I always try to keep MikeLovesBeer.com light hearted. While I seriously do love craft beer I try to keep things fun and not up tight. I mean I’m not making any money off of this thing. And after the events of this weekend I’m not changing a thing. A matter of fact this particular writing will be extremely light hearted.
For those of you that don’t follow me close enough this past weekend was Hunahpu’s Day at Cigar City Brewing in Tampa, FL. Of course this is to celebrate the second annual release of Hunahpu’s Imperial Stout.
On Friday myself along with friend Casey, Ian and Tony packed into Phil and Kelly’s Honda Pilot to make the trek. Then came stir crazy four hours of motorcycle gangs being pulled over on the turnpike, Evil Phil jokes and Casey’s tofu sandwiches. But we survived and arrived at Phil’s parents’ house which would be our base of operations (or should it be hoperations) for the weekend.
After a night of Cuban food and two cool beer bars (reviews on those to come) we kept Friday night as low key as we could. But when Dirty Dos is making an appearance how low key can you be?
But we escaped Friday without any hangovers and were up bright and early Saturday to head over to the brewery. Arriving sometime between 8:30 and 9:00 am the line was already slightly over 100 people. With many friends already in line, including Cesar being the first person in line, we stacked our claim on a spot waiting for the 11:00 am opening.
Once the gates opened I will say some hell broke loose. A table with CCB merchandise along with bottles, specialty growlers and credit card Hunahpu pre-orders were bombarded. It seemed the line was not moving at all for almost 30 minutes until an employee with a mega phone came out and broke the one line down into two, one for credit and the other cash. Things then started to move more smoothly and this was really the only problem I encountered all day.
After paying for my bottles and getting my growlers it was time for some beers! With probably close to 100 different beers from CCB and other local breweries including Funky Buddha, Peg’s Cantina, Dunedin and many more on tap the options we incredibly deep. Add in the bottle shares that were taking place and this could be a beer lovers dream (or nightmare if you didn’t pace yourself).
Probably my favorite beer of the ones for sale was a Dragonfruit Berliner Weisse that was made by a Florida home brewer on Cigar City’s pilot system. Very light in body. Fruity, tart and so refreshing.
Numerous local food establishments were there including the famous Taco Bus that was featured on an episode of Diners, Drive Ins and Dives. I treated myself to a Redneck Salad from local BBQ joint called Swino’s. The heart attack waiting to happen was french fries, pull pork, cheese sauce and jalapeños. I added some tangy BBQ sauce to make it a lovely lunch.
The key throughout the day was to stay hydrated. Though the temperatures were nice (high 70s) the sun was beating down on you all day. Couple that with lots of beer and you could easily get dehydrated and seriously reconsider your weekend plans. But luckily myself and many of my friends stuck to this plan and drank plenty of water and stayed in the shade all day. Some unfortunately did not and we’ll get to that later.
Some more insanity began in the tasting room around 4:45 pm as it was announced that Jolly Guava would be tapped at 5:00 pm. This brew is a treatment of their Guava Grove in a Jolly Pumpkin barrel. The bar got extremely crowded with chants of “Jolly Guava” and “Barris” breaking out. Yes, Tom Barris himself had a chant of his name start. With the employees of CCB teasing the beer for a good 15 minutes it was finally handed out after a traditional countdown from 10.
Then just an hour later the brewery became flocked with crowds of people to pick up their Hunahpu’s allotments. Knowing my bottles were guaranteed to me I decided to stay away from that area. Instead opting to hang out under the tents with the bottle shares.
A simple 40 minutes later I went over to get my bottles and was able to walk right to the table and get my bottles. No wait, no hassle.
This is the point where the festivities completely changed. Many people left after getting their bottles. For those that hung around you could clearly make out the ones that were having a good time and those that were having a really good time.
It was around this time that I pretty much cut myself off, minus a few bottles that were opened and I needed to try. I felt fine and with a few hours would be completely fine to drive us instead of having to drop money on a cab.
Ian and I took a walk around the place and ended up in the tasting room which thinned out a good deal. We talked with our good friend Tom Barris some more as he continued to sling beers behind the bar. Then we decided that we wanted to play darts. Tom’s night took a turn at this point.
When we could not find the darts we inquired with Tom who said they weren’t allowing people to play that day. Then we noticed that there were no barstools around the bar and asked about getting some of those to relax at the bar. Again Tom let us know they weren’t coming out that day either. We continued to pester Tom including sending him texts, Facebook messages and voicemails asking where the darts and barstools were. We even got to the point of sending other friends in to ask him or send him texts. Thankfully Tom can take a joke and didn’t come after us on a break trying to throw the darts into Ian I’s eyes.
Needless to say it was about time to leave but with a large group that can never be easy to do. Ed Roberts was to stay with us that night and finding him became a task. But then when found trying to keep a pretty drunk Ed Roberts around was even more difficult. I grabbed the car and pulled right up to the fence of the festival. Eventually everyone got in and it was time to just go grab some dinner.
Phil chose Beef O Brady’s as the dinner spot for it’s simplicity and location close to his parents’ house. There is really not much to mention about this other than the pure entertainment that was Ed Roberts.
Upon arriving we all just walked up to the door as any normal person would do when arriving at a restaurant. But this night Ed was no normal person. He proceeded to open the hatch of the SUV and grab his inflatable mattress. When questioned as to why he was doing this his answer was “This is the hotel we are staying at right?”
The next 45 minutes involved Ed’s constant rotation of going to the bathroom and going outside to call his wife. He did sit at the table we had for probably a grand total of 2 minutes. After an underwhelming meal we left and decided to call it a night.
Back at the base Ed decided immediately to go to sleep on an antique couch that we were told has a bad leg on it and could possibly collapse if someone slept on it. Phil, not being so evil at this time of day, took the initiative of inflating Ed’s mattress and taking it to the spare room he would be in. He then took Ed and escorted him back to the room.
End of story right? Happily ever after? Not quite.
We did all make it to sleep and then in the morning everyone gradually started waking up. We sat in the living room and conversed including Ian telling us of the sounds of someone trying to open the door of the room he was in during the middle of the night.
Then Ed arose from a room that he was not suppose to be sleeping in. It was actually the room with the antique couch that he tried sleeping on the night before. He told us that he got up in the middle of the night and got lost trying to find a bathroom. Then just went to sleep on the couch. He had no knowledge that he was actually sleeping in another room and that Phil put him there. This started the morning off with some great laughs.
So after some showers we grabbed some breakfast then packed our stuff and headed home. Phil’s parents were extremely inviting and very awesome for allowing all of us to crash throughout their house all weekend.
The festivities of Hunahpu’s Day was a blast. Awesome beers all around you with even more incredible people to share them with. If you were there then I hope you had a great time, I certainly did. If you weren’t there then I’m sorry but you missed one for the ages.
All pictures taken by Ian from Fresh Beer Inc.