Limited Release Beer in Tampa:
On March 12th an old friend will return to Cigar City Brewing in Tampa. This is not a brewer from a distant land, although Cigar City has seen more than a few recently. This is not a new employee, although Cigar City has taken on more than a few in recent months. This “friend” has won numerous awards including first prize at the Atlanta Cask Ale Festival in 2009, with “more flavors than the judges had room to write.” This friend only visits the brewery in bottled form once every year, and that is when the month of March is first rising. That beer is the illustrious Hunahpu Imperial Stout.
Hunahpu is an experience. This is an imperial stout first and foremost, one of the most popular styles among beer enthusiasts. One can expect big flavors of roasted malt, coffee, chocolate, and hints of licorice. Cigar City then goes further and treats the imperial stout with vanilla, cinnamon, and cocoa nibs as well as ancho and pasilla chile peppers. While this may sound like an unlikely combination, the brewers at Cigar City know how to make it work, as they have since they opened.
Last year the release of Hunahpu was heralded by music, fanfare, and many craft beer lovers gathering at the brewery for great beer. This year is expected to be more of a gathering since Cigar City has announced on their blog:
“With the popularity of this yearly release which also happens to be one of our very favorite products we decided to make it a day long party this year! Enjoy music from local artists, a diverse mix of food, and of course a lot of great beer thrown in the mix. The party will spill out into the parking lot, and we are getting plans underway to raise a festival tent and assemble multiple bars with a larger variety of beers than was available last year!” (http://blog.cigarcitybeer.com/)
According to the brewery, bottles of Hunahpu will go on sale beginning at 6pm, with wristbands being handed out at noon. The first 750 people will be guaranteed a four-bottle allotment. After everyone with a wristband has been served, the rest of the available bottles will then be sold.
Last year’s release was a good time of epic proportions, and this year’s promises to be the same if not better, since Cigar City can now extend their sales and grounds into the parking lot. The brewery has also booked a block of hotel rooms for out-of-town guests. It seems that the brewery staff has considered almost every angle of the release with beer enthusiasts in mind. If there is any doubt, and if seeing is believing, then cross March 12th off the calendar right now.