It’s not every day a new Major League Baseball ballpark opens, so we’re celebrating the occasion with a series of stories about what fans can expect from SunTrust Park, new home of the Atlanta Braves. We begin the series with a look at the beer and beverage offerings at SunTrust Park.
Those who attend games at SunTrust Park this year can expect much more than baseball to be on tap. While there are many new features to look forward to at the new home of the Atlanta Braves, one of the most notable offerings will be the amount of unique alcoholic beverages available at the ballpark.
Starting with a non-traditional baseball offering, SunTrust Park will feature signature cocktails. One of the most notable is Braves Bramble, which features bourbon, smoked rosemary, blackberry syrup, topped with lemon-lime soft drink. Braves Bramble will be available at the Coopers’ Craft Bourbon Bar, located on the first-base side of the terrace level at SunTrust Park.
As with any ballpark, however, SunTrust Park will have more than its fair share of beer. Between the adjacent Battery Atlanta and the ballpark, Braves fans will have plenty of options to choose from.
In Battery Atlanta, one of the more notable developments is the Yard House. A California-based sports bar chain, Yard House is opening a location near SunTrust Park that will include more than 130 beers, a lineup that will feature at least 37 brews made in Georgia.
Chopsecutioner: Beer Aged With Wood From Bat Chips
Perhaps the most notable development, however, is that of the offerings from Terrapin Brewing Co. As announced last fall, Terrapin is opening a taproom at SunTrust Park feature its signature beers. Adjacent to the taproom is ATL Brew Lab, a place that will allow fans to taste exclusive beers, while giving Terrapin the opportunity to test new recipes.
“This is basically our pilot batch,” Brian “Spike” Buckowski, Terrapin Beer Company co-founder and vice president of brewing development, said of the offerings in the brew lab.“All the pilot beers will be coming out of the brew lab, and then scaled up at the big brewery.”
Terrapin is based in Athens, and its main operation is a 100-barrel brew house that produces approximately 85,000 barrels, which far exceeds the five-barrel operation at SunTrust Park that will lead to about 1,000 barrels. At its SunTrust Park operation, however, Terrapin plans to offer several distinct beers. Among those are the Sun-ray Wheat, and two baseball-themed offerings—On Deck, a tropical-style IPA, and Swing Batter Brown Ale.
As Buckowski explained, the brown ale was inspired in part by the collaboration with Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q, which will be available at the taproom. “We did a brown ale because we’re teaming with Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q,” he said, “and we thought a brown ale would be tasty with some BBQ.”
Perhaps the most distinct offering, however, is the Chopsecutioner. One of Terrapin’s signature beers is the Hopsecutioner, a 7.3% ABV IPA. Building on the success of Hopsecutioner, Terrapin is introduction the Chopsecutioner.
Chopsecutioner has a few distinct elements. Firstly, it is a lower alcohol beer than Hopsecutioner, which Buckowski believes will make it more compatible for SunTrust Park. “If you go to a baseball game, especially in the hot Georgia sun, and drink two Hopsecutioners at 7.3% ABV, that’ll put you down.” Chopsecutioner comes in at an ABV 5%, and goes through a unique process in which is aged over wood chips.
The wood chips are remnants from the production from Mizuno bats. Mizuno, which has a partnership with the Braves, was brought into the partnership as Terrapin was trying to figure out a distinct process for the creation of Chopsecutioner. “When we sat down to figure out how to make this different from the Hopsecutioner, the idea of aging the beer over wood came up,” Buckowski explained. “That was basically the home run, if you will, to say hey, how cool would it be to make this beer on wood chips from baseball bats.”
According to Buckowski, the process of brewing Chopsecutioner will take about 21 days. It will begin with a fermentation process that lasts five to seven days, followed by an aging process over the bat chips that will take two weeks.
Chopsecutioner could emerge as staple at SunTrust Park, providing both the Braves and Terrapin with a unique offering. However, Buckowski—who said that Terrapin is currently available in 15 states, stretching as far north as the Philadelphia area—foresees the brewery’s presence at the ballpark and the year-round operation of The Battery Atlanta as providing a platform for success. “It is also open year-round, so not only will we have Braves games, but also for events that aren’t Braves games, people can drink Terrapin. I think we’re going to get a lot of exposure to markets where we’re not available, and this will put us on a big stage where people can buy our beer.”
Over the long run, SunTrust Park could help to familiarize more people with Terrapin’s offerings. “Even though we are in places like Philadelphia, some people have never tried our beer,” Buckowski said. “If there’s Braves fans, or any baseball fans for the matter, coming in, they will be able to sample our beer, which is really exciting.”