Great American Beer Festival Q&A: Sprecher Brewing Company

The Great American Beer Festival, the nation's largest, staggers into the Colorado Convention Center this weekend. Last year, 46,000 attendees sampled nearly 3,000 beers, and this year's Fest is already sold out. Check Cafe Society through the week for survival tactics and beer recommendations from some of the breweries bringing their wares to Denver.

Sprecher Brewing Company: Milwaukee, Wisconsin Q&A with Vice President and General Manager Jeff Hamilton

Started in 1985 by a former Pabst brewing supervisor, Sprecher operates out of an old elevator car factory in an old beer city. They are a fixture at GABF, winning a pair of gold medals, for brewmaster of the year and small brewery of the year, at the 2004 Fest. Sprecher is also known for its root beer, but who cares about that?

Westword:If people only try one of your beers, which should it be? Jeff Hamilton: Black Bavarian. It's kind of a signature beer for us, and it's a style not a lot of people do. It's a black lager.

WW: What is the best thing about the Great American Beer Festival? JH: Being with other people in the industry and talking to other people about what's going on in the industry. It's a celebration of the industry.

WW: What is the best way to avoid liver damage at this year's Festival? JH: Milk thistle.

WW: If you were stranded on a desert island and could only drink one beer for the rest of your life, what would it be? JH: Somebody's IPA, I don't know whose. Maybe a double IPA.

WW: What prizes do you think you have a good chance of winning this year? JH: We entered 16 different beers. I think we have a good chance of winning several. We've come home with ten medals and we've come home with nothing. All of our beers stands a chance. All of our beers have placed there at some point.

WW: What should people know about your brewery? JH: That we're one of the oldest small breweries in the United States, and we have one of the widest ranges of styles, from very, very light right on up through high alcohol whiskey barrel beer and barley wine. Our range is probably what most people wouldn't know about.

KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Kiernan Maletsky is Westword's music editor. His writing has appeared in alt-weeklies around the country as well as Miley Cyrus's mom's Twitter feed.
Contact: Kiernan Maletsky