Jackie Breslin pours a brew from the tap inside Wishful Thinking Brewing Co. on April 24, 2024. The Breslins created a diverse menu of beverages for their opening. (Lauren Slovensky/B&W Staff)

Crafting dreams: New Bethlehem brewery opens its doors


Brendan Breslin has dreamed of opening a brewery since he was 21 years old.  

When studying entrepreneurship at Temple University, he knew he wanted to start a business centered around food and beverage. During his first internship, he began to create beer recipes and found the field to be a perfect fit. 

“My end goal was always to own my own brewery once I felt like I knew enough,” he said. 

Breslin has been professionally brewing beer for nearly 10 years. Getting his start at Manayunk Brewing Company in Philadelphia, he went on to become the assistant brewer at Stickman Brews in Royesford, Pennsylvania, in 2017. Three years later, he became the head brewer. 

While at Stickman Brews, now Pizza Post Co., Breslin also took on a love for making Detroit-style pizza. 

Breslin is now combining his love for pizza and beer and bringing it to the Southside.

Wishful Thinking Brewing Company is a brewery and pizza joint co-owned by Breslin and his wife, Jackie. 

The brewery had its grand opening on April 28 on 702 Broadway. Its mission is to use as many local ingredients as possible in its recipes.

“Our pizzas are made from as much local produce and meats and flours as possible,” Breslin said. “I think it’s all going to come together as a pretty unique drinking and food experience.”

The Breslins hope to create a welcoming environment that exudes a “wishful” atmosphere. 

“’Wishful thinking’ is the sensation of a lazy Sunday tubing down the river with your friend and being in the moment,” Breslin said. “We want to create that in our taproom experience; that feeling of contentment and coziness.”

The couple wanted Wishful Thinking to be more than a beer brand, but a lifestyle where people can enjoy their beer in a setting along the river or after a day of skiing. 

Breslin said its menu includes a diverse list of beers, wines and cocktails. 

Wishful Thinking’s beers are described as on the lighter end of the spectrum in terms of color and drinkability, Breslin said. The brewery specializes in pale lagers with a lower alcohol percentage between 4-5% . 

Their flagship beers will feature malts from Rabbit Hill Malthouse in Shiloh, New Jersey, and Double Eagle Malt in Huntingdon Valley, Pennsylvania, as well as hops from Sky High Hops in Flemington, New Jersey. 

The couple emphasizes the importance of incorporating local agriculture into their beers to support the surrounding farming communities and to establish a sense of connection and appreciation between their customers and their beer.

“This is the taste of the land we reside on,” Breslin said. 

The taproom uses a LUKR system, which is a central part of how the beer is poured. The way the beer is poured impacts the flavor profile, Breslin said. Wishful Thinking will use a custom-designed LUKR draft tower to allow for a dense cap of foam on top of the beer. 

Breslin said the glassware and temperature of the glassware was also taken into account to create the perfect pour that holds four inches of foam. 

“This creates a unique drinking experience and brings flavors and aromas that might otherwise be overlooked to the forefront of the drinking experience,” Breslin said. 

The loggers and faucets used to pour the beer were created to be used on the Breslin’s honeymoon. The couple was properly trained on how to pour the beers and get the full effects of the faucet pour. 

While the first focus is lagers, Breslin envisions potentially adding hazy and sweeter IPAs down the road.

Jeff Vaclavik, the owner of Deja Brew, said there has been a boom of breweries over the last few years in the Southside, possibly due to their popularity amongst Lehigh students. 

 “I think anything that opens in South Bethlehem has to have an appeal for students (when they are of age),” Vaclavik said. “Along with the staff and professors that work at Lehigh; a lot of them are here year round and that’s also a market to not overlook.”

Jackie Breslin emphasizes that while they aren’t natives of Bethlehem, the couple has come to love the Southside. 

“I hope that we can be a place where the greater community can come and just be together and immerse ourselves into the community,” Jackie Breslin said.

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