeared and announced that the line, which had spilled into the parking lot of a nearby retail parking lot, had to be condensed because the retailer had complained. This prompted the gates the Brewery to be opened sooner than expected. Once inside, more lines formed for tokens that had to be used to purchase beer, and for shirts and glasses.

And then there were the beer lines. At one point, early in the day, lines were more than two hours long. These lines were not the boisterous fun lines that had defined the pre-dawn hours of Hunahpu’s Day, these were unorganized lines marred by inconsiderate cutters who merely walked to the front of the line effectively disrespecting those who were trying to follow the rules and wait patiently. The shame of it is that it could have been avoided with better planning. A few well-placed stanchions and ropes could have cut down on the line cutting and helped things to remain better organized.

Another issue that could have been handled better was the beer servers. Many were inexperienced and slow. Many guests were handed beers that were more than half foam. Others were served beers that were only partially full. But, perhaps the biggest sin of all was understaffing. The beer trailer, were some of the best and most sought after beers were being poured had only three servers and a line that grew to more than two and a half hours long.

But, issues aside, the spirit of the event was festive. Coolers full of beer brought by attendees were enthusiastically poured for others for no other reason than to share. People discussed the finer points of their favorite beers, ate food from one of the ten food trucks on hand, and socialized. Perhaps what makes an event like this so great is the social aspect. Beer, after all, has always been a social beverage. This truth has never been more evident than at an event like Hunahu’s day.

In the end, Cigar City distributed more than 10,000 bottle of the Hunahpu’s Imperial Stout. All of the wristbands they promised to hand out were distributed before the end of the line was reached, but at the end of the day, there were still bottle of the brew left for those who did not have a wristband and waited until after 5:00 p.m. The event, even with issues, was a successful celebration of craft beer that attracted folks from as far away as Sweden. If that is not an indicator of the reach and popularity of craft beer, nothing is.


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Posted by on March 11, 2013 in Beer, Beer Festival


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Hunahpu’s Day is coming, be prepared

CigarCityBrewingTampa Bay Beer Week is less than a month away. The annual event will be chock full of beer events, tastings, and, perhaps the most anticipated day of the year for many Florida beer freaks — the 4th Annual Hunahpu’s Day Release Party set for Saturday, March 9th at Cigar City Brewing.

On Hunahpu’s Day Cigar City Brewing releases its legendary brew Hunahpu’s Imperial Stout. The mere mention of the brew is likely to cause grown men to break into fits of whimsy and has been known to spur spontaneous trips to Tampa from far-flung locations. The beer is brewed only once per year and sold only at the at the brewery and only on Hunahpu’s Day.

According to the brewery’s website, “In Mayan mythology, Hun Hunahpu was the father of the Mayan hero twins Hunahpu and Xbalanque. Hun Hunahpu, along with his brother Vucub Hunahpu, was tricked by the Dark Lords of the underworld and slain. Hun Hunahpu’s corpse morphed into a cacao tree, his head becoming a cacao pod, which in typically awesome mythology fashion, spit upon the hand of a young maiden named Xiquic who promptly became pregnant with the hero twins. The twins would ultimately grow up to avenge their father and uncle and defeat the Dark Lords and ascend to the heavens to become the moon and sun.”

Regardless of the mythical origins of the brew, Hunahpu is a brew you do not want to miss out on. Beer tasters at website Ratebeer give it a perfect score of 100. Cigar City brewer, Wayne Wambles says of his brew,  “Pours extremely dark in color with a brown head with notes of big chocolate and espresso, moderate notes of vanilla and cinnamon and a mild tinge of tobacco and chilis. The flavor opens with a big blast of chocolate and moderate espresso with elements of dark toffee and interjecting threads of vanilla with lingering hints of cinnamon and tobacco and chillies notes with a mild scoville heat in the finish.”

But, if you want it, you had better get there early. The day has grown into such a huge event that the brewery has given very specific information on its website to ensure everything goes smoothly and everyone has a good time. They thought of everything including parking hints and nearby hotel information. If you plan to go, definitely stop by the page first. Just go to and click the Hunahpu’s Day link in the top navigation bar.

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Posted by on February 14, 2013 in Beer, Beer Styles


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