LOCATION: Yuengling Brewery. Pottsville, PA
Today was a journey to the oldest brewery in the United States; Yuengling. I’ve been set on my goals to visit all the major breweries in the world, but had no idea just how amazing and rich in history the Yuengling Brewery is.
The town of Pottsville looked very small and almost industrial and the brewery was a large brick warehouse place that definitely did not set the tone for a normal brewery. Hardly anyone was walking around outside, but upon arrival, we were the fourth tour group waiting to leave, and each group had 50-60 people. Everyone was clearly in the brewery! The tour started in the gift shop, which contained more Yuengling merchandise than you could ever possibly imagine.
There was also a beer museum of sorts, which helped to showcase the many different bottles of beer that have transitioned over the years.The brewery first started out in 1829 as the Eagle Brewery by David Yuengling. Soon after it was built, the brewery caught fire and was then moved to the current location in 1831.
The brewery started in Pottsville because David Yuengling wanted to mine in the caves to create the perfect fermenting temperature for his lagers. The caves were amazing to see. They were unable to blast them due to the building above, so miners had to pick away at the wall, which left a torn and chunky looking cave entry that really added to the character. The caves were a constant 47 degrees at all time and provided the best conditions for his beer.
In 1919, the government placed up brick walls closing off the caves due to prohibition. It was interesting to see that the brick walls were still intact; except for the small opening they created once they were operational again. In order to still stay in business, the Yuenglings decided to build a dairy next to the brewery and serve ice cream instead. This helped to move them through the prohibition time along with their “near” beer; consisting of .05% alcohol. Once prohibition ended, the brewery prospered and is now offered all over the East Coast and as far West as Ohio and produces about 2.5 million barrels a year.
The brewery tour lasted about an hour and a half and took you through all the manufacturing phases. At the end of the tour you get to sample one of their beers. There are a few that haven’t made it down to VA and it was nice to try something different from them.
If you come during the weekday, you’d be able to see the plant in production. The tour was by far the best brewery tour I’ve ever been on, and seeing the rich history of the caves definitely set the bar high for any other brewery I decide to visit.
*Thank you Troy for accompanying me on this adventure.
WOULD I DO IT AGAIN? Absolutely!! Best brewery tour ever!
HOW TO DO THIS:
Free tours available Monday through Saturday.