Make Peace With The Mighty Turtle (A Guide To The Terrapin Brewery)

If the Terrapin brewery was a bar, it would be one of my favorites. Since that is apparently an illegal thing for it to be, it is not. It’s just pretty great.

There are some downsides. Let’s get those out of the way up top. The line is always the worst. Parking is insane. Most of the bands that play sound like what Hooty and the Blowfish must have sounded like the first time they rehearsed together. If it rains you’ll probably be drinking in a crowded tent like you’re at some kind of pioneer hoe down out on the trail.

But other than that, it is really a lovely time. The tours are actually pretty cool. All of your friends will bring their dogs, and nobody loves dogs more than heavy beer drinkers. Sometimes your friend’s band will probably play there, so you can say you’ve seen them play without having to actually pay to listen to their Nickelback/fun covers. If you’re into Frisbees in any capacity, they will be everywhere. Also beer. Like a lot of really good beer.

If you aren’t familiar with the unique procedure that local law puts in place, it might be a little confusing for a second. In the state of Georgia, brewers and other alcohol producers aren’t allowed to directly sell their wares to the public. They have to first sell to a licensed distributer. Wait, so how is Terrapin selling beer in their brewery? They are not. They are selling glasses. As a gift for purchasing one of their glasses, you will receive several tickets that may be redeemed for free tasting samples of whatever beer they happen to have on tap. The Sweetwater brewery in Atlanta runs a similar system, but with tours of the brewery rather than pint glasses. That strikes me as less useful in the long run. Most of my friends own no glassware other Terrapin pint glasses, which is a great way to combine your entertainment spending with your shopping for essential home goods. It does make visits from your parents kind of weird if there is nothing in your house that hasn’t ever contained beer, so keep that in mind.

Your allocation of those tickets can also get a little tricky, but is a weird kind of fun. You can turn in one ticket for a partial pour of anything, or you can turn in four for a full pour. The really high alcohol content brews are only available in the fractional amounts, so keep that in mind. How inconvenient that is depends on whether you’re there to actually taste the full range of our most popular local brewers product or to throw up on someone’s shoes. For the first goal, drink whatever. For the second, all quarter pours, stay in or close to the line for the beer at all times and drink Hopsecutioner or anything with an ABV higher than Hopsecutioner.

Terrapin is a decent distance away from most places, so make sure you have a designated driver. This is both for your safety and because there will be at least one cop car waiting by the exit looking for any wobbly vehicular operations. It’s not too much of a chore for your DD either. They’ll have plenty of fun enjoying what is essentially an outdoor music festival next to bar, and the brewer has always made a point of making it worth it to drive your sloshed friends home. They used to give you a wristband that could be redeemed for a free special edition version of the pint glass, but this system has been replaced with something more fun. Upon announcing your designation as driver, you’ll be given a tiny tasting cup and a couple of tickets. You’ll be able to sip a reasonable quantity of whatever beer you desire for completely free. Even in low amounts, free beer is hard to argue with.

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