Mercyhurst brewing begins

Sarah Hlusko photo: Spacht and his father work together to make their own beer.Sarah Hlusko photo: Spacht and his father work together to make their own beer.

Like it or not, alcohol is an integral part of collegiate life. While many may see a negative connotation of drinking, not all of those who consume the drink are only interested in its effect.

Drew Spacht is a brewer of beer, and is looking for beer enthusiasts for a Beer Appreciation club. The club would require aspiring members be at least 18 years old, and have an appreciation for the art of beer, not just the consumption.

Spacht has a history in beer.

His grandfather owned a beer distributor, and his father taught him how to brew the beverage. His father not only gave Spacht the skill of making the drink, but also his appreciation for it.

“I learned [brewing] from my old man,” Spacht said.

One of Spacht’s newest creations, the ’Hurst Pale Ale, is a Mercyhurst-inspired American pale ale, with an Irish character to it.

However, Spacht is not the only brewer on campus. In fact, senior intelligence major Thomas Frank has entered his beer in several competitions, with most recent achievement placing second in the Southern New England Regional Competition. Frank taught himself how to brew by reading online and in books. Frank, however, was inspired by family visits to breweries around the country.

He is also trying to become a certified beer judge. How beer is judged at competitions is set by guidelines such as the style of beer, aroma and other characteristics. This allows for the beer to be judged fairly, attempting to cut out personal preference as much as possible.

Spacht and Frank are working to create a club for people like them, those who have a more than just an interest for beer.

Spacht gave his idea for candidates and said, “What I would really hope people have if they want to join this club is a respect, an appreciation and even so far as a passion for beer.”

Members of the club would be involved in brewing beer, learning the history of beer and possibly the sharing of recipes. Mercyhurst would not be the first university to have a club like this, schools such as Rutgers University and Richmond University in London have clubs of the same style.

Spacht outlined some possible rules for the club.

The legal age to brew beer is 18. Although members of the club, while able to produce the drink, would not be able to consume what the club makes until they reach the legal alcohol consumption age.

Spacht would also like for the club to be sustainable. This means the club would recycle any materials they can, trying to limit unnecessary cost.

Another important issue is future leadership.

Sarah Hlusko photo: Spacht poses with lastest batch of the ’Hurst Pale Ale.Sarah Hlusko photo: Spacht poses with lastest batch of the ’Hurst Pale Ale.

While he is willing to lead the club in its first year, Spacht is graduating this year, and needs future members to be willing to become leaders in the years after he leaves.

While the founders have a clear vision of what they would like the club to be, they still need the support of the student body to make this a reality. Students and staff interested should email Spacht at or contact him on Facebook.