JIM THORPE, PENNSYLVANIA
Open February ’22 in the Pocono Mountain mining town of Jim Thorpe, BRIGHT PATH BREWING COMPANY secures a roomy 4,000 square-foot barn house. Selling its beer to-go initially, Bright Path began inviting the public onsite for draughts three months hence in May.
Co-owner Alex Franko began home brewing a decade ago and worked at Sly Fox, Other Half, Lone Eagle, Dogfish Head and Dock Street beforehand while biz partner, Dylan Smith’s been at it for five years with stops along the way at Lancaster, Lone Eagle and Cape Cod breweries. Both grew up in the surrounding Keystone State area.
Their humble mission is to create ‘refreshing flavorful lagers and low ABV session beers’ for everyone to enjoy. And there’s a peaceful easy feeling that consumes the high-ceilinged pub.
Bright Path’s gray cement-floored, green-walled interior features a 12-stooled wood top bar (with aluminum frontage), chalkboard beer list and a gold-lettered company insignia. Windowed rear brew tanks hold the suds. Pipe-fitted community tables, wall-railed standing ledges and exposed ceiling pipes add rustic appeal.
Easygoing flagship, Mc Gowan’s Cream Ale, does a fine job reinforcing Bright Path’s ‘humble’ roots (alongside a half-dozen pilsner/lagers available on my two-hour July ’22 trip). Its lemony Cascade-hopped spritz and salted maize dryness picked up subtle herbal perfuming in a light-bodied setting.
Cleanly dry Keller Pils winsomely guided lemony orange salting into placid floral herbage above freshly baked French breading.
Equally tranquil golden-cleared light lager, Pigsah Mountain Brew, let citric-dried lemongrass herbage and grassy hop astringency reach its simple pale malt base.
Straightforward Helles Lager retained a slightly brusque lemon musk, spicy tingle and herbal respite for its sweet cereal grain backbone.
Another soft-toned moderation, Vienna Lager, plied yellow and orange fruit spicing to sweet barley-steeped Easter breading.
Bright ‘n lively but less sweet than stylish competitors, Hefeweizen stationed lemony banana-clove expectancy across damp hop herbage and atop sourdough wheat flouring.
Dry-hopped IPA-designed American Standard Pale Ale stayed grapefruit-forward as grassy wood-soaked astringency contrasted wheat-floured breading.
Limey agave cologne saturated dryly tart summertime suds, Mexican Lager, leaving fleeting floral chrysanthemum and lavender snips upon a frail sea-salted pilsner malt bottom.
Soft ‘n billowy Switchback Session Hazy IPA gathered a floral-daubed bouquet of lemony grapefruit bittering, tangy peach, mango and tangerine sweetness and navel orange zesting to enlighten its mild piney hemp resin and withered grassy hop astringency.
On the dark side, fine German-styled black lager, Schwarzbier, escorted barley-roasted black chocolate and walnut coffee tones to weedy black tea soiling.