Thursday, April 4, 2024

Beer Review - Yuengling Traditional Lager


A Pint of Yuengling Traditional Lager
A Pint of Yuengling Traditional Lager

It’s not everywhere. In fact, only around half of the United States gets it. 

But it’s everywhere! Wherever you look you will find this strange-sounding beer is on tap, in cans, and in bottles in Central Florida. If you are in a theme park, you will likely stumble onto Yuengling Traditional Lager.

I’ve mostly lived in states that didn’t get Yuengling and I have only recently had a pint despite the fact that it is honestly the most prevalent craft beer in Universal Florida or Walt Disney World. 

A 16 ounce can of Yuengling Traditional Lager
A Can Seen Throughout Theme Parks!

Recently, I acquired some pints of Yuengling Traditional Lager. I was overjoyed by the light brown amber color. Despite the color, the word that best describes this pint to me is light. It’s crisp and clean. The malt which gives it color also adds a very slight but not overpowering malty flavor…but not too much. It claims to have 12 IBUs, but really when it’s that low and light is anyone asking? The 4.5% ABV, makes it easy to drink a few, as this lighter amount of alcohol makes it easy to have more than one. It was not my favorite lager, but I do enjoy the malt flavor. But I can think of others that I would rather have. It does the job, and is a recipe that out of all craft lagers has had the most time to be perfected.

I mentioned a long time, right? Yuengling is a craft brewery that is mentioned numerous times in any craft beer history. It was founded in 1829 as Eagle Brewery by David Jüngling, which he anglicized to Yuengling, in Pottsville Pennsylvania. David was born in Germany, where his father ran a brewery. The first beer he introduced was a German lager. Now five generations later, the company president still shares the Yuengling name. Another German brewery, Anheuser-Busch, wasn’t founded till 1852! In fact, Yuengling is the oldest brewery in the United States.

I keep calling it craft beer, but is it? According to the Brewer’s Association, two things must be true for one to be called a craft brewery. It must be small, which they define as under 6 million barrels of beer or less. Now anyone who knows the history of craft brewing knows this number has increased as some craft breweries saw increased markets and production, much like Yuengling has. This brewery is considered small by the Brewer’s Association. It must be independent, which means not under the control by another brewery. I mentioned five generations of presidents with the name Yuengling right? Not only is this a craft brewery, but it is according to the BA the largest craft brewery in the United States.

But, let’s not convince ourselves that Traditional Lager has a century of history. It does not. The current recipe was introduced or reintroduced in 1987 as a pre-prohibition lager. And yes it does have generations of family beer-making know-how behind it. After its introduction, it rose to become Yuengling’s flagship beer and is in grocery stores, restaurants, and theme parks wherever their distribution takes them.

Who Drinks This? I have a few ideas here. First, if you are a craft beer nerd, and you don’t always get access to this brewery you really need to have one to check off the list. But you may not need a second. Second, if you are a craft beer nerd and have your choice between a traditional lager or a macro lager at a beer cart…this is your choice. It will pack a little more flavor but not be overpowering. Third, if you want to dip into the boozy pond of craft beer but are a little afraid, this is a brew that can help ease you into the hoppy waters. But honestly, there are so many other beers to sample in the world so one may be truly enough. It won’t change your world, but you need to mark it on your scorecard.

A shot from the top of a Yuengling pint showing the high foam level

On a side note, I will say that a beer you may need a whole six-pack of and should have every year is the Yuengling Octoberfest. That is a caramel-colored malt bomb that is currently the best American representation of the Marzan style. If you like Sam Adams’ version, I think in a taste test this bottle may have it beat!

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