I had the pleasure the weekend of 16 April of touring the “Oldest Brewery in America (USA)” — Yuengling.
The original brewery is located in Pottsville, PA … established in 1829, a fifth-generation Yuengling is the current owner.
The picture on the far right above is the Dairy facility built to help the Brewery survive Prohibition. I can’t remember when the tour guide said it closed, but the brewery used the Dairy business, the production of Near Beer (you know me, Near Beerdrinker of the Year!), and a “Porter brewed for Medicinal Purposes” to survive prohibition.
During the tour, we went into the cellar of the building where they used to fill the kegs by hand (see pictures). We also toured the lagering caves (hand-dug in a span of 10 years) to ferment the beers (and store them). It was also the entrance for the Spring Water (3rd picture below) … you can also see in the fourth picture below the brick wall built by the “Revenuers” to keep Yuengling from making and storing beer.
One of the brewers was there while we were touring … we had an opportunity to talk to him–very nice individual–you could tell he enjoyed his job. That’s good to see when you are producing beer! We found out while there that Yuengling used corn in all their beers as an adjunct. Part of their brewing process is to cook the “cereal” for 2 hours (see 1st picture below). The other grain (2-row barley I think and specialty grains) goes in the mash tun (2nd picture) and is mashed as usual. The two are mixed together and then sparged (4th picture). Once sparged they go into the boil kettle (as normal). The third picture is interesting … the kettle used to be copper — so the owner (in the late 1800s) put in this stained glass window to diffuse the sunlight to keep the brewers from getting headaches from the light reflecting off of the copper kettle. (I realized the stain glass I saw at Orval and Rochefort are probably for the same purpose). The fifth picture just shows more of the brewery. Picture 6 is the spent grain tank. They provide that to a local farmer to feed his cattle. Everyone is green!
The only part of the brewery we didn’t get to see is the fermentation area (see picture below). This below houses all the fermentors — I would have loved to have seen that!
Yuengling pasteurizes all of their beer (the picture is dark–but here is their pasteurization equipment).
It was fascinating walking through a brewery that had been in operation so long–it was interesting seeing how the work areas were set up and the processes they used. I highly recommend a tour if you are in the area.
At the end of the tour, everyone retires to the bar for some samples! They had all of their beers on tap and you could taste as many as you wanted. You could also tour the museum and the gift shop. I hadn’t had their premium lager yet … so that’s the one I tasted. We only tasted one because our next stop was Troegs!
Again — the people were great, the beer was good, the tour was awesome! If you are in the area–take the tour!