This Friday sees a return of the Brewer of the Week series hereon Fuggled, and today we head up to Brookings in the state of South Dakota. I have to say that if South Dakota is anywhere near as beautiful as North Dakota, then I look forward to getting the opportunity to visit, and of course try some beer from today's interviewee!
Name: Luke Rensink
Brewery: Heist Brewing Company
How did you get into brewing as a career?
I was sick of drinking bad beer. I have always been a “Do it yourself” kind of person. I love to work with food and brewing is just an expansion of my passion for cooking. So I combined my desire to drink good beer, cook, learn, and create. I think I just thought it would be so much fun to start home brewing.
What is the most important characteristic of a brewer?
Motivation and passion. Creating a brewery from the ground up is not as easy as it might seem. Brewing is the easy part, getting through all the red tape is the hard part. You have to push yourself no matter what. You have to have the motivation and passion to put in the long hours.
Before being a professional brewer, did you homebrew? If so, how many of your homebrew recipes have you converted to full scale production?
I did start with home brewing and still do it. We are in the process of starting a brewery so have not converted any to full scale yet but we have about seven we will make the first year. Some all year around and some just for special occasions. I keep a bottle from every batch I have made and last year I made 21 different beers.
If you did homebrew, do you still?
What is your favorite beer that you brew?
I like making beers with a lot of different ingredients. So I like Making our Tea Off Ale, our Christmas spiced beer, and our dark beers the most.
If you have worked in other breweries, which other beer did you enjoy brewing, and why?
I have never worked in any other brewery but I have worked in several cheese factories which are surprisingly very similar to breweries.
Of the beers you brew, which is your favorite to drink?
It depends on the time of year. During the cold months I like our porter or amber ale and during the summer months nothing beats our Tea Off Ale.
How important is authenticity when making a new beer, in terms of flavor, ingredients and method?
I think that American brewers are not seeking to be authentic because American craft beer drinkers want something new and innovative. While we do have some classics we like to take classic styles and put a twist on them. We like to be true to our ingredients and methods. The process of brewing hasn’t changed a whole lot over the thousands of years; it is still the same basic concept. Turn starches to sugars; boil with hops, ferment, and drink. However, Technology and creativity have taken off in the past 20 years paving a way for many great beers to come.
If you were to do a collaborative beer, which brewery would you most like to work with and why?
Brau Brothers in Lucan, MN they are our neighboring brewery, they are great people and they make some great beer.
Which beer, other than your own, do you wish you had invented?
Lost Continent double IPA. One of the best beers I’ve ever had.