Luke Cole was the second brewer brought on and has inadvertently convinced many to adopt his phrase “Right on” — he’s just that cool.
What do you do at Rhinegeist?
I run the JV [old system] and work in the barrel world. The barrel world is really two different entities, we have the fresh aging, bourbon and wine barrels, and then the basement, sours. It’s cool to see how we’re slowly shifting out of the experimental phases. I’m super stoked about Sherry Ink [Sherry barrel aged Ink]* which going into bombers for an expected fall limited release.
What’s your brewing background?
I started brewing in 2006 at Rock Bottom. My background is in engineering and so when I started there I’d help fix things. Then Mitch, now the head brewer at Ei8htBall in Newport, KY and a total mentor of mine, told me to tag along. I started cleaning kegs — I mean, that’s how we all started.
Right on, right on.
What did you have for breakfast?
Bagel that was from Sunday out of the taproom cooler (as he flashes a big smile).
What do you look forward to doing most every day?
I don’t know if I can answer that directly…but lately I’ve felt that everyone’s departments are flowing really well, all the gears are coming together. I f*cking love coming to work — it’s like doing my hobby all the time. I’ve definitely been seeing a lot of smiles around here lately.
What’s the best part of your personality?
Who is your favorite person on the team?
Jim Matt [our head brewer]. A main reason is his management style. Ever since the beginning he’s treated me like an equal. More of a friend relationship than a boss and I know we all really appreciate that.
So Pure Fury was your recipe, correct?
What was the inspiration behind it?
Pure fury is a summation of my teachings from Jim and Mitch. The malt bill was very Mitch-inspired and the hopping is from Jim.
So a slot came open on our production schedule and Jim said this one was all mine, the hops and malts of my choice. I spent a few weeks writing the recipe of what I wanted to taste. First, it was a 40 barrel batch and my parents came down to hang with me during the process. We then brewed it at 80 BBL, liked it again, and decided the next time around to put it into cans.
What’s something about you most people don’t know?
I’m a ginger! I don’t have much hair anymore, it all migrated.
How would you describe the brewing squad and production team?
All rock stars — looking around me all rock stars. From the bar staff to those cleaning tanks, everyone knows what they’re doing and how it works. I feel like I’m surrounded by rock stars and cool people. That’s what makes this place tick the way it does.
On average how many times do you sing in the shower per week?
I don’t really know, but if I did sing in the shower it would be Ace of Spades by Motorhead — right on, right on.
What’s your favorite Rhinegeist beer?
I can’t say a favorite, but Fiction is in my top three and I’m not even sure what the other two would be. Fiction [Belgian XPA] is unique and there’s something really special about it. It’s one of my favorite beers in the whole world and I think it’s us at our best.
Also, Peach Dodo Gose — we worked so hard on it and this Gose is super delicious. The balance of salt and tart and graininess and the combination of all of it, we worked hard to make that sh*t. That’s Pat and I working hard and banging heads and turning gears to make it work.
What’s your best dish in the kitchen?
Honestly, I make a great bowl of cereal. I’ve got the cereal to milk ratio down — old school Kix are my go-to.
Fried bologna on butternut bread.
Do you have a piece of apparel you wear the most?
Yes, yes, yes, my Rhinegeist furry side-flap hat. I don’t even think we sold them! There was one box thrown down in the taproom and they were gone by the end of the workday.
Penguin — I like the way they waddle, right on.
Where does the beauty of the brewery lie for you?
Bob and Bryant and the culture that’s been developed; everyone here is awesome. I love the beer we make and I’ve got a lot of pride in all of this, we all do. We make good stuff and work with happy people.