As the Atlanta Braves get ready to take on the San Diego Padres in their first game at the newly constructed SunTrust Park this Friday, an Athens-based beer company (that’s Athens, Georgia, not Greece) is also gearing up to debut a bat-infused beer that will be sold exclusively at the stadium. A bat-infused beer? Well, it sounds better than a used jock strap or an old glove. Terrapin Beer Company’s Chopsecutioner IPA-a twist on its Hopsecutioner IPA and a nod to the tomahawk chop-is aged on wood chips from Mizuno baseball bats (Mizuno is, fittingly, the “the Official Baseball Gear Partner of the Atlanta Braves”).
The chips, according to Terrapin co-founder Brian Buckowski, are left over from the bat-carving process, so Terrapin’s brewing method is both an act of sustainability and a natural outgrowth of a brand partnership. So what does it taste like? You’ll have to go to SunTrust Park to sample it yourself, but Matt Snyder, a CBS Sports writer, was able to procure a growler of the stuff, and he was impressed. “My verdict is that it’s very good,” he writes. “It’s a lighter IPA with a great flavor.”
It’s lighter by intention, Buckowski told Snyder, since Atlanta summers can get hot and so stronger beers may be harder to stomach over the course of a baseball game, which can run up to four hours. “When I’m sitting in the hot sun watching a baseball game, 7.3 percent alcohol beer is pretty tough,” Buckowski explained, “especially if you have a couple.”
As Jelisa Castrodale points out, Terrapin isn’t the first company to infuse its beer with bat wood. Homefront IPA, a 2011 collaboration between Center of the Universe Brewing and Fremont Brewing, was infused with whole Louisville Slugger bats, which sounds like moe of a novelty than a viable brewing method.
Whether the Mizuno bat chips drastically change the taste of the beer is up for debate. It isn’t clear which of Mizuno’s bat chips Terrapin is using in the brewing process, though it would be a safe bet to say they’re maple, given that the majority of Mizuno’s wooden bats are made from the wood (others are made from beech and bamboo). But apparently maple is a pretty hard wood, which means it isn’t that absorptive, so it might not add that much flavor.