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Monday, Feb. 14, 2011

Sprecher’s Beer-Flavored Kettle Chips

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Sprecher Brewing Co. and the Riverwest snack manufacturer Bradley Industries spent the better part of a year testing recipes when they teamed up to create a beer-flavored kettle chip, experimenting with Sprecher’s different beers to perfect the taste. Their early goal was to concoct a chip with a strong beer flavor, but the process of dehydrating beer for the chips made that difficult.

“When you dehydrate beer, alcohol is the first thing that volatilizes,” explains Sprecher President Jeff Hamilton. “What you end up with is the part of the beer that isn’t liquid—all those fine particles of constituents that you never usually see in beer because they’re completely dissolved. We were looking for a way to make that powder more flavorful, but we found that dehydrating the beer makes the flavor a lot milder. We tried making the powder from some really dark beers—we even tried unfiltered dark beer—but we found that even that didn’t make any appreciable change.”

They ultimately decided that using the brewery’s Special Amber beer resulted in the best-tasting chip. The end product, Sprecher Beer Flavored Kettle Chips, doesn’t overwhelm with its signature ingredient the way a jalapeño kettle chip does. The beer accent is mild, complementing the potato chips’ primary sweet/salty flavor.

The chips are available at Nehring’s Sendik’s, Blain’s Farm and Fleet and other area retailers, as well as at the Sprecher gift shop in Glendale, which also sells Sprecher mustards and barbecue sauces. Hamilton says he’s open to expanding the brewery’s product and condiment line in the future.

“We’ve had some other people create products made from our beers and sodas,” Hamilton says. “That’s how we find these items; people fool around with our syrups, then bring the idea to us. We recently had a lady bring us a root-beer jelly, which is pretty interesting. We don’t know how we’d package it, but it’s actually very tasty.”