In a past life — OK, just earlier in this one — I worked as a software engineer, where frequent job changes were the rule. I quickly learned that when one door closes, another opens. After one employer closed their local office, I found a new job where my manager was a Hollis, NH, native named John Wagner. I would end up working for John at several companies.
Fast forward 30 years, and John and I have both moved on from the software biz. John and some of his compatriots (Joe, Jonas, & AV) from sundry software & engineering jobs realized they shared a love of brewing beer. They grew that passion from a hobby into a job, opening their business in 2018. That business in turn grew into a thriving brewery in Nashua on the edge of substantial additional growth. That busy brewery is Spyglass Brewing.
On New Year’s Eve afternoon, my friend Bill along with my lovely wife June and I visited Spyglass to try their latest imperial stout, Dark Flow, and also of course share some flights of their other offerings. We were not disappointed. If you’re just discovering Spyglass, you’re in for a treat. If you’ve had their beer before, you may also know how quickly they’ve become sought after and how many industry awards they have won. Or that they created perhaps the best beer title ever: My Biological Father Was A TV Repairman.
Like so many nano-, micro-, and craft breweries, they’re in an industrial park where space is cheap and functional. They can brew in back and run a basic tap room in front. During the height of Covid they received take-out orders on-line and served four-packs out of their freight door in back, where you could drive up, get your order delivered to your car, and go on your way. Making do in the best way!
Their tap room is family friendly; they serve Gold Fish crackers and Honest Kids organic fruit juice. While we were there on New Year’s Eve we saw several couples with toddlers and infants. One mom was holding her toddler while they both danced to a Journey song. As everyone knows, toddlers love Journey!
Other music we heard during our visit included Rush, The Eagles, and The Cars, giving a 70s-80s feel.
On Wednesdays they have a trivia contest, starting at 6 p.m.
Spyglass does serve food, nothing elaborate, but good pairings to enjoy with a flight or full pour. Options include taquitos, nachos, hot pretzels, nuts & chips.
During our visit we enjoyed samosas, a chicken quesadilla, and a cheese plate, and all were quite good.
Like many other breweries, Spyglass often hosts food trucks. Past examples include Donali Food Truck and Smokehaus Barbecue. These visits are announced on social media.
My first flight started with their newest brew Dark Flow and its spiritual predecessor Dark Roast. Both were extremely good, also quite similar to each other. After careful consideration, I would say the elder Dark Roast was slightly more bitter than the newer Dark Flow, however both were plenty sweet overall, so the difference was very small. If you like a coffee stout you’d be hard-pressed to find better than these two. Regarding ABV, I never would have guessed that Dark Flow was 11 percent, especially with Dark Roast right beside it at only 8 percent. Caution is advised! Nevertheless, I brought home a four-pack of Dark Flow.
Also in my first flight was Jantar, a fantastic and easy-drinking Czech lager that I would compare favorably to a long-standing personal favorite, Moat Mountain Czech Pilsner. My fridge now holds a four-pack of Jantar along with some Moat Mountain so I can do some side-by-side taste tests at my leisure. Choosing a favorite is bound to be a fun and worthwhile pursuit! (Is it just me or does Jantar sound like the name of a giant space robot?) The can label holds trippy nostalgia: an Alphonse Mucha painting from 1896 depicting a queen in front of zodiac signs that must have adorned many bedroom walls in the ’70s.
Rounding out my first flight was Beach Day, a sour ale with pineapple, coconut, cherry, passion fruit, vanilla and nutmeg. Those who don’t like sours should venture into the unknown here; both my wife and I found the sourness very slight indeed. We both loved the juicy mouthfeel, we could almost feel the pulp. This immediately reminded us of Urban Artifact Gramophone, a Nectarine Midwest Fruit Tart beer brewed in Cincinnati but which we discovered in Providence RI almost three years ago. Naturally, we brought home a four-pack of Beach Day.
Next, Bill and I decided to share a flight of IPAs & NEIPAs. Those challenge me, as I seem to be missing the gene that makes people like the taste of dank forest floor in their beer. But hey, I figured I should step out of my comfort zone. So for this flight we got:
- Citra Singularity, 8.5% ABV, DIPA – Hops: Citra
- Object Oriented, 8.3% ABV, DIPA – Hops: Citra, Mosaic, Rakau, Simcoe
- Automata, 8.2% ABV, NE DIPA – Hops: Citra, Amarillo, Columbus
- Strataspere, 8.2% ABV, NE DIPA – Hops: Strata, Rakau, Nelson, Motueka
For me, neither of these were as dank as I was expecting, all were in fact quite pleasant. Maybe my tastes are maturing? Also I must admit that I found them all quite similar to each other. While logically I can appreciate the variety of hops involved in these beers, yet *my palate* just is not up to the task. Maybe more practice is called for? I would describe Automata and Strataspere as having just a bit more citrus flavor than Citra Singularity and Object Oriented. All were good, even to a non-NEIPA fan like me.
An Extra Surprise
By far the biggest & best surprise we got on our New Year’s Eve visit did not involve the beer, the space, nor the food. Instead it speaks to the community surrounding Spyglass, the warm hearts of their patrons. As I said our party was three in number, and we sat at one end of a long high-top table with eight seats. Shortly after we arrived we were joined by two other customers who sat at the other end of our table.
It turned out they were brothers, Adam and Craig, one an inactive marine who works near exit 1 in Nashua. We chatted about Spyglass beers, NEIPAs vs. other styles, about other area breweries, and even shared our favorite bourbon selections. They finished a bit before us, and shortly after they departed one of the bar staff returned my wife’s credit card to her, telling her that the two brothers had paid our tab. We were amazed! Luckily we had exchanged contact info so I was able to thank them. That was icing on the cake (head on the beer?) of a very good afternoon.
So if you visit Spyglass, I can’t promise that someone else will pick up your tab… but you never know. I would encourage you to enjoy the community these local breweries foster and always be nice to your bar mates!
More to Come
They have a significantly larger space under preparation near exit 1 in Nashua, at least triple what they have now. It will also include outdoor seating and a substantially improved kitchen & larger food menu. Watch their social media for updates on progress. Maybe exit 1 will become known as the Spyglass exit?
Spyglass Brewing is located at…
2 Townsend West, Unit 8
Nashua, NH 03063
Phone: (603) 546-2965
Wed: 4-8 p.m. (Trivia at 6 p.m.)
Thu: 2-8 p.m.
Fri: 2-8 p.m.
Sat: 12-8 p.m.
Sun: 12-6 p.m.