By Bill Zavorskas
It was a spectacular day this past Saturday when the Mr. Beery’s Magic Bus Tour departed to Cigar City Brewing in Tampa for Hunahpu’s Day. Our mission: to drink great beer, enjoy the festivities, and of course to claim our trophy – the 2011 release of Cigar City Hunahpu’s Imperial Stout (Cigar City Brewing; Tampa, FL; Russian Imperial Stout; ABV: 11.5).
Upon arriving, we all took advantage of the festive atmosphere, which included live music and a tasty variety of cuisine, from local area restaurants, to compliment the beer. Creativity was the word of the day for beer, from Cigar City’s own Pilot Series Barleywine to some outstanding home brews like the Pinellas Urban Brewers Guild’s amazing Russian Imperial Stout and Special Hoperations’ superb Smoked Jalapeno Ale. There was an extensive lineup of guest brews on tap as well, including the highly regarded Funky Buddah Maple Bacon Coffee Porter (The Funky Buddah Lounge & Brewery; Boca Raton, FL; Porter; ABV: 6.3), which unfortunately kicked right before we arrived. But in the end, there was only one beer that mattered – Hunahpu.
Created from their Marshall Zhukov’s Imperial Stout, and aged on pasilla and ancho peppers as well as vanilla, cinnamon and cocoa nibs, Hunahpu is definitely something special. This imperial stout pours a jet black color, with big notes of expresso and sweet dark chocolate balanced by roasted malt, vanilla beans, and peppery spices. The flavors tend to be even more accentuated in the 2011 brewing than in 2010, with the vanilla beans and peppery spices really coming through to balance the sweet chocolate notes. I had a chance to speak with head brewer Wayne Wambles, and he had wanted to improve upon last year’s offering. Needless to say he’s succeeded, which is saying something considering that the 2010 Hunahpu is considered to be one of the world’s best beers.
CCB made bottles of Hunahpu available to the first 750 guests, with a four bottle limit per person. I was glad to be a part of this afternoon, and to take home my own supply of this incomparable stout.
Lastly, I’d like to give thanks to Cigar City Brewing for hosting this great event, Mark for arranging the Mr. Beery’s Magic Bus Tour, Sam for being a hip chaperone to our merry band of beer geeks, Gemma for staying behind to secure our purchases of Hunahpu, and my pal Brad, for riding shotgun with me and filming the day’s events for our video blog. Once the mad genius has finished editing, I’ll attach the video feed to this blog. Cheers!