America’s Oldest Brewery: The Yuengling Factory

The oldest brewery in America built in 1829 and is still owned by the Yuengling family (5 generations). Located 1.5 hours away from Williamsport in a little miner’s town called Pottsville. Beautiful drive through the Poconos Mountains to get there.

The tour starts in their gift shop like most brewery tours do, but then you go across the street into their original brewing facility and down these dingy stairs to where they hand-dug tunnels (yes, tunnels!) 100 feet underground in order to store, keg, and bottle their beer. These tunnels are wet, dark, and 40 degrees all year long so the beer would never go bad no matter what the temperature was above ground. They require you to wear closed-toed shoes and for good reason! Out of the 25+ breweries I’ve visited, this is the only one where you can get up close and personal with how they used to produce beer.

The Yuengling Factory does not try to clean up their brewery for the tour. If you want clean and orderly, stay in the gift shop. Brewing beer is a messy process, especially in the 1800’s and Yuengling doesn’t hide it, which is the best part about this tour. You see the bottling lines, the tunnels/caves where they kept the beer, and the workers are bumping elbows with you as you walk right through their work space.

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As for the beer: Most of us have had the Yuengling Traditional Lager before. You know what you’re getting there. They also produce a seasonal Oktoberfest, Black & Tan, Lord Chesterfield (“Chetty”), Porter and Hefeweizen. The Porter and Black & Tan are the only ones that are decent at best. Yuengling’s beer doesn’t really stand up to any craft breweries nowadays, but it’s been around forever and the tour is the most unique brewery tour I’ve been on to date! 

*Side Note: During Prohibition, they actually produced Yuengling ice cream to keep the doors open while they couldn’t sell alcohol. They just started producing the ice cream again recently and it is delicious!

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