Freshly Tapped spotlights one recently released beer, whether it be a flagship, one-off, seasonal, or modified recipe.
It came about unexpectedly, perhaps aided by the double IPA that once filled the empty teardrop glasses in front of us, but Julie Broaddus and I are deep in conversation about chestnuts.
You see, chestnut trees used to be quite common up and down the East Coast. For centuries, they populated the region’s forests, shooting hundreds of feet into the air and feeding wildlife with their fruit. But things started to change in 1904, when a fungal infection arrived in the United States on the bark of imported Japanese nursery stock. For the next four decades, that blight would lay waste to billions of American chestnut trees.
Or so Broaddus says. To be honest, until five minutes ago, I had no idea what a blight even was. You learn a lot in the company of the Old Bust Head Brewing co-founder.
Broaddus tells me she stumbled upon this chapter of arboreal history by way of a 150-year-old diary. This was a few years ago, before she opened the Vint Hill brewery with her husband Ike and Brewmaster Charles Kling. At the time, she was on a mission to track down and document journals written by ordinary Fauquier County residents during the Civil War as part of a sesquicentennial commemoration organized by the local Architectural Review Board, upon which she sat.
Her big find was a seven-volume diary written by a then-21-year-old socialite named Lucy Johnston Ambler. It had been sitting in an attic trunk, never once read. For a year-and-a-half, Broaddus sat with Ambler’s great nephew, carefully photographing and transcribing over a thousand pages. One day, she came across a word that puzzled her.
“In one of the entries, she was walking through the forest, picking up chinquapins,” Broaddus recalls. “I was like, ‘OK, this was just a half-mile from my house, and I have no idea what a chinquapin is.’”
She did some research, and it turned out chinquapins were a species of American chestnut. Apparently, the forests near the brewery used to be full of them. So, Broaddus did what she always does: She mentally filed this information away.
As a member of the Architectural Review Board, Broaddus was always panning for historical nuggets. The preservationist group would use them to politely dissuade homeowners and developers from demolishing older properties.
“We have no power to tell anybody what they can or can’t do with their house – people can tear down whatever they want – but we figure if they know about this stuff, there’s a better chance they’ll appreciate it,” says Broaddus, who still sits on board. “You appreciate where you’re living more when you understand some of the background.”
Born in California but raised mostly in the quiet enclave of Armonk, New York, the self-described “history buff” hadn’t developed a taste for the past’s wonders before she and her husband relocated to Fauquier County 22 years ago. That changed when the couple moved into their new home – a frontier log cabin that had been inhabited continuously since 1734.
“I cared nothing about history until I moved into that house,” she admits. “I think I liked old things, but… no. When I got here, I didn’t know anything about the Civil War. But when you move somewhere like this, in a beautiful place where you can look around and see the old barn, you get interested in it. There’s just so much history. I dug in.”
Since the start of 2014, Broaddus has had another avenue to continue her custodianship of the county’s legacy: Old Bust Head, her brewery, named for a timeworn country crossroads down the street from where she lives.
Housed inside barns that once served as a secret NSA “listening post” (we’ll get to that later), this brewery has the area sewn into its DNA. Practically every beer Kling and his team have produced over the course of four years bears a moniker that ties into the history, geography, or wildlife of Fauquier County.
Shorthorn nods to the breed of cattle that once grazed on the property, while Quickfix to the electronic warfare equipment that followed them. Leathercoat refers to Old Mother Leathercoat, a section of Bull Run Mountain christened so by George Washington, much like Wildcat does to Wildcat Mountain, where decrepit stone walls are all that’s left of early-18th-century homesteads. CasaGose is a playful riff on the historic village of Casanova, just as Sumerduck Saison pays homage to nearby Sumerduck, where flocks of duck migrate for the summer. (As Broaddus explains, the missing “m” was trimmed by some past postmaster.)
“That’s kind of classy, right?” asks Broaddus, a grin across her face. “There’s a story behind all of them.”
Broaddus knows all of those stories because she is behind all of the names. It’s quite obviously a responsibility she relishes. And she will not be rushed in finding her inspiration.
“There are a couple beers that we want to make but I’m like, ‘Well, I don’t have a name for it yet, so you gotta wait,’” she says. “And, of course, the brewers are like, ‘Oh, we really want to use this cool name.’ You can’t just make up a name that sounds cool. That’s not our brand. Sorry, you can’t do that.’”
Many of Broaddus’s names pull from her years of research. When Kling brewed a robust porter with chestnuts, the choice was obvious: Chinquapin Chestnut Porter. In honor of the chinquapin, a portion from the sale of each brew goes towards the American Chestnut Foundation, a nonprofit working to develop a blight-resistant American chestnut tree for reintroduction.
But the newest year-round offering from Old Bust Head – the brewery’s first addition to its core lineup since 2016 – wears its inspiration slightly less on its sleeve. Introduced this spring, the fruited witbier is called Table Talk.
As a term, “table talk” denotes loose conversation around a dining room or card table. In the case of Old Bust Head’s Table Talk, it’s the latter.
“The name Table Talk was inspired by the notorious gambling habits of Lord Francis Fauquier, popular governor of Virginia from 1758 until his death in 1768,” Broaddus explains. “He was a dapper dude.”
Through the years, Broaddus had heard an oft-repeated legend that this dapper dude won Fauquier County in a game of cards, but that tale never sat right with her. When she eventually looked into the story, the truth turned out to be quite to the contrary.
The son of a wealthy London banker, Fauquier spent most of his life in England, where he was known for his interests in politics, the arts, and, on the slightly less savory side, gambling.
“Gambling at cards was relatively new in the mid-1700s,” Broaddus shares. “Poker and poker chips had not yet been invented, but some pretty wealthy people became famous for their tables where high stakes were waged.”
On a fateful evening, Fauquier would sit down at one of those tables with George Anson, the empire’s Lord of the Admiralty. A world traveler, Anson was evidently well-versed in poker, as he would relieve Fauquier of his patrimony that night. In a moment, the entirety of his inheritance evaporated. There was a silver lining for Fauquier, though: Anson, in part out of pity, in part due to Fauquier’s graciousness and conversational charm, arranged for him to serve as acting governor of Virginia – the role he would fill gleefully for his final ten years. Not a bad consolation prize.
“Apparently, Fauquier is credited with bringing ‘the scourge of gambling to the colonies,’’ dishes Braoddus. “His lavish parties were famous in Williamsburg with regulars to include his close friend and protégé, Thomas Jefferson.”
At 5.3% ABV, Table Talk is a beer meant to pair with less formal but equally sociable gatherings.
“It’s a sessionable beer that you are going to be drinking while talking and hanging out,” Braoddus says.
As its label notes, Table Talk also represents a bit of a gamble: infusing a witbier with passionfruit and guava, then making it a flagship, is a roll of the dice.
It’s a bet Old Bust Head is all-in on.
In Old Bust Head’s spacious back office, a napping chihuahua at her side, Broaddus pulls up a spreadsheet she wants to show me. The document is dozens of pages long – a month-by-month chronicle of all the beer sold in the brewery’s tasting room. For each offering, she’s broken figures all the way down to the ounce.
“I’m the detail-oriented person,” she observes. “I’m the one keeping track of much beer we make, how much the sales team gets, how much the tasting room gets, where it all goes. I’ve developed systems for tracking where the beer is. So, I’m kind of managing the beer flow.”
To perhaps state the obvious, Broaddus is thoroughly immersed in the minutiae of Old Bust Head’s operations. She’s the art director. She’s the historian. She has a say in what beers get made. She manages everyone within the brewery, though she proudly notes a structure of “team leads” in the tasting room allows her to be relatively hand-off. She partners with Social Media Manager Cara O’Neal to promote the brand. Before we meet, she takes it upon herself to compile and send me a five-page document on Table Talk, complete with tasting notes, a Q&A she conducted with Head Brewer Thorne Watkins, and a scanned excerpt from Natalie Bober’s 1988 tome “Thomas Jefferson: Man on a Mountain”.
I ask if Broaddus has found Old Bust Head to be more work than anticipated.
“I don’t think I thought about it,” she says. “But I have always thrown myself 110% into everything that I’ve done. I’m an all-in person. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that it’s all-consuming.”
A biology and psychology major at Duke University, Broaddus says she loves the chemistry of the beer. She loves the flavors. She loves “combining things.” But just as she didn’t care for history until she bought a historic house, Broaddus didn’t particularly care for beer until she bought a brewery.
“Before we did this, I was a rum-and-orange juice drinker,” she admits sheepishly. “That’s basically what I liked. I hadn’t ever had craft beer before.”
The idea to open the brewery initially belonged to Kling, though the path Old Bust Head traveled to its 2014 opening took several twists and turns. At least one thing is straightforward: Kling did come from beer. Raised on a farm in the Ozark Mountains, he learned to make wine, beer, and spirits from, to quote the official Old Bust Head yarn, “the local folk who maintained a few stills up in the hills where they have been perfecting the art for generations.”
Kling would go on to attend UC Davis’s pioneering brewing program, then work at a succession of breweries, most notably Louisiana’s formidable Abita and then Little Rock’s Diamond Bear, where he honed his own recipes and collected a trove of awards as brewmaster. After over a decade of professionally brewing, though, he opted to move east and pursue a chemical engineering degree West Virginia University. After graduating, Kling settled into a gig at the Patent Office and a home in Fauquier County. The former didn’t last too long.
“One day, Charles walked into Ike’s office and said, ‘I want to start a brewery in those barns,” remembers Broaddus. “He already had all these business plans worked out.”
“Those barns” were part of the 700-acre Vint Hill Farms Station, which the military had closed in 1997 and sold two years later as part of the government’s Base Realignment and Closure initiative. Kling came to Ike because he was on the board for the Vint Hill Economic Development Authority, a committee that could help finance development in the area and essentially shape its composition. Ike liked the concept, as did his wife, who saw the installation of a brewery as consistent with her work as a member of Citizens for Fauquier County, a group she describes as “a land-use, environmental, historical-preservation watch dog.”
But here’s where things get convoluted. According to Broaddus, Ike got frustrated at the speed of development, fired the Director of the EDA, became the Director of EDA, and when he went before the new board, it had cooled on the idea of a brewery.
“They didn’t want a sustainable community – they wanted to sell to the highest bidder,” Broaddus recalls. “Ike came in and said, ‘Hey, this guy wants to put a brewery, it’s going to be awesome, it’ll be everything we need to start this community.’ And they were like, ‘That’s a great idea, but we don’t want to put the money into it. If you can find an investor yourself, do it.’ And so we became the investor.”
That’s a bit of a yada-yada. In actuality, it would take about a year-and-a-half for Ike and Kling to persuade Broaddus that the venture was worth sinking the family’s money into it. (The Broadduses made their fortune in real estate, where the two grew a Century 21 franchise up to 14 offices and 400 employees across two states, then sold it off.)
“I’m a slow decision maker,” says Broaddus. “But Charles brewed this batch of maibock that blew me away. I was like, ‘Wow, this is not the beer I drank in college. This is something awesome.’ He makes excellent beer. And here’s what really sold me: When he was at Diamond Bear, he brewed an English Pale Ale – what is now our Bust Head – and won two consecutive World Cup Gold medals, but the thing he said he was most proud of was that each time he took a six-pack off the shelf and submitted it. He didn’t, like, brew a special batch. That’s kind of who he is.”
Three-and-half years passed between Charles’s initial conversation with Ike, but in the end, the Broadduses invested in far more than the brewery. In addition to the 30,000 square-foot facility, which they technically lease to the Old Bust Head partnership with Kling, the two bought surrounding warehouses. Then, last year, they spent another $3.45 million for 14.1 more acres of land – including 13 buildings – adjacent to and surrounding the brewery. One of those buildings is a 60,000-square-foot brick, windowless structure that they’ve been renovating (to the tune of $6 million) and filling with tenant businesses, including a catering company, a yoga studio, and a Christian school.
“Basically, Ike rebuilds and leases everything out, and I run the brewery,” explains Broadus. “We are land moguls, and Charles is the beer maker.”
There is a notable difference between the range of beers Old Bust Head produces now compared to when it opened, though, and that has much to do with the other people making beer with Kling.
I am reluctant to describe Broaddus as maternal, but here are the facts. 1. When I ask about her hobbies outside of Old Bust Head, she immediately says her children. 2. She talks about staff as if family, telling me the name and some personal detail about almost every tasting room employee we interact with. 3. At one point, she is insistent that I consume a root beer float.
“Oh, you have to try it – it’s so good,” she tells me. “As a matter of fact, I’m going to get you one. You must at least have a sample.”
Old Bust Head proudly makes its own root beer. The ice cream, meanwhile, comes from a Fauquier County dairy farm with a roadside shop called Moo-Thru. Such confections are a way for the Broadduses to support a local farm. They also serve as a family friendly menu item.
“This is a place you can come and bring your kids and everyone can feel comfortable,” Broaddus says. “It’s part of the whole being a place for the whole community thing.”
I drink the root beer float. It is delicious.
However, most people come to Old Bust Head for the beer. On a warm April afternoon, the draft board’s bevy of options are divided into six categories: Balanced and Classic, Dark and Bold, Belgian, Hops, Limited Release, and Fruit Added.
When the brewery opened in 2014, Old Bust Head’s beers leaned towards those first few categories. Its flagships – an English pale ale, an East Coast IPA, a Czech pilsner, and an American pale ale – were slightly conservative and not entirely unexpected from a 40-something brewmaster who cut his teeth in the late ‘90s.
“The keyword when it comes to Charles is balance,” Broaddus tells me. “When we first started, he did not even want to make an IPA. Wildcat, the IPA that we had, and we still have – it’s, like, a beginner IPA.”
Almost a year after opening the tasting room, Old Bust Head introduced an advanced IPA, Graffiti House, which drew inspiration from the leaner body and more assertive hopping rates of West Coast renditions of the style. Kling had been successfully prodded by calls for such a beer from voices both outside the brewery and within it, most notably two members of his team: Thorne Watkins and Owen Bitas.
“They we’re pushing him, saying, ‘You have to try these new things,’” Broaddus recalls. “And so Charles made Graffiti House, and he was like, ‘OK, this is actually good. I actually like this.’”
Since its introduction in early 2016, Graffiti House has been Old Bust Head’s best-selling beer. It is worth noting, however, that the runner up has consistently been a delightfully roasty Irish red ale called Vixen. The moral of the story: A well-executed classic can still hold a place in people’s hearts and bellies.
“Everybody told me, ‘Nobody buys Irish reds in the marketplace,’” says Broaddus. “But now it’s one of our two best-selling beers in distribution.”
Since Graffiti House’s release, Bitas has departed Old Bust Head for business school, but Watkins remains a spark plug for recipe development at the brewery. And over the past few years, Kling has empowered his head brewer to produce beers that place Old Bust Head in line with the craft zeitgeist: rotating-hop double IPAs (all named after Gold Cup-winning horses, naturally), a caramel macchiato stout, and pink lemonade- and margarita-style goses, which are arguably the brewery’s most sought-after releases.
“The experimentation basically comes from Thorne, but Charles is fastidious about processes and doing things properly and making good beer,” Broaddus explains. “Any beer that comes out of here is going to be good. And I think Charles enjoys the creativity. It sometimes pushes him outside of his comfort zone a little bit, but he appreciates the product.”
Almost all of these beers have been limited to some degree – in the size of their production, in their distribution, in how they’re packaged. This makes sense: They’re more expensive to make and aren’t exactly calibrated for the broadest appeal. In fact, up until the spring, the last addition to Old Bust Head’s core line-up was Graffiti House. But now there’s Table Talk, a fruited witbier that interestingly feels more like a limited release than a conventional flagship.
“It is definitely… not a great margin beer,” Broaddus shares, “but it’s so good. It’s something really special.”
The brewery began thinking about the beer over a year ago. Broaddus wanted to make an addition to the packaged line-up – something lighter, maybe a more modern pilsner or a Belgian-style witbier.
At the same time, Old Bust Head was engaged in discussions with its distributor, Premium, about entering a beer in the Backyard Brew, a contest that occurs alongside the Craft Brewers Conference annually. For the competition, regional distribution companies pair with a brewery in their territory and collaborate on a beer. As Watkins notes, the competition received a bump in visibility a few years back when Flying Dog won for Bloodline, a fruited IPA that went on to become a popular flagship for the Maryland operation.
“Someone wanted to do a pilsner brewed with dill, another suggested a rauchbier, but I didn’t think they were that appealing or creative,” the head brewer says of the brainstorming sessions. “Then we decided that, like with Bloodline, we wanted to brew something that would have an immediate marketability regardless of whether we won the competition or not. So, I suggested a witbier since, stylistically, it’s a very familiar and approachable beer that leaves plenty of room to get creative, and also since there’s not a whole lot of variety of them in the craft market. Optimal Wit is pretty much the only other wit that people really drink other than Blue Moon.”
After picking a style, the group began thinking of ways to differentiate the witbier. Eventually, it landed on infusing the beer with pawpaw, a mango-esque fruit indigenous to Virginia, and thus consistent with brewery’s local m.o. (For more on witbier, a somewhat staid style in recent history, revisit our Freshly Tapped profile of Handsome Beer’s White Ale.)
Watkins brewed five trials of the witbier – tweaking the spices, yeast profile, or the aroma at each step – before he was satisfied with it. Once the head brewer had a small batch that hit the spot, Old Bust Head conditioned it on pawpaw puree. This was the blueprint for Table Talk, a 5.3% white ale brewed with Fauquier County well water; a pillowy grist of 2-row, pilsen, red wheat, cara-pils, and flaked oats; the New World hop varietals Sorachi Ace, Hallertau Blanc, and Amarillo; and the citrusy combination of orange peel and coriander.
“We knew that we were testing a beer that we were going to be making,” says Broaddus. “Fruiting it definitely makes it more expensive for us, but we didn’t want to go head to head with Optimal Wit. We wanted a wit, but we wanted something that offered something different. And, also, it was yummy.”
But there was a threshold for how much Old Bust Head was willing to spend.
“Pawpaw puree was extremely hard to source and really expensive,” Watkins says. “The amount we would need for a production scale batch would be financially too irresponsible to pull off.”
So, Old Bust Head set about finding an alternative to the indigenous “hillbilly mango.” At first, it thought a peach-mango duo might be the answer, but securing actual mango turned out to be a headache. Instead, it brewed a batch of the witbier for the tasting room, then fruited that base with a series of produce: cherries, then apricots, then passionfruit and guava together.
Apricot was too tart. Cherry, meanwhile, was Broaddus’s favorite, and it sold well at the brewery, but there was one problem with it.
“It poured pink,” says the co-founder. “We didn’t think that would go over too well. Thorne, who’s this total manly man, was like, ‘No, it can’t be pink.’ And he really preferred the way passionfruit and guava worked.”
“The passionfruit-guava blend, in my opinion, lends a very interesting blend of that sweet, tropical flavor that people normally associate with mangoes from the pink guava and the crisp tart finish from the passionfruit,” the head brewer says.
With card-inspired packing from artist Teagan White, six-packs of Table Talk hit distribution in March. And if it continues to perform well, the brewery is more than ready to make more.
Old Bust Head’s tasting room is populated with long, wooden tables, and above them rests a high, wooden ceiling, which is propped up by sturdy, wooden posts. While craft beer drinkers in the DC-area have become accustomed to visiting drab industrial parks and gutted warehouses, the Vint Hill space is something else entirely.
When the family bought the building, though, it was an ugly cinder block structure with no windows and drywall partitions.
“I mean, it was as gross as you can imagine – it even had a shoe resoler in it,” Broaddus tells me. “Nobody would have envisioned that you could do something cool with this building, but we came in here and popped out a ceiling tile and said, ‘Oh, there are wood ceilings up there.’ Then we pulled down some drywall, and there were posts. Right away, you could just see that this would be better than if you started from scratch.”
The posts had been painted bright colors to draw the attention of forklift drivers. The government didn’t want them damaging the structure as they drove electronic ware fare equipment around the space. One post still had a sticker on it: an eagle with headphones on, a lightning bolt in one claw, the words Monitor, Jam, Protect, Total Battle Control below.
“This was the beginning of the NSA,” Broaddus says, queuing up another walk down memory lane.
Before the radical eagle stickers, this was a farm for four-horned cattle. Then, in the 1940s, one of the farm’s residents picked up the sound of German taxi cab drivers communicating over his hand radio. After he mentioned it a military official who lived in the area, the U.S. Army bought all of the family’s land. The government subsequently installed radio towers, turned the barns into a listening post, and moved the The Signal Corps’ cryptographic school to the area. A sprawling operation was set up to intercept, decode, and translate enemy radio transmissions.
On this property, in November 10, 1943, Pvt. Leonard A. Mudloff, a Fauquier County resident, intercepted a message from Japanese Ambassador Oshima Hiroshi to Germany describing German coastal fortifications in western France, troop strengths, and contingency plans. Known as the “Oshima intercept,” this information would be an invaluable contribution to the planning for D-Day.
Not everything was as noble: As Broaddus points out, the NSA used Vint Hill for wideband extraction during the Vietnam War, eavesdropping on American protestors. The listening post would continue to function through the Cold War. There is much about Vint Hill that has yet to be declassified.
“So, all sorts of major spy stuff going on here,” Broaddus says. “Tons of history.”
She and Ike have sought to keep as much of the original look and structure of the building intact.
“We tried to keep it so when you come out here, if you used to work here, you would recognize the place,” she says. “These were the buildings that they always were.”
While honoring the past, the Broadduses have also built for the future in the barn that houses Old Bust Head’s production floor. With a 30-barrel brewhouse and a mix of 120- and 60-barrel fermenters, the brewery has the capacity and space to scale-up easily. (In the meantime, it fills any lulls in production by contract brewing for smaller operations like Adroit Theory.)
“When Ike and Charles went to California for CBC in 2012, everyone was complaining about growing pains – breweries had started too small, and it was hard for them to shutdown and move things, trying to expand,” Broaddus explains. “So, we started big, with enough room that we wouldn’t have to have growing pains.”
Old Bust Head didn’t pinch pennies elsewhere on the production floor, either. It invested in a centrifuge, which clarifies beer without the loss of hop oils and exposure to oxygen associated with filtering. Similarly, it a bought a high-end bottling line that purges oxygen three different times during packaging. That machine also captures and reuses rinse water, which means the brewery uses one-third less H2O than the industry average.
Such conservation is one of numerous environmentally conscious initiatives at Old Bust Head. The drive-in cold storage is geothermally cooled. A black box over the boiler captures escaping steam, which then gets used to preheat water. The list goes on.
“As much as we could, we wanted to keep our environmental impact down,” Broaddus tells me early in my visit. “That green bit is a really personal story.”
She leaves it there, and I don’t prod, but an hour later, walking through one Old Bust Head’s barns, Broaddus begins to tell me about her daughter Finley.
The youngest of the family’s three children, Finley was passionate about the environment and climate change. She was bright and focused – an early admittee to William & Mary, where she planned to study environmental science. At 17, she was diagnosed with a Cholangiocarcinoma, a rare and aggressive form of liver cancer.
“She had a friend who had also had cancer who told her, ‘You’re going to get all of these teddy bears and blankets,’” Broaddus remembers. “But Finley told people, ‘Don’t send me stuff. I don’t want stuff. Just go out and plant trees.’ So, people started planting trees.”
When Finley realized people wanted to do more, she started a fund called Finley’s Green Leap Forward. In February 2014, she set the goal to raise $18,000 by her 18th birthday, a little over two weeks later. The fund would amass $67,000. By Earth Day, five weeks later, it had hit $100,000, and Finley was able to make the fund’s first grants to forest restoration and tree-planting nonprofits.
“Finley moved people,” says Broaddus. “She was totally positive – the most uplifting person, a beautiful and positive spirit.”
Diagnosed in December 2013, Finley passed away on June 2, 2014.
In the days between, during which Broaddus was essentially living at Johns Hopkins Medicine with Finley, Old Bust Head began producing and distributing beer. In August, the brewery opened its tasting room. I her tell I can’t imagine what it must have been like coping with such loss while opening a small business.
“It saved me in a way because you’re around people all the time, and you have so much to do,” she says. “And Finley liked the idea of opening a brewery. She was all into it. She was strong until the very end, and that enabled us to go forward. She had this drive of what she knew she wanted to do, and it was on us to try to make it happen.”
Two year later, Broaddus had her own battle with cancer. Thankfully, after chemotherapy, radiation, and a double mastectomy, she would beat it.
“I don’t even really feel like it happened,” she shares. “I’m a survivor of losing my daughter to cancer; I’m not a breast cancer survivor. It hasn’t even fazed me. It’s been like a knee surgery or something, you know?”
Finley lives on in many ways – Finley’s Green Leap Forward has raised over $500,000 and counting – but she is unequivocally the driving force behind the brewery’s green focus.
That emphasis also happens to overlap with Broaddus’s passion for historical conservation.
“When you’re building something, starting with structures that are already there is one of the greenest things you could do,” says Broaddus. “So, when it comes to the environmental thing, it’s nice to put your money where your mouth is. We were able to say, ‘Look, you can take old buildings and make them cool.’”
The land moguls’ work is far from done. As Broaddus and I talk, Ike is out in the parking lot, painting white stripes on the asphalt. Line by line, bit by bit, they’re getting closer to their vision for Vint Hill – Old Bust Head Brewing and beyond.
“If you had been here four years ago, you would drive around and say, ‘Wow, there is nothing going on here,’” Broaddus tells me. “We wanted to create somewhere with a sense of place. The brewery fit with our goals of redeveloping the army base into something cool. So many places, you go and you can not tell what state or town you’re in – they all start to look the same. To me, as a human, I think that’s bad for people. So, we saw the value in these historic buildings. They’ve transformed into a place for the community.”
Follow writer (and in this case photographer) Philip Runco on Twitter.
Revisit other recent Freshly Tapped profiles on Allagash’s Little Brett, Perennial’s Prodigal, Right Proper’s Ravaged by Wolves, Bluejacket and Ocelot’s Mixed Up / Torn Down, Old Ox’s FestivALE, Port City’s Colossal 7, and 3 Stars Brewing’s ’90s hip-hop car culture series.