Derek Luke

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What’s your current position at your brewery, and how did you get started in the craft brewing industry?

I am brewmaster/owner of Coastal Extreme Brewing Co. [brewer of Newport Storm beer] in Newport, R.I. I love beer, and as a science major in college was fascinated by the chemistry that goes into making it. I started homebrewing and kept asking questions and then paired up with some of my more business-minded college friends to start the Newport Storm Brewery in 1999.

What’s new at your brewery?

We’ve got two awesome limited release beers coming out. Our annual limited release ’10 will be a total surprise for your mouth. It is a super hoppy beer that is black as night. When you look at it, you’ll think dark roasted flavors from the malt, but when you taste it, it is all about the Fuggle hop. Our annual Limited Release Series is a fun opportunity for us to make a unique, bottle-conditioned “big beer.” The ’10’ rings in at 12.1% abv, 74 IBU and 148 SRM, and will be out at Thanksgiving. Cyclone Series Porter is absolutely going to be the favorite holiday beer this winter. It is a spiced ale with hints of nutmeg, clove, allspice and vanilla. Its 7.5% abv takes off the winter chill. Adding just enough hops to keep it balanced makes it a holiday party in your mouth. Look for it to hit the shelves the week before Christmas.

What’s the best part of being a part of the craft brewing community?

The support from other brewers. Unlike some industries where everyone keeps stuff a secret, whenever I have a question I know I’ve got 10 other brewmasters who will give me their absolute best answer. I would not want to work in any other industry.

What do you like to do in your time away from the brewery?

I keep the “Storm” theme going by throwing my energy into anything weather related—big surf under my board, gale-force wind in my kite, and blizzard moguls under my skis.

 What’s your favorite food and beer pairing?

I once had the Newport Storm ’05, which was a cocoa-raspberry concoction of deliciousness, paired with an ooey, gooey raspberry chocolate tart. It blew my mind.

What’s your biggest accomplishment unrelated to your job?

I am still kicking. Lots of close calls from pushing the envelope, but I am still here!

 What’s your favorite beer that your brewery does not produce?

I have a favorite brewery, not a favorite beer. I really admire the Harpoon Brewery—the way they work together and the way they help others out. All their people rock. Their Munich Dark is my favorite.

What’s the most memorable travel destination at which you’ve had a chance to sample the local beer?

It has to be the legendary surprise trip set up by my business partner, Brent Ryan, to San Francisco. He instructed us to clear our schedules and meet him at the RI airport and then arranged for us to sample the West Coast’s finest brews for the weekend with all our friends and family.

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