Sunday, November 23, 2008

Backyard AleHouse Open for Business!

S drugged me into taking her to see Twilight yesterday afternoon at the Cinemark 20 in Moosic. Surprisingly, it was better than I expected (or was it the drugs?). I have never read any of the series by Stephanie Meyer, but S informed me that it was faithful to the first book and the characters were as she had imagined them. The soundtrack was pretty good, consisting mainly of what I quess would be called these days modern rock as well as some spare acoustic guitar pieces. The camera-work was excellent and at least from my dazed perspective, really captured that dreamy, blossoming love state-of-mind. I was not surprised that there was not an empty seat in the house.

For afterwards, the plan was to get into Scranton to check out the Backyard AleHouse which had had its grand opening the day before, continuing into Saturday.

We easily found the place on Linden street just north of the courthouse, right next to Tink's and we were able to park right on the street up the block a few addresesses. If you go later than when we went (3-ish), you won't be this lucky!

This new establishment had been another bar/club and was completely gutted and redone for its reemergence. Inside, a long ell-shaped bar stretches down the left-side and length of the taproom, maybe 35 feet long and with perhaps 18 bar stools. To the right is a table area containing all high tables: six or eight twofers and the same number of fourfers. The room is perhaps 50 by 22. The bar itself is beautiful as new bars are want to be (at least for now) with an natural oak Chicago bar rail and clear epoxy over ruby-red wooden planks of what appeared to be walnut. Behind the bar streches a similarly constructed back-bar, and a reach-in bottle cooler. Reaching up the to the high ceiling behind the bar were a walnut bookshelf (closest to the street) hung on the wall, a nice similarly framed mirror about 10 feet long with the Backyard Alehouse logo etched on it, and another smaller bookcase with a display of beeriana. The stools at the bar and in the seating area were all of similar construction, with red leather seats and spindle backs. Three largescreen flat panel screens hung on the wall around the room: a huge 62" above the mirror, a 50"er at the south end of the back-bar and another 50"er on the north wall of the bar. A nice electronic jukebox hung on the same north wall but was mute during our visit. The ceiling is divided into sections delineated by gold cove millwork, giving a coffered ceiling effect. The field of the ceiling is a dark blue. The main spine of the structure carrying the overhead load extends lengthwise down approximately the center of the taproom and is supported by paneled columns with dark blue trim and light blue inner panels. An unusual feature is cellar stairs back behind the bar. Cask ale down there, you think?

A very nice beer menu was presented when we came in and sat down at the bar and it had a few tasty draft selections (I think 12 taps total) and a very nice selection of bottles. My appetite for beer had been thirsted a few days earlier when I read over at mybeerbuzz that they'd be having the Sierra Celebration Ale on draft, so that became my easiest first choice as a a great way to celebrate a new alehouse opening in NEPA. The menu also listed a nice selection of food items, but the kitchen was not yet opened fully for service and we were informed by the barkeep B, that it would only be a short time until it was ready. The Celebration Ale was fresh as fresh can be, tasted great, and went down mighty easy. S chose a smooth Allagash White Belgian wheat beer from the bottle menu which she liked enough to have again for her second. She surprises me all the time by her burgeoning beer palate! My own choice for a 2nd was Mad Elf in keeping with the holidays/celebratory season fast approaching. This was the first time I ever had this, having had enough of everyone else rave, over and over, again and again, about how great this beer is. I was surprised a little by the fact that I could not get a head on my pour but maybe this is normal for this beer. The cherry taste is unmistakable as are the spices and perhaps clove. It reminds me a little of One Guy Brewing's Seasons Wheatings although this baby packed a much stronger punch coming in north of 11%. I liked it, but I think I'm more of a pale-ale/stout/bock drinker and the spicy beers I haven't yet warmed to. Or maybe I'm just gonna have to try it again...for scientific purposes this time.

When we left there were maybe 20 revelers inside having a great time. Oh, the Backyard in their name is a reference to the backyard which will be opening in the spring. I didn't see it but there's a way past the restrooms in the back, out to a deck where there'll be Adirondack chairs, tables and such, so that the fun can go out-of-doors.

We felt welcome here and can see a definite dedication to good beer. As a matter of fact, B, the barkeep told us that they're willing to take suggestions for beers they should bring in! We didn't suggest anything, but will the next time we visit when we're in town again.


John P. said...

I know where that place is, Tinks has a nice outdoor area too. I used to enjoy putting on a good buzz and watching the underbellies of low flying jets on approach to Avoca. I think it was directly in the flight path.

Behind those two places is the famous bar from "The Office" tv series.

tazio said...

I didn't know that about the Office being behind there--can you get in there from Linden or is there a side-street or alley?

John P. said...

There's an alley off N. Washington, or you could go out the back of Tinks. At least you used to be able to.

tazio said...

hmmm interesting...