When Brad Jordan took the leap from beer collector to home brewer about nine years ago, he found out something he didn’t know about his father, Dave. “He told me that he used to brew beer with his father,” Brad Jordan said. Together, they dusted off some old equipment and began brewing together, starting with a batch of a black-currant ale. “And we just kept brewing what we liked,” said the younger Jordan, 35, when we spoke to him.
That meant plenty of ales flecked with herbs and spices, brewed in small batches in their Holbrook kitchen at first, then on a larger system they installed in a garage. “Then, we basically maxed out the garage,” Jordan said, and began talking about a commercial brewery. “I asked [my dad], ‘Do you want to do this?’ My father was all in.”
In early November, father and son finally unlocked the doors on SquareHead Brewing Company, a well-appointed rustic brewery and tasting room in a tucked-away industrial building in Holbrook.
It didn’t come about without some angst: After signing a lease in 2013, building out, chasing permits and complying with local rules and regulations took five years, longer than either of them had anticipated. With time on their hands — the older Jordan, 61, also works in sheet metal, and Brad Jordan as a graphic designer — they built most everything themselves, from the five-barrel brewing system to the bar to the tables, using repurposed brewing equipment and plenty of reclaimed wood. SquareHead’s polished farmhouse-slash-industrial style mirrors, in a way, the beers and ales they produce. The changing rota of 17 taps might include a black ale spiced with coconut, black and rooibos teas and salted dark chocolate; a sour brewed with peach pureé; a dry-hopped, West Coast-style IPA called Talking Stranger; a smoldering, barrel-aged amber ale laced with cinnamon and habanero peppers; and the original cream ale (Suite Solitude) that Dave Jordan has brewed since the early 1970s.
The Jordans are aging several ales in old whiskey barrels, and a few — including a dubbel and a saison brewed with hibiscus — are bottled with minimalist labels designed by Brad Jordan. Visitors also can take beers to go in growlers (and soon in cans, too), during SquareHead’s open hours — currently, Friday night, and Saturday and Sunday afternoons. For snacks, there’s a combination of cheese plates inside and some food trucks parked outside.
SquareHead Brewing Company is at 405 High St., Holbrook; 631-921-3060, squareheadbrewing.com