History of Hunahpu's Day
Sure, you’ve heard of Hunahpu’s Imperial Stout and the festival built around the beer’s release, but do you know the history of the beer and the significance it holds to Cigar City Brewing? Come join us on a journey into the Hero Myth of Hunahpu’s Imperial Stout!
Initially released to celebrate CCB’s first anniversary in 2010, Hunahpu’s Imperial Stout has become one of craft beer’s most coveted beers, with thousands of beer devotees traveling to Tampa each March for Hunahpu’s one-day release. Hunahpu’s begins life as an 11.2% ABV Imperial Stout boasting strong notes of espresso and dark chocolate. After fermentation, cacao nibs, vanilla beans, and cinnamon are blended with ancho, pasilla, and guajillo chile peppers and the beer is recirculated over these adjunct ingredients. The resulting beer finds the perfect balance between sweet milk chocolate flavors, spice-derived complexity, and a Scoville heat that’s slow building but never overwhelming. CCB Brewmaster Wayne Wambles named his mole-inspired beer after Hunahpu, one of the Hero Twins in Mayan mythology, as a nod to the beer’s Central American afflatus. Accolades followed immediately, resulting in appearances on RateBeer, Untappd, and BeerAdvocate lists of all-time highest rated beers in the world.
Wambles and Cigar City Brewing’s Founder and CEO Joey Redner were so taken aback by the Stout’s reception among the craft beer community after its inaugural release that they dubbed the beer’s release “Hunahpu’s Day.”
“The event grew very organically around the release of this phenomenal beer,” said Neil Callaghan, Brand Manager for Cigar City Brewing. “The time, energy, and raw materials that go into brewing Hunahpu’s Imperial Stout have essentially necessitated a once-yearly release, despite exceedingly high demand. Joey and Wayne’s feeling was if we can only release this beer that people really love once a year, let’s throw a party around its release!”
CCB invited several out-of-state brewery friends to pour their beer at Hunahpu’s Day in 2012, and thus lit the spark for a full-scale beer festival and celebration.
What began as several kegs from breweries like Indiana’s 3 Floyds being served alongside Hunahpu’s Imperial Stout in the CCB Tasting Room quickly grew to a world-class beer festival bringing together thousands of craft beer enthusiasts and dozens of brewers from around the world to celebrate the release of Hunahpu’s. The event grew exponentially from year to year, necessitating larger venues, more beer, and the inclusion of local food vendors. Hunahpu’s Day 2019 proved to be one of Cigar City Brewing’s most successful event ever, with more than 4,000 attendees enjoying rare beer from more than 170 breweries that sent beer from Florida, California, Mexico, Denmark, Russia, and everywhere in between.
CCB is celebrating the 11th anniversary of Hunahpu’s Day by introducing two brand new versions of Hunahpu’s Imperial Stout available only to higher level ticket holders.
“We are bringing some additional Mayan deities to the party with two versions of Hunahpu’s Imperial Stout available exclusively with higher level tickets,” said Micki Bell, Special Events Manager for Cigar City Brewing. “Alom’s Imperial Stout, which is rested on Spanish cedar, lends sandalwood and cracked black pepper notes to the beer, and Xmucane’s (sha-MOO-canes) Imperial Stout, a version of Hunahpu’s that utilizes hazelnuts and coffee, are bringing new complexity to this renowned beer. Neither have been released ever before, and we couldn’t be more excited to share these beers with Hunahpu’s attendees.”