If your travels should ever take you to the east side of Pennsylvania, be sure to schedule a trip to historic Pottsville, PA, or better yet, make a special trip to go there. Why? This is where you will find the Yuengling Brewery Company, America’s Oldest Brewery.
I recently had the opportunity to tour the brewery located at 420 Mahantonga Street, Pottsville. The historic building, built in 1831, honors the family members and workers that have produced a variety of Yuengling products over the years.
Established in 1829, as the Eagle Brewery by David G. Yuengling, the operation is now in its 6th generation of ownership. On the day I toured the brewery, Richard “Dick” Yuengling, the current owner was on site, and took the time to speak to my group. I understand that it is not unusual to see Dick at the brewery, as he is a hands-on guy and is involved with daily operations. In addition to the brewery on Mahantonga Street, the Yuengling family also has a plant in Mill Creek, which is just a few miles away, and Tampa, Florida.
My tour guide was very knowledgeable and entertaining, as she led us through narrow walkways, step stairs and down to the “belly” of the building to the where workers had dug by hand caves used to ferment the beer long before refrigeration was available. Along the way, we stopped at the “Rathskeller”, admired the stained-glass ceiling in the brew house and stopped by the bottling room.
We learned that the brewery survived during prohibition by producing “near beers”, and by building and operating a dairy directly across the street. And in 1939 to celebrate the end of prohibition, the brewery produced a beer called “winner beer” and delivered a truckload to President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Our tour concluded in the tasting room, where we were treated to several samples of Yuengling beer.
If you plan to visit the Yuengling Brewery, here are a few things to know. The tour is free to all ages. All visitors must wear completely closed-toe shoes. The tour involves a lot of walking and stairs and is not wheelchair accessible. This is a working brewery and visitors will notice sudden temperature changes throughout the tour, which lasts lasts approximately an hour. A valid ID is required to sample Yuengling products.
I highly recommend that you visit America’s Oldest Brewery to experience this piece of Pennsylvania history for yourself.
Cheers to you!