AN ALEHEAD GOES TO HUNAHPU’S DAY

A few months ago, Mom and Dad Sixpack invited Slouch and I down for a weekend visit. Unfortunately, Slouch was too busy with work*, and couldn’t make the trip. I decided that the second week in March seemed like a good time to get away from the cold, snowy, Kansas winter** in favor of sunny Tampa Bay. When I arrived, I realized that my choice had fortuitously*** put me in Tampa for Hunahpu’s Day, arguable the biggest craft beer event in the Southeast United States.

*Slouch is unemployed

**it didn’t even snow this winter

***ok, this is just a lie. I knew exactly what I was doing.

Armed with three mules (Mom, Dad, and Lady Jay) we arrived at the event about an hour before opening. I was a little afraid this would be a touch on the late side, but it worked out just fine. We scored the very last parking spot in the abandoned Sears parking lot across from the brewery, and got into the event about 20 minutes after the gates open. Getting there very early would have been a good time, but I had my parents’ attention span in mind.

While waiting in line, some kind souls shared tastes of Russian River Consecration, Barrel Aged Hunahpu, Troegs Mad Elf, and a Double Wit from Freetail. We cracked a bottle of Boulevard Rye-on-Rye 2012 I got a few days before, which was the best I could offer up.

Once inside, there were five areas get in line for different beers, throughout the day line waits varied between 15 minutes and well over an hour, depending on the tap list. The longest lines were for the two kegs of Three Floyd’s Dark Lord (one regular, one BA), but we didn’t even try for those which was wise given each tapped out in 15 minutes or so.

Beers Sampled

CCB Hunahpu – Yup

CCB Rum-barrel Hunahpu – My favorite beer of the day. The rum added a nice touch and really brought out the cinnamon compared with the other versions. Good Stuff

CCB Stranahan’s Whiskey-barrel Hunahpu – Nice quite as good as the rum-barrel, but still quite nice

CCB Patio Tools (Irish Dry Stout on Nitro) – Get it? True to the style, this was a good palate cleanser

CCB Peach Jai-Alai IPA (w/ Hungarian Oak) – I was pleasantly surprised by this one. The peach was mostly in the nose, and very subtle in the taste

CCB Cookies and Milk – Oatmeal Raisin Cookie blended with a milk stout. Tons of vanilla and cinnamon, a real “dessert” beer

CCB Smokabaga (Tocobaga Red w/ smoked malt and chilies) – This beer tasted like BBQ.

CCB Grannies’ Candies – Another one of CCB’s overly sweet, overly spiced offerings. Not really up my alley, but I was happy to sample it anyway

Lost Abbey Deliverance – My second favorite beer of the day, this blend of Angel’s Share and Serpent’s Stout was just plain incredible

Funky Buddha Hefeweizen – Meh. A hefeweizen

Funky Buddha Last Snow (Coconut Porter) – I’m sad I missed some of the other Funky Buddha beers, but this made up for it. Delicious.

Avery Trogdor the Burninator – Ok, nothing exceptional. By this point in the day my tastebuds were fried, so it may have been fantastic and I just didn’t realize it.

Three Floyds Stygian Darkness (Belgian Strong-dark) – Solid, but see the problem detailed above

From bottles:

Surly Darkness – Sure, I missed the Dark Lord, but a kind soul poured a swallow of this to make up for it.

Lost Abbey Lost and Found – Tasty. Light and refreshing after all those stouts

We also tried about half a dozen homebrewers from a couple of the local clubs. The home-brew area was a lot of fun, a wish I would have spent a little more time there. Oh, and it was free.

The food trucks were pretty great, and included a diversity of foods including Cuban Sandwiches, empanadas, meatballs, BBQ, tacos, one sandwich truck even had a Hunahpu-meatloaf sandwich. Good, perhaps, but I would prefer them separately.

There was a tent hand-rolling Cigars, including one infused with CCB Maduro. There were also Hunahpu Cookies, but we didn’t try any of those.

Live Music incuded, including blues played on locally made Cigar-box guitars.

Overall, the event was very well run. The lines were long at times, but as long as you understood that you needed to plan ahead there wasn’t too much “down time” without beer. Sure there were over a dozen beers on tap I didn’t get to try, but with over 60 available, this was inevitable.

Apparently over 5,000 Aleheads were in attendance. Cheers, Cigar City.

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4 comments

  1. Damn, gotta pay better attention to the calendar. Visited the CCB tasting room last fall with elder daughter(23) while youngest & wife went shopping. Worked for me !! This is the second or third rave I’ve read about L.A.’s Deliverance. We get a lot of their brews in Atlanta, so I’ll have to keep an eye out for it…

  2. Hordeum, how is it that CCB seems to be able to run an event of this size so smoothly? We’re talking comparable to Dark Lord Day here, but it sounds like much less of a free-for-all.

  3. LadyJay · ·

    Carboy, how many tap access points were there at DLD? There were several (5?) cooler trucks with about 10 taps and two tenders apiece distributed around the parking lot, with staggered timing for the availability of coveted kegs. Everyone was handed a printed schedule as they waited in line to enter the event.

    1. There is just such a mass of humanity at Dark Lord Day that it’s hard to even remember. I was at the 2011 event, which was supposedly the smoothest running in quite a while. I remember 2-3 places pouring beer, grouped mostly into one corner of their parking lot. The majority of the rest of the space was dominated by people camping out with lawn chairs, and by the picnic tables where people swap beers and tastes and stuff. There were certainly no schedules of where anything was—in fact, there may not have been any guest taps at all. Now, if you actually wanted to buy Dark Lord on tap during the event itself, you could also wait in a very, very long line to go inside the brewpub itself to do so.

      I didn’t do that, because that line was epic, and as such I didn’t actually end up tasting any Dark Lord on that actual day in May. I didn’t crack one of the bottles we bought until my birthday in September.

      In fact, I think the whole time I was there I only had one beer that was bought from a vendor. The whole rest of the time I was pretty much either getting my own bottles of Dark Lord or hanging out with the swapping people, tasting beers from around the country out of solo cups and pouring samples of some Chicago stuff and homebrew that I had brought with me.

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