FLIGHTS: Breaker Brewing Co. in Wilkes-Barre Township, PennsylvaniaAugust 12, 2016
One can catch hints of the old coal industry lingering throughout northeastern Pennsylvania: the occasional jet-black culm banks of discarded mining refuse; here and there, a carved-away mountain side. The last few actual coal breakers, though—massive, sometimes city-block-sized processing plants for the mined rock—have been coming down in the past couple of years. Breaker Brewing (787 E Northampton St.) is a tribute to that past era, near what was the epicenter of the country’s anthracite-coal industry. Its current location (in a former St. Joseph’s School) fully opened a few years ago. Swing by for one 5-ounce sample of the dozen-ish beers for $2, three/$5 or eight/$12. As they used to say: It gets the coal dust out. –Ken Weaver
5.5% | Gose
Naming simplicity. A bit heavy-handed for its style: light lemony acidity and firm saltiness lead, but using too much heft. Ends curiously, with lingering cereal toastiness like Corn Flakes and KiX.
Minefire Blackberry Jalapeño
5.4% | Ale w/ Blackberries & Jalapeños
The blackberries are quiet, while the peppers contribute a firm perimeter of unmistakable heat. Warmth lingers well past each sip, with bell peppers and dark berries ascendant.
* Muledriver Mango IPA
6.4% | IPA w/ Mangoes
The mango character throughout is super on-point: juicy, pulpy, fresh. Mosaic and Warrior hops fit seamlessly with soft bitterness and tropical notes, then descend into forests of pine and pith.
Detonator Series Simtra IPA
6.3% | India Pale Ale
An IPA with Simcoe and Citra hops, though the hop bite’s subtle. This one rests a bit too heavily on its esters. (A version with Pacific Jade hops was lighter on the esters, heavier on the tropics.)
Lunch Pail Ale
5.5% | Pale Ale
Breaker’s flagship. A pop of crispy pale malt and soft caramel, countered by floral and earthy hops with an edge of lemony citrus. A workhorse pale, built for multiple pints.
Olde King Coal Stout
4.5% | Oatmeal Stout
This hits a similar seam as the Lunch Pail Ale: straightforward, balanced properly and for broad appeal. Nothing super-deep, but a welcome respite of roast, coffee and dark chocolate.
*Order the full pint