In the heart of Scranton across from the Court House, BACKYARD ALE HOUSE came on the scene November ’08 and soon became Electric City’s premier beer bar. Offering an outrageously enormous 500 bottled beers as well as 20-plus rotating taps, Backyard’s celebrates America’s proud microbrew generation in grand style. Its pristine tan frontage features Backyard’s brown-lettered insignia, windowed neon signs for the Keystone State’s most popular microbreweries (Stoudt’s/Troegs/Victory/Yards) and gorgeous earth-toned slate footing.
Upon entering the clean open space for the first time, June ’13, there resides a 15-stool left bar with two big screen TV’s, Backyard-etched central mirror, sundry taps and a large refrigerator (with awesome bottled selections). To the right are dining tables and along the middle beams several collectible beer bottles stand front to back. A newly installed kitchen serves pub fare such as burgers, wings and pizza.
Nick Lowe’s cold war anthem “So It Goes” blasts from the speakers as I settle into a beer crafted just down the highway, 3 Guys & A Beer’d Ladder Dive Rye IPA. Its reedy-hopped rye breading and orange-rotted dried fruiting picked up a grainier residue than most typical fruit-forward stylings.
Before getting a few takeout bottled beers from local breweries such as Old Forge, Susquehanna, Evil Twin and 3 Guys & A Beer, I grab a seat outside in the cement-floored open-air back deck. Overlooking City Hall, the red brick-sided space offers an 8-stool covered bar with three TV’s, several tables and chairs and a popcorn maker. On tap at the back bar are familiar Bud-Coors-Miller product as well as Guinness, Goose Island, Ommegang, Stegmaier and a few local indie draughts.
I dip into creamy eggshell-frothed Victory Uncle Teddy’s Bitter (with its orange-oiled lemon pit tartness and nutty respite) and vibrant fruit-candied Clown Shoes Tramp Stamp Belgian IPA (where black-peppered hops and alcohol-burnt astringency contrast a bright grapefruit-orange-tangerine-peach tang).
Indoor and outdoor jukeboxes provide alternative and classic rock selections while live music plays Friday and Saturday evenings.
A favorite watering hole for local businessmen, post-collegiate imbibers and craft beer enthusiasts, Backyard’s perfectly centralized location attracts a diverse crowd to Scranton’s inner sanctum.