As a young landscaper in the 1980s, Luke Purcell was thumbing the pages of a Farmers’ Alamance in search of a seasonal weather forecast, when he stumbled onto an ad for a brew kit. It was a decade before home brewing consumed suburban hobbyists and long before local microbrews challenged the likes of Budweiser, Miller and Coors.
But Luke took to the craft quickly. He enjoyed it, and he was good. He learned to balance unique flavors and bring out the better qualities of hops, roasts, malts, fruit and spice – something the national brewers willfully ignored.
A few years later, the fledgling Great Lakes Brewing Company brought Luke on to help grow their business. He attended the prestigious Siebel Institute of Technology in Chicago and later in Germany, where he became certified in brewing technology from the 150-year-old institution. It was a time when Great Lakes broke through the clutter and emerged as an industry leader.
Luke progressively advanced through the company and helped elevate the brand to national status. By 2016, he found a new opportunity with Collision Bend Brewing Company, which had just begun construction in Cleveland’s reimagined Flats District.
It was there that Luke advanced his craft to the next level. Today, he works closely with chefs to brew beers that complement specific menu items, while chefs develop food that highlights the beer. It’s a symbiotic relationship between brewmaster and chef that few microbreweries have embraced, let alone accomplished with any real success.
For Luke, Collision Bend is much more than great beer with a kitchen. It’s an immersive experience in pairing menu items in ways that rival the wines of French Cuisine. The rustic California street food of Collision Bend blends perfectly with Luke’s brews and changes constantly to match new tastes that flow fresh from the copper kettles.
A father to two sons, Luke lives in Cleveland. He enjoys baseball, camping and brewing new flavors of beer.