This one is a little “outside” the range typically covered here, but gosh-darn it, I drink the stuff whenever I can get my paws on it, so it was time for a review.
D.G. Yuengling & Sons, is known as the oldest brewery in America, but it also happens to be the 4th largest brewery in America (in terms of production) despite distribution in only ten eastern states. Their headquarters is in Pottsville, Pennsylvania—home of the Breaker Boys and the 1925 NFL Champion Maroons, but that’s another story—and they also have a production facility in Tampa, Florida, formerly owned by Stroh’s.
Yuengling long existed as a regional brewer, but in 1987, they re-introduced Traditional Lager, which has become their flagship brand, usually just called “Lager.”
To put this beer in perspective, it’s really not a “craft beer,” nor is it intended to be. It uses adjunct and would fall in line with macro swill on the profile scale, checking in at 4.6 percent ABV, 142 calories and only around 13-15 IBUs. It IS, however, a far cry from typical domestic crap.
Yuengling has a nice copper color, as they do throw a little caramalt in the mash. There’s a hint of sweetness in the nose and a slight caramel aroma lingers as it rolls down the gullet. Surprisingly, it has pretty good body for an American lager. It finishes clean with only the faintest whiff of any hop content. It gives a sense of a classic European lager, but without the fuller mouthfeel or protein body of the continental 2-row malt. It actually reminds me a bit of the pre-takeover Stroh’s when it was caramelized in the direct fire kettle, but with a little more body. It does have flavor, however, and that is not the norm for the typical “big brewer” product.
Regardless, this is a wonderful session brew for a large American brewery and a domestic lager, particularly in the cold longneck bottle on a warm summer day. Because it is a macro at heart, it can’t go very high on the geek scale, but is worthy of a little shelf space in anybody’s fridge.