Friday, April 12, 2013

Rule #1, Don't fall in love at Beerfest

Like Ronnie says about the Jersey Shore, just don't fall in love there. Don't. I won't talk about that topic any more but you should consider that wise advice.

As far as I can recall I've never been to Tampa, Florida. As fate would fall, I was there twice in two weeks during the spring of 2013. As luck would have it, one of those weeks was Tampa's Craft Beer Week.

It's Saturday morning of Cigar City's Hunahpu fest, the "must attend" "highlight event" of the beer week. Served there is Cigar City's limited quantity Hunahpu brew, considered by some to be the best beer made in the state of Florida. I ignored all of this by waking up and throwing on clothes for a quick jog. My companions said they're going to Ybor for shopping- did I want to go? I didn't, I said. I wanted to sit by the pool.

I came back from the jog and they were still doing their hair. Flopping on the hotel chair, I checked twitter. Untappd noted something along the lines of, "We're following Hunahpu all day! Check out the action!"

I knew Hunahpu was taking place. I sighed and stated, "Oh, this big beer thing... I'm so envious."

"Oh this big beer thing? Where is it?"

"It's a widely sought Cigar City beer and a big festival, here in Tampa actually. I knew it was happening but didn't plan for it because I didn't quite understand the magnitude of the event."

"Well how about we go?"

"How about we go?" It was 10:30. "Maybe you don't understand. People have been in line for this beer for hours. Hours."

"Is it free? Do you need tickets?"

"Yeah, it's free to get in, you just pay for what you drink..."

"So why hesitate? Let's try and if it's awful we leave."

Me, thinking. "I'm not showered." This goes down in worst excuses in my life.

"Shower, then." Thankfully they were not taking any of my crap.


I showered. We drove. We parked, easily. We got in line, easily. We got wristbands to get our very own bottles of Hunahpu, easily. I was lost in the crowd of beer aficionados from all over the country. I was happy, easily.

The t-shirts at this shindig were incredible. There were t-shirts of breweries I know and love; t-shirts of breweries I dream of visiting; t-shirts of beer I envy; and t-shirts of places I've never been to and never knew existed. On top of that, there were t-shirts with fantastic slogans on them. For an unknown reason, I was ardently keeping a log of "the good ones" on my twitter. I do need to learn that Twitter is not dear-diary.

In dog beers, I've only had one.
Beer is your friend.
Craft Beer. It's not alcoholism it's a hobby.
City that never sleeps NYC.
Global Warming
Beer & Birds
I got it in the bunghole
Keep Calm and Brew On
Beer Speaks, People Mumble
Get your hands on a blonde.
I'd tap that
Will sell wife for beer.
Sparty On.
I find your lack of beer disturbing.
It's okay pluto, I'm not a planet either.
Bier Polzei

The most commonly seen t-shirt related to a specific beer was for Pliny the Elder.

The Hunahpu festival itself was a crazy beer exchange festival that I was emotionally unprepared for. I was abruptly pulled into a conversation that forced me to declare if I were on team Lannister or not. A dude in an All-Star Beer Pong t-shirt shared with me a no-longer produced beer just because I was curious about the label. Others were offering bottles from their local region as a swap for something from another's region. I was completely unprepared for everything that was taking place.

Including the line. Oh, the line for the Hunahpu bottles. I rightfully heard one girl state, "If you require me to start this line over again I'll cut you." But each person with a wristband was guaranteed three bottles. I waited patiently, drank a spicy jalapeno beer, acquired the bottles, wrapped them securely, worried anxiously through baggage check, and rejoiced gleefully when I realized they survived the trip from Tampa to Pittsburgh. So delicious, and mostly because of the company that was able to enjoy it with me back in the snowy Keystone State.


Jeffrey Smith said... for the "craft beer: it's not alcoholism, it's a hobby" shirt!

Jeffrey Smith said...

Thanks for the mention!