Ah, yes. The Huna variant that had me racing up to CCB over and over just to find that I was either too late, too early, or just plain there on the wrong day. Six trips and I came away with nothing. It was pretty frustrating to find out that people were walking with a case or more when I couldn’t seem to score a single fucking bottle. And finally I got lucky and got some on the last day that they were releasing them to Tampa peeps. So was it worth all that? Let’s find out.
The pour is… well, it’s Hunahpu. Huge mocha head, I’ll throw in the obligatory cliched motor oil comparison, and it looks like you could stand a spoon straight up in this bastard. Smells like barrel — or at least some barrel, I wouldn’t have guessed brandy, maybe whiskey of some sort. The cinnamon and spice of the base beer are nowhere to be found in the nose. The flavor has a bit of that upfront, but now the barrel is strangely muted. Plenty of vanilla and some peppery heat, and lots of cinnamon in the finish. It’s definitely a big beer, but doesn’t quite dominate your palate like previous Huna variants did.
Okay, it’s good. But other variants are better. I’d have to put this one below the ’11 and ’12 variants but better than regular Hunahpu. Specifically, ’12 Apple Brandy > Rum > Bourbon > Whiskey > Cali Brandy > regular Huna. Worth trading a bunch of shit for? Yes, without a doubt. It’s still better than 90% of the BA beers I’ve had. Go get you some.
On Sunday, I managed to convince Mrs. Asshole to come with me and bake in the heat while I stood and waited to join the first incarnation of Cigar City’s El Catador Club. This is CCB’s version of what other breweries like Crooked Stave and The Bruery have been doing — essentially you pay a lump sum ($120) upfront for a guaranteed five bottles of barrel-aged beer. Along with that you get first access to buy more bottles if available, discounts in the tasting room and brewpub, a t-shirt, and some other perks.
So this weekend was for the locals, with online memberships for poor out-of-staters to follow… soon. Since we were in Tampa for the day, naturally we took the opportunity to hit up Datz for brunch (I highly recommend this if you find yourself nearby) and stuff ourselves silly. The tap list was a bit of a letdown, but I did try CCB’s Gentlemen’s Club (the rye variant) and Engine 15’s Nut Sack brown ale (I couldn’t resist).
Once we got there, the line was manageable, but holy shit was it hot. Of course the line was set up on the side of the building facing the sun, so it made for even more face-melting fun. We got there fairly early, so we were only waiting for maybe an hour, but by the time we got close to the front everyone was sweating through their clothes and some looked like they were about to pass out. I grabbed an umbrella to protect my expectant better half but even she was dying out there (she’s a trooper though). Joey Redner was around handing out water bottles to everyone, which was a nice gesture.
Style: Fruit Beer
Kegged: May 2013
Size: 16oz glass (on tap)
Collaboration beer between CCB and Johnathan Wakefield from Miami. I absolutely love Wakefield’s berliners, but this one’s a bit different. It’s less on the tart side and more of a straightforward hoppy-yet-fruity beer. It looks like one of Wakefield’s for sure, cloudy like the keg has a UTI (or like a smoothie, whatever). But the sweet/tart aspect isn’t there. I think if you go into it without having had one of his you’d like it, but several people wanted it to be PFDF and it just isn’t. Reputations can be a pain sometimes.
Leading off Craft Beer Week with a new one from CCB. It seems like it’s been a really long time since we’ve had one of these: another huge barrel-aged beer from CCB. This time it’s a baltic porter — their batch 1000 release from last year — the nigh-unpronounceable Kalevipoeg, aged in bourbon barrels. Every time I order this at the tasting room it makes me sound like I have a mouthful of peanut butter and marbles, and maybe the bartender thinks I’m already half in the bag, so being able to shorten it to “Gates of Hell” is reason enough to buy a boatload of this.
Thankfully it’s also pretty damned good. Lots of barrel character, and thankfully it tamped down the anise that was so prominent in the original. Maybe a little thinner than their BA stouts (like almost every other beer) due to the base beer, but a solid offering and very worth chasing.
So this is the fifth year/batch 5 of this one, and this time it’s Puppy’s Breath, Hot Blooded, and a couple vintages of Warmer Winter Winter Warmer, aged in both cognac and apple brandy barrels. It’s the first recent beer outside of Hunahpu and ISO:FT where CCB put a limit on purchases (three bottles per person) that I know of, which was a little strange, but I guess there just wasn’t enough to go around.
It starts off a little hot, but then the barrels and WWWW take over. Layers of flavor include some nuttiness, toasted marshmallow, toffee, and vanilla. The barrels do an awesome job of accenting a flavor profile that I doubt I ever would’ve come up with. I absolutely love this beer — it’s a rare one that, after sending out most of what I have to trading partners, makes me trade with some locals to get more just for me to drink myself. Great stuff, and definitely worth seeking out.
Another “Florida-Weisse”, this’ll likely be on tap at the upcoming Berliner Bash in Gulfport on 4/20. Ten SoFla brewers bringing their best entries in the style to sample in the heat (and yes, it’s already getting fucking stifling hot down here — I miss CA this time of year). Light and a bit tart, with raspberry and/or lemon homemade syrup to flavor it (I chose both, and that turned out to be a winner). Unexpectedly awesome. It looked like shit, with tons of floaties, but tasted great.
Style: American Pale Ale
Growlered: Jan 19, 2013
Size: 32oz growler
First growler entry in the log, and it’s a pretty damned good one. My home town brewery, Cigar City here in Tampa, has a new lawnmower beer — Invasion Pale Ale. Weighing in at 5%, and with a chopped off finish like a gated snare, you can drink it all day. It’s hoppy without being a palate-destroyer, lots of flava like… I dunno, like something with lots of flava. Brewery-only and tap/growler-only for now, so get it while you can if you’re in the Bay Area.