No Corners Cut for Square Head Brewing in 2016
A Family Affair
Dave Jordan, of Square Head Brewing now brewing with his son, Brad, began to home brew with his own father. “I used to brew with my dad when I was about sixteen years old. We did it for a couple of years and then it kind of fizzled out. Then about six years ago, my kids bought me a sampler pack of Williams Brothers Brewing, from Scotland, they had an Ebulum Elderberry Black Ale. Brad and I were critiquing the beer the best we could and I turned to him and said, ‘we can make this,’ and he said, ‘no way.’ I still had some of my old equipment. We bought a couple of kits and more equipment and got back into it. The elderberry beer clone was the eighth or ninth beer that we made.”
The Leap from Home Brew
Like many of the professional breweries on Long Island, Square Head had its start in a home brew club. Says Dave, “The elderberry clone was one of the first beers we actually put into the home brewing contest that our club,” Brewer’s East End Revival or B.E.E.R., “has every May. We started to doing events with the club. First event we did was Martha Clara,” at the North Fork Craft Beer Festival. “We saw the public response, that was like, yup, all in. We have been with the club five years now.” He continues, “We moved from the kitchen, to the garage, to the space we are in now.”
Many burgeoning breweries start small with a one or three barrel (bbl) system. The Jordans have a head start. “We are starting with 14bbl Mash Tun and a 5bbl brew kettle,” says Brad, as well as, “three fermentors and bright tank.” A bright tank is where the beer sits after the primary fermentation is complete, letting the beer mature and undergo a secondary fermentation for natural carbonation.
“That was all in the research end of it, too, we saw how other breweries started on smaller equipment and right away within six or eight months have to buy bigger equipment. With the amount of contracts that we are hopefully looking at,” says Dave, “we would be fighting to get beer out the door.”
Adds Brad, “It’s a small space we might as well max out now rather than having to shut down and having to get new fermentors, deliveries, and hook up.”
No Strangers to the Local Beer Scene
Square Head Brewing has been attending local beer festivals since 2014, from the Blue Point Cask Festival, Great South Bay Brewery’s Punktöberfest, and Beerfields. Some of the beers it has showcased: Talking Stranger, a double IPA with Centennial, Cascade, Chinook, and Simcoe hops. 3 Dollar Bill, a pistachio pale ale, Suite Solitude, a strawberries-and-cream ale, and Occasional Pause, an amber ale with cinnamon and habaneros grown from Dave’s garden.
Growth in 2016
Since autumn of 2015, the Jordans have been expending extra energy to get their tasting room open. “We both work full-time jobs,” says Dave. “We are working nights and weekends to get extra money and working on the tasting room.” That work includes bringing in brewery equipment, building a cold box, recycling and repurposing wood, and putting in countertops. According to Brad, “We are hoping to open soon with four to five solid beers on tap and grow from there. We drilled out for 17 [taps] and then three beer guns for a small bottling line and for filling growlers.”
Once the grand opening date is announced, Dave and Brad are ready to be a part of the Long Island craft beer business community. Says Brad, “We are ready. We have been set every since day we said we are doing this. We are all in.”