I have to say that the Fourth of July may be my favorite holiday. Everything about it seems to have been crafted exclusively for the red-blooded, beer-loving patriot in all of us.
Take my recipe for standard July 4th celebration for example – some barbeque, a lake or pool, great friends and family – then add in a little country music and garnish with some apple pie. And of course, an American-crafted beer such Yuengling, one of my personal favorites. Sprinkle in some fireworks by responsible adults and the day is complete.
This year, my all-America Fourth of July was spent in Harrison, PA – which just happens to be about an hour’s drive away from our nation’s oldest brewery: D.G. Yuengling & Son, Inc.
I felt it was my patriotic duty to make that short pilgrimage to a brewery that has been family-owned and operated since 1829. So the day after Independence Day, I continued my celebrations by making the drive to Pottsville, PA and taking one of the five free tours the brewery offers each day.
I’m a history nut so I loved all of the stories about Yuengling’s past. My favorite story was from 1933 – the year Prohibition ended. Following the official end of Prohibition, Yuengling produced “Winner Beer” and shipped a truckload of the brew to the White House to show their appreciation to President Roosevelt – a classy way to say, “Thanks and no hard feelings.”
Like most brewery tours these days, you can peak into the brewery room but not enter. But there is still a lot to see, and I enjoyed visiting the old fermentation caves. Of course no tour is complete without a chance to sample the product. The tour (which I remind you was free) included two free samples (a decent size). After that, it was $3 for a pint. I enjoyed everything I tried, including the Summer Wheat.
Yuengling’s status as a craft beer is a little weird. It received official “craft beer” status only last year by the Brewers Association. As one of the largest American-owned brewing companies, Yuengling competes in a world of macro-brews. Still, I couldn’t help but feel a bit nostalgic as I stood in a place that has been brewing on the same location since 1831. This beer was first made around the time Andrew Jackson became president. Yeah, that guy on the $20 bill. Maybe Yuengling is huge and all grown up, but that still feels like a small, local brewery to me.
You can learn more about Yuengling’s history, tours, beers and where to find them in your area online at yuengling.com.
So how do you enjoy a traditional Yuengling Lager at home? I insist that it is done in a Pilsner glass. My go-to glass is the Perfection Pilsner by Clink Barware. And of course, it has my Beer Ben monogram – the seal of approval trusted by all of my friends when enjoying a great beer at my house – and Club Clink.