JUST A COUPLE OF CHARLESTON BOYS THAT LOVE MAKING BEER.
We've been brewing beer for the people of Charleston since 2017.
It’s so hard to put on to paper what it is about Rusty Bull that you, our beloved customer, should know. And more importantly than that, what you would actually want to know. What are the things that are interesting about our beer and our brewery? What is it like being a part of the Charleston community? It all starts with a joke. Tell me if you’ve heard it:
A mechanic, a preacher, and an unlit cigar are sitting at a bar.
It’s 2013 and Club Habana has just shuttered its doors. Our mechanic (Brian Bogstad), preacher (Ben Mayer), and the memory of their favorite cigar lounge and their typical nights out (sitting around an overfull ashtray talking about the important things in life) strolled into Madra Rua.
“We were having a conversation about what we could do to make life a little more interesting,” Ben says. “Brian looks over at me and asks ‘what do you think about brewing beer?’”
A love of high gravity Belgian Ales brought them to their first recipe. Brian’s mechanical chops brought them their first mash tun. “We Frankensteined equipment together and hit the ground running. It quickly turned from a hobby to borderline obsession.” Four years later they opened the doors of Rusty Bull Brewing Co. on West Montague in North Charleston.
What exactly is a Rusty Bull?
There is a moment in some people’s lives where they see a couple of possibilities for the future and are forced to make some sort of decision. Or wait for some inspiration. Or get the right encouragement. Sometimes it’s all three things at once.
“People ask me that all the time,” says Ben. “But going from preaching to being a brewer isn’t that complicated. We’ve met so many great people over the years and have had so many opportunities to speak into people’s lives that this was just a natural progression in following God’s calling in my life. I love meeting people where they’re at in this thing called life.”
It was the ability to look for inspiration that pushed Ben and Brian to the next step of the progress from homebrewer to brewery owner.
“You can’t have a business until you have a name, and it proved difficult to come up with one,” says Brian. “We’re sitting at a bar one night after a Saturday homebrew session and we’re talking about the most important and influential people in our lives. And it just came to be.”
For Brian, it was his wife’s uncle, Dave ‘Bull’ Bullard. A larger-than-life man who had been behind Brian, full of wisdom and strength, for many years. “He’s the kind of guy who would ride a 4-wheeler naked just to see what it felt like,” Ben adds.
For Ben, it was his dad, Russ Mayer. Rusty when he was a kid. “When he died at 49 in 2007, he left me just enough to buy a pilot system, though I didn’t know that’s what it was for at the time. With Bull’s help we converted Brian’s garage into a homebrew production garage.
To North Charleston … and Beyond!
Earlier this year, in June of 2022, Ben and Brian opened their second taproom on King Street in downtown Charleston, South Carolina. After five years brewing “for the most amazing people in the world,” the people of North Charleston, they decided to take that message downtown to collaborate with Chucktown Brewery.
“Breweries can be amazing places for community. That’s always been what we are about,” says Brian. “I love the relationships that have come from this experience. Our staff are like family to us and the relationships we’ve built with local business owners and patrons is priceless.”
“We’re really looking forward to seeing what happens downtown. We both love this city and love giving back,” says Ben. “We think that expanding to downtown is really just going to open up opportunities to meet some really great people and see how we can be a part of each other’s worlds for a beer or two. And who knows where we go from there!”
And the cigar says …
There are now two fantastic places to enjoy Rusty Bull Brewing Co.: West Montague Ave in North Charleston and King Street downtown! Both locations have full restaurants, outdoor patios, big screen TVs for the big games and a complete offering of takeout beers and merch including tee shirts, hoodies, onesies and hats.