SBJ/March 27-April 2, 2017/Facilities

SunTrust Park brew steeped in the game

The folks at Terrapin Beer Co. are taking the tradition of beer and baseball to the next level at new SunTrust Park in Atlanta, aging their newest India pale ale in a vat filled with baseball bat shavings.

Chopsecutioner, the new draft beer, is aged among maple bat chips shipped from Mizuno’s MLB bat factory overseas, said Terrapin co-founder and brewmaster Brian “Spike” Buckowski. The beer’s name combines Hopsecutioner IPA, Terrapin’s signature product, and the Chophouse, the outfield restaurant at the Braves’ ballpark.

Terrapin Beer Co. will produce a beer aged on baseball bat shavings at its ballpark location.
Photo by: ATLANTA BRAVES
The mashup is a collaboration between two Braves partners. Terrapin, the Athens, Ga.-based beermaker owned by MillerCoors, has a microbrewery and taproom on site. The Terrapin Taproom is part of the ballpark and has garage-style doors that open to the outdoor plaza facing The Battery Atlanta, the mixed-use district next door. Mizuno, whose U.S. headquarters are in Greater Atlanta, developed the Mizuno Experience Center, a sports equipment showroom in The Battery.

Buckowski came up with the
Photo by: DELAWARE NORTH SPORTSERVICE
idea of mixing beer and bat chips. He recognized Hopsecutioner’s 7.3 percent alcohol content could potentially be too heavy for many beer drinkers attending a ballgame on a typical 95-degree summer day in Atlanta. He created a lighter version with 5 percent alcohol content.

Buckowski still needed a hook and came up with the novel solution for aging the beer with wood chips gathered from the batmaking lathes at Mizuno’s factory.

“I’ve aged beer on all types of wood, so why not bat chips?” he said. “I talked to Mizuno and they were happy to give us their shavings. I didn’t want it to overpower the beer. It’s a nutty, fruity IPA.”

The aging is done in an open vessel for about 2 1/2 weeks on site in the ATL Brew Lab, which is part of the microwbrewery. Taproom patrons can view the process through a glass window, said Randy Collins, special projects manager for Braves concessionaire Delaware North Sportservice.

A 16-ounce Chopsecutioner sells for $5 in the Terrapin Taproom, which will be run by Sportservice and open seven days a week, including during Braves games. Inside the park, the same size runs $9.50, Sportservice district manager Shawn Mattox said.

The Braves open SunTrust Park for a March 30 exhibition. Atlanta’s first regular-season game is April 14.

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