ERIE, Pa. (AP) — Mercyhurst University senior Drew Spacht grew up in a beer-loving household.
His grandfather owned a beer distributor in North East. His father has been a home brewer for 15 years.
So, when he found out his school was growing fresh hops, he did what came natural.
He found a way to make beer.
Again and again.
Spacht, a 21-year-old biology major, recently bottled his third batch of 'Hurst Pale Ale in the kitchen of his parents' Harborcreek home.
He's expecting good results.
"I liked the second batch more than the first," Spacht said. "I've tweaked the recipe a little bit each time. I'm never totally satisfied with what I do."
He describes the beer as an "inviting" medium-bodied beer with a citrus aroma.
The first beer brewed by the Mercyhurst student was distributed to school administrators and professors in spring 2011.
"It was great," said biology professor Michael Elnitsky, who has been learning about the brewing process from Spacht and his father, Charles. "We organized a tasting for faculty and administrators. It was very tasty."
The Spachts handle the entire process of creating the pale ale together at their home, from brewing to fermenting to bottling.
Making beer has become a family activity for the Spachts -- except for Drew Spacht's mother, Penny, who avoids the process as much as possible because she's allergic to hops.
Charles Spacht said it has been interesting to brew with his son because the two seem to take very different approaches to the process.
Since he has been doing it as a hobby for 15 years, Charles Spacht said he has a handle on the "art" of brewing, but his son came in with a decidedly scientific perspective on the process.
Drew Spacht said that collaboration has helped him make a better beer.
He said the next level is involving others -- in the form of a campus club -- and making the process as sustainable and environmentally friendly as possible, in keeping with the university's sustainable farm in Girard where the hops are grown.
He said he hopes to find local artisan soap makers or someone else who can make use of the hops and other byproducts of the brewing process.
Drew Spacht said he's in the process of putting together a brewing club on campus.
"We're finding a lot of people wanting to do this," he said.
Information from: Erie Times-News, http://www.goerie.com