From the stills in the Ozark Mountains to the intense production environments of Abita and Diamond Bear breweries, Charles Kling brings a lifetime of experience distilling, fermenting, and brewing to Old Bust Head Brewing Company.

Charles grew up on a farm in the Ozark Mountains where, from a young age, he learned to brew his own wine, beer, and spirits from the local folk who maintained a few stills up in the hills where they have been perfecting the art for generations.

Charles was serious about the craft, and it wasn’t long before he was restless to leave his small community and take his brewing to the next level. So, at 25, he packed up everything he had learned from the old timers and headed to Davis, CA for the American Brewers Guild certification program.

Charles got his first taste of commercial brewing as an apprentice in the Tacoma, WA brewpub scene, and landed his first professional brewing job soon thereafter at Abita Brewing Co. in Abita Springs, LA. At Abita, Charles handled over 1,250 batches annually in an intense production environment affectionately referred to as ‘Brewing Boot Camp.' His training, excellent palate, and unique life experiences enabled him to quickly work his way up from ‘lowly cellar rat’ to lead shift supervisor in record time.

Four years and over 5,000 batches later, Charles left Abita to take on the role of General Manager/Brew Master at Diamond Bear Brewing in Little Rock, AR. In Little Rock, he reworked old recipes, dialed in old and new equipment, and revamped operating procedures in order to give new life to Diamond Bear. The work paid off. In his four years there, Charles won numerous accolades including unprecedented consecutive Gold Awards at the World Beer Cup as well as Gold, Silver, and Bronze Medals at the Great American Beer Festival. 

Unwilling to settle for anything less than absolute mastery of the brewing process, he then headed to the East Coast to complete a Chemical Engineering degree at West Virginia University. Not long after completing his degree, a serendipitous meeting with Ike and Julie Broaddus in Fauquier County, VA turned into the opportunity Charles had been looking for since his early days back in the Ozarks—the chance to build a brewery from the ground up.

Three years of planning later, Old Bust Head Brewing Company was born!

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