Philadelphia is widely considered the United States’ most patriotic city (sorry Boston). Everywhere you go are the remnants of history and heroism. From the Liberty Bell to Valley Forge to Donovan McNabb (known to the locals as “Dominin McNamm”–at least that’s how they pronounce it) Philly is fiercely loyal to its heritage. Therefore it makes sense that it is impossibly loyal to the oldest brewery in America- The Yuengling Brewery.
Yuengling Beer (pronounced -Ying Ling) is brewed in Pottsville, PA and dates back to 1829, making it really old in the world of American Brew. On a recent weekend jaunt to Philly I was introduced to two of Yuengling’s creations, Lord Chesterfields Ale, and Yuengling Lager.
Lord Chesterfields Ale, at least the ones I had, smelled. I mean literally. Skunky aroma exploded from the bottle- but then oddly, they tasted fine. Clean, and strong in beer flavor, I enjoyed it nicely. I found it to be much less sweet than other popular ales, like Bass, or Anchor Steam. The dryness made it more drinkable, but Lord Chesterfield holds his own with any European import, just like our boys in the Revolution.
The Yuengling Lager was as basic as beer comes, but it had one thing going for it- it was a beer’s beer. I had it from a bottle and in pints. Both were fine. This is a beer for the long haul, it can stand in for your Budweiser, but with a stronger hop character. I recommend the Lager highly.
On a cultural note, I discovered that in Philly, when one orders a pint, the bartender always asks if the patron wants, “The Big One.” There are two pint sizes. I guess for Philly, 16 oz just isn’t enough. Well, you can guess which size I ordered. This is the Belly after all. And from the looks of the bellies on the Philadelphians, most of them “Go large” as well.