A Great American Brewery
Celebrate your independence
July 4th is Independence Day, one of America’s great holidays, when we celebrate our freedom as a country. So, it would seem odd that I select a lager for this article, a beer that originally came from Germany, instead of an ale, which was made by the English. But brewing took place in the Americas long before any settlers showed up on our shores. Records show that the Native Americans made a type of beer with spices. The English settlers brought ale, and began making beer with their yeast and our local ingredients. In 1623, the first commercial brewery was established in what is now New York City. It wasn’t until the mid 19th century that large numbers of central European immigrants brought with them the knowledge and ability to brew coldfermented beer, and lager quickly swept the country. It was around this period, 1829 to be exact, that the oldest, continuously operated American brewery was born. DG Yuengling and Son started in Pennsylvania. By the turn of the 20 th century, there may have been more than 4,000 breweries in the United States. However, the good times would soon come to an end. Where most American breweries went under, due to the one-two punch of prohibition and the Great Depression, Yuengling was one of the few that struggled through, selling “near beer” as well as opening a dairy and selling milk. The brewery survived, and is now riding the wave of craft beer success that is continuing to sweep the nation. While the Yuengling brewery offers a porter, a black and tan, a macro lager, two light lagers and a pale ale, it’s their amber lager that has brought them to recent prominence. Although the brewery may be the oldest in the country, their ‘famous’ lager was not introduced to the public until 1987. Yuengling’s Traditional lager is the beer all the kids are going crazy for. But does it deserve the hype? Depicted on the classic label is an American bald eagle perched atop a barrel of beer. The label also proclaims the beer within to be a traditional lager, the original amber beer, by America’s oldest brewery. However, two points give me cause for concern at the outset: a green bottle, which can allow the beer to become light struck, and a twist off cap, which to me just seems cheap. Yuengling’s traditional lager pours up a light copper color with a decent-sized almost white head, which quickly drops to a thin layer above the liquid. Very little lace appears on the side of the glass. The aroma is light and gentle, with a bit of sweet malt and a touch of yeast and fruity hop. The beer is quite crisp, well carbonated, low to medium bodied and has a slightly dry finish. Flavors are not strong, but much nicer than any macro lager out there. Malt is the main flavor, but it’s smooth and not overpowering. There is just a touch of floral hops in the mix, barely enough to balance the grainy malt, but they are noticeable. One major plus for this beer is that, compared with most macro lagers, Yuengling does not taste worse after it warms, gaining a creamy, soft texture with a rise in temp. The bottom line is that Yuengling’s Traditional Lager is an average beer, but one that is extremely more enjoyable and satisfying that the premium lagers from Budweiser, Miller or Coors. It can serve as a solid stepping stone into a world of better brews for your light beer drinker. It’s goes down easy, and does not require you to think about it much, beer after beer. So in that case, Yuengling has it’s place, and is a superior substitute for any macro lager. Enjoy the brews. Cheers….
Beer: Traditional Lager
Style: Premium American Lager/American Amber Lager
Brewery: Yuengling Brewery
Origin: Pottsville, Pa..
ABV: 4.4 percent
Pairing: Burgers and dogs; Mexican; BBQ; shrimp