Hunahpu is a Great Hero of Mayan history, along with his twin brother Xbalanque. The Twins, as the oldest Mayan myth preserved in its entirety, are fabled warriors and leaders, protectors and paragons of the Mayan people. The Twins have a rather unusual beginning. It’s a not-quite-so-immaculate conception. Basically the Twins’ father and uncle were defeated and sacrificed by the Lords of the Underworld. But their dad was such a badass that he impregnated his boo from the grave. Thus, the Twins, like most heroes of legend, entered the world through unusual and quasi-magical means.
This is a pretty kickass and legendary start for most people. But mostly, the Twins were famous for being badass “ballplayers.” According to the infallible Wikipedia, the Mesoamerican ballgame dates back to circa 1000 B.C.E. Supposedly it is similar to raquetball and you try to keep the ball in play as long as possible and maybe put it through some hoops or something like that. Whatever, The Sons grew up and kicked ass at the ballgame, challenged and defeated the Lords of the Underworld, and basically ruled the world. Finally, since they were the badassest of the badasses, they got to become the Sun and Moon. Not a shabby life.
Why do I tell you this? Just to let you know what a badass Hunahpu is. This cat was no Slouch (see what I did there?). So when Cigar City names one of their beers “Hunahpu,” it has a lot to live up to. And it does…
Hunahpu is an interesting, complex, and all-around awesome Imperial Stout. It’s the “Pimp My Beer” version of Cigar City’s already stellar Marshal Zhukoff Imperial Stout. They throw in a little extra chocolate and come chilies. A cool, spicy, unique brew is the result.
Like many breweries these days, Hunahpu receives a day of honor. The one day that it is released all year. They have folks come day and get wrist bands and all kinds of goodies and drink and make sacrifices (rather than human, they’re mostly sobriety sacrifices) in honor of Hunahpu. Then you get to stand in line for your beers – 4 of them.
Day well spent…in theory. I had never been. But a few of us threw around the idea of making the pilgrimage. Only two were brave enough to accept the Quest. Just two…like the Twins. Coincidence? Probably, but it sounds cooler if its Fate. So Red Flanders and I (the illustrious Cask Beerouac) set our sights on Tampa.
Though he resides in the Spirit World, still guiding his people to the Promised Land, Lord Hunahpu makes the journey to the Physical World and assumes carnal form on rare occasions.
Red and I mapped out our route, planned on visit to the mystical land of Tampa, FL and their Bastion of Freedom, Stalwart Against the Darkness, the mighty Cigar City in painstaking detail. When news that the great Mayan Lord, Hunahpu, would be making his 2nd annual rendezvous in Tampa, we knew it was an opportunity too good to pass up.
We climbed aboard Belle, the mighty blue Subaru, and she carried us swift and true through the pitfalls, the quicksand, around the land of the evil Jorts, past the feisty Seminoles and angry Gators. We avoided traps of distraction and premature evacuation with only minimal lost of time and purse (luckily Florida is a shit hole and allows for few distractions). The Doom of Spring Break was looming over our hands – Spring Break is the annual Planting Festival where the local savages are besieged by the cult of Outsiders who sacrifice their Virgins and engage in debauchery and douchebaggery the likes rarely seen in the Civilized Land. But Belle was undaunted and saw us safely within the walls of Cigar City. The Darkness may have threatened to surround us, but we had found the Light.
We pulled into the gates of Cigar City around 11 of the clock, post meridian, and proceeded post-haste to the tavern room. The barkeep was gracious enough to punctually tend to our call of “Your finest ale, good man.” In front of me sat a golden concoction, a deliciously refreshing treat that barkeep told me was an ale brewed for shipping to the colonies. “IPA,” he called. “But this is no ordinary IPA,” he persisted. “It is made of the finest fruit of these fertile grounds, the papaya.” We glanced at one another as if to say, “I’d pee in her butt” which roughly translates to “Drinks pretty good.”
After many a round, and a few samplers of the good man’s wares (his beer, just so we’re clear), we decided to retire to the stables where Belle was sleeping soundly. We saved a little money and lay beside her. *
*We actually slept in my car, but having already established Belle as a gallant steed it would have been awkward to say “We slept in Belle.”
We woke in the early, pre-dawn grey, a chill in our breasts and a rumbling in our bellies. The previous evening we had been told of a gracious purveyor of food just down the road named Denny who could take care of us. So we decided to let Belle rest some more and headed off on foot.
Our bellies full and our hearts a little more clogged, we returned to claim our place in line to greet the great lord Hunahpu. In line we met fellow travelers and pilgrims and struck up friendly conversation. Travelers had come from far and wide and we soon settled into a little group with whom to share an ale and swap a story.
After a few hours, the time for festivities was upon us. The day was full of celebration, music, and of course, beer. There were famous local faces and well-known lords from far away. The Founders had come from distant Michigan, all Three Floyds had traveled from Indiana, and a man from the Port of San Diego, known as “Old Viscosity” had made the journey as well.
It was a joyous occasion. Folks from far and wide joined together to celebrate the joyous coming on Hunahpu. The local taps were tapped. People brought out there own stash of goodness to pass around. It was as friendly and brotherly a collection of folks as you are likely to come across. The lovely people who hail from the Cigar City held a table with a delicious bounty, more than enough for all the travelers and locals alike. Jovial and cordial times were had by all.
After a long, full, and momentous day, it was time to shake hands with Lord Hunahpu. He was big and bold. An intimidating man to be sure. He had a little exotic flair to him, almost spicy; yet he was smooth and well integrated. Most of the rustic nature had given way to a sweetness (though it was tinged with a little bitterness). But always lurking behind was the bold stature of this great warrior. Over the centuries, he had lost nothing of his ballplayer’s stature. If you weren’t careful, he could definitely kick your ass.
Luckily it never came to that and he was a real sweetheart. All around a great day had by all. It was a little sad when it was over, but all good things must come to an end. Had to retire back to the shitty life to appreciate the good times, I suppose. We saddled up Belle – our packs a little more full this time – and headed off into the sunset.
Non-Convoluted and Uber-Pretentious Notes (almost): Awesome day. The people at Cigar City really handled everything super well. They were friendly and efficient. They were gracious enough to put on the great event, put on some seriously badass and rare of their own offerings, bring in some pretty fucking good food, include some ridiculous guest taps, as well as let us indulge in beers that were brought from personal cellars. They were super copasetic and chill. Cheers! Cigar City, you make some damn fine beers and you were some damn fine folk.
CIGAR CITY BEERS ON TAP
Hunahpu – incredible. The reason for the season. Awesome RIS with a little twist, almost like the Zhukoff was given an Indian Sunburn. 4 Hops
Four Roses Barrel-Aged Marshal Zhukoff – Cigar City’s “base” RIS given a little aging. Added some great sweetness and smoothness. Maybe the most impressive beer of the day…maybe. 4 Hops.
Apple Brandy-Aged Zhukoff – pretty damn tasty too. All 3 versions of the Zhukoff were killer. This was a little too sweet for me to really call it incredible. Unlike the Four Roses and Hunahpu versions, I felt like the Apple Brandy, while interesting, detracted ever so slightly from the awesomeness of the RIS. But it was damn good. 3 Hops.
Papaya IPA – incredible. A little extra flavor and uniqueness to the already badass and citrusy goodness that is the Jai Alai. 4 Hops
Peach IPA – didn’t seem different enough from Jai Alai to be worth the special version. But regular Jai Alai is awesome, so… 3.5 Hops.
Bohr Imperial Sweet Stout – collaboration with Mikkeller. Pretty good, not great. 3 Hops
Vuja De – a killer sour collaboration with St. Somewhere. 4 Hops
Jolly Guava – another killer sour collab, this time with Jolly Pumpkin. Jolly’s spin on Cigar City’s kick ass Guava Grove. Also it was the last beer of the day. 4 Hops
Red Wine-Aged Sea Bass – a interesting take on their Dark Farmhouse. Nice and tart. 3.5 Hops
Pineapple Kölsch – not my style, but not too bad. Pretty refreshing. 3 Hops
Founders Backwoods Bastard – awesome. So smooth. 4 Hops
Founders Old Curmudgeon – about as easy drinking a barleywine as you’ll find. 3.5 Hops
Three Floyds Artic Panzer Wolf – the good Floyds haven’t failed me yet. Didn’t disappoint here either. Solid DIPA, rating only hurt by mine own ridiculous love for over-the-top hop bombs. 3 Hops
Half Acre Daisy Cutter – Kid Carboy extolled the qualities of Half Acre and he didn’t lie. Liquid weed here. Awesome smell. One of the better Pales I’ve had. 3.5 Hops
Fat Buddha Maple Bacon Porter – breakfast in a bottle. Sounds like a lot going on – and there was – but super well balanced. Impressively crafted brew. 3.5 Hops
Lost Abbey Bourbon-Aged Angel’s Share – pretty good. Probs like the non-aged version better. 3 Hops
Port Brewing Old Viscosity – just a solid damn beer. Hurt a little by the company of the day (wish it were Older Viscosity). 3 Hops
PERSONAL COLLECTION BEERS
Russian River Pliny the Elder – so goddamn good. 4 Hops
Russian River Supplication – a just absolutely kickass sour. 4 Hops
New Belgium La Folie (Lips of Faith Series) – maybe the most tart and sour beer I’ve had. Backed up and balanced by the maltiness of the Brown ale backbone. 3.5 Hops
Bulldog Brewery Jaspers – another tasty Sour. Little brewery from Pennsylvania. I believe we had bottle 150 or so out of 300. 3 Hops.
Laughing Dog Dogfather – solid RIS, but like Old Viscosity, just hurt by the rest of the lineup. 3 Hops
Central Waters Peruvian Morning – solid coffee stout. 3 Hops
Alpine Pure Hoppiness – a pretty sick brew. Nice and piney DIPA. Good weed nose on this guy. 3.5 Hops
Three Floyds Gumballhead – not usually a Pale Wheat kind of guy, but these cats know what they’re doing. 3 Hops
Overall, Hunahpu Day gets 4 Hops and is definitely worthy of a visit…or a return visit.