Friday, January 19, 2018
Bars & Spirits

Hunahpu's Day: A survival guide to Cigar City Brewing's biggest party

Come on, you didn't really think they'd let Hunahpu's Day die, did you? Cigar City Brewing's largest annual event, celebrating the release of its acclaimed Hunahpu's Imperial Stout, returns Saturday in Tampa. It's a little different this time around, sure, but anything has to be an improvement over the mess caused by scalpers, counterfeiters and fence-jumpers last year, right? Here's a guide to the action.

What's different?

Instead of selling 3,500 tickets for $50 each — which were subsequently counterfeited and sold as low as $10 a pop by a few jerks with laser printers — the festival is limited to 2,000 attendees, and the price is a whopping $200. More precisely, the price was $200 — tickets sold out immediately upon release. To get in, you need a photo ID with a name matching the name on the ticket. No transfers, no scalping — either you have a ticket with your name on it, or you don't.

What do you get?

Entry includes four bottles of Hunahpu's Imperial Stout (previously available for purchase at the festival for $20 each), food (vegan and vegetarian options are available upon request), a branded carrying bag for your new bottles of Hunahpu's, and a special commemorative glass. Oh, and unlimited sampling of the completely insane tap list at the festival.

What's this about a tap list?

Take a look at cigarcity.com/­hunahpus-day for an updated beer list, but rest assured that it's impressive. The Cigar City selection alone is mind-boggling, but breweries from across the country will show off their finest wares, including several breweries not available in Florida. Expect preposterous lines to try beers from the Alchemist, Toppling Goliath and Funky Buddha. You'll probably want to wait in a long line or two, but don't ignore the less-popular options, either. Athens, Ga.'s Creature Comforts Brewery is doing some very nice stuff lately, and New Orleans-based NOLA Brewing Co. will showcase some of its experimental sour and wild ales. Portland, Ore.'s Cascade Brewing will have a few rarities that should also be high on any sour beer fan's list, and neighbors Widmer Brothers Brewing will have two versions of its severely underrated collaboration with Cigar City, Gentlemen's Club.

That's a lot of beer.

It sure is! Take advantage of the food included with your ticket, and arrange for transportation beforehand. Consider booking a hotel and cabbing it, but be forewarned, rooms near the brewery are pricey.

I have four bottles of Hunahpu's. Now what?

Hunahpu's Imperial Stout is a big, bold beer, and it can withstand aging, though it doesn't need any. If you want to cellar your beer, keep it out of sunlight and at temperatures preferably below 55ºF. Some of the flavors will fade with age, but it's always interesting to see how a certain beer changes over time. That said, with hype levels as high as they are, it's important to remember that Hunahpu's is still beer. It's meant to be enjoyed! Put a bottle away for cellaring, stock one for a special occasion and share the rest with friends. There will always be more next year.

What if I oversleep and don't make it? What if couldn't get a ticket in the first place?

If you have a ticket and couldn't make it, you can still get your bottles of Hunahpu's with your ticket at the brewery after Monday. If you didn't get a ticket, don't worry. Since it's the end of Tampa Bay Beer Week, many area taprooms will still have lots of special stuff on draft — hit up your favorite brewery or beer bar, and see what's new! Then, hit up your friends who attended Hunahpu's Day and see how quickly you can arrange a bottle share.

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