When you think about beer, what American city comes to mind? Of course, most of you would think about the city of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It is the home of the Milwaukee Brewers, a professional baseball team that plays at Miller Field, and many beer companies like Miller Brewing Company have their headquarters here. Many years ago, the Milwaukee Road (a railroad company) ran rail lines that connected these different breweries. (You can watch a video about the ‘Beer Line’ here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ie_mJu0-js. The video is courtesy of the Center of Railroad Photography and Art.) Then you have Anheuser Busch in Saint Louis, Missouri, the company that brought you Budweiser. You also have the Coors Brewing Company in Golden, Colorado, a suburb of Denver. As much as we think of Milwaukee, Saint Louis, and Denver as the meccas of American beer, the American beer industry did not begin in any of these cities.
Welcome to Pottsville, Pennsylvania, the home of Yuengling Brewery, the oldest brewery in the United States of America. It all began when a man named David Yuengling, in 1829, built the Eagle Brewery in the town of Pottsville, Pennsylvania. Many beers were brewed here until a fire burned it down, and a new brewery was built. The brewery was named D.G. Yuengling and Son, Incorporated when his son joined him as a partner. When David Yuengling died in 1877, the brewery did not die with him, but it continued, and it continues today, and it is owned and operated by David Yuengling’s descendants. Today, Richard Yuengling Jr. is the owner of the brewery, and his four daughters work for the company. The company continues to have it headquarters and continues to operate out of Pottsville with the structure built by David Yuengling, a second brewery in Pottsville, and there is a brewery in Tampa, Florida. So, when you think of beer. Do not think of Milwaukee, Saint Louis, or Denver. Think of a small town in the central part of the U.S. state of Pennsylvania.
Some of you are saying, “This is so cool. I love beer. I always thought of Milwaukee as the mecca of American beer. I never knew that Pottsville, Pennsylvania was the birthplace of American beer. I learned something new. However, there is a problem here. As you can see, something is missing. What is missing? This is a brewery where beer is brewed. There is no railroad here. Therefore, you will not see me doing ‘bottoms up’ here.”
So, you do not want to come here because this is not a railroad place. There is a reason to visit the Yuengling Brewery in Pottstown, Pennsylvania.
Welcome to Yuengling Brewery in Pottsville, Pennsylvania. As you arrive, you enter the gift shop. Here, you can buy Yuengling Beer and beer glasses and shirts and so many other items. Behind the gift shop is a small museum. In the museum, you will see the brewery process from the harvesting of the hops to the arrival at the brewery to the brewery process to the completion to the shipping process. As you look around, you will see some model trains.
Some of you are saying, “Wait a minute. Model trains?”
No, they do not run, but they are on display in the museum, and they boxcars, the tank cars, the passenger cars, and the locomotives have the Yuengling logo.
Some of you are saying, “That is nice, but what does Yuengling Beer have to do with the railroad?”
D.G. Yuengling and Son, Incorporated uses the railroad to ship its beer to towns and cities across the United States of America. Although you will not see any trains at the headquarters in Pottsville, but the other Pottsville brewery and the Tampa brewery does use the railroad. Beer is put onto boxcars and shipped to wherever it needs to go. (The second Pottsville brewery is not open to the public.)
Although with the gift shop and museum, you can also take a tour of the brewery, and samples are offered at the end of the tour. Please note that you must be at least 21 years old to taste the samples. Please note that you do not have to be a beer lover to enjoy a day at the Yuengling Brewery.
The historic Yuengling Brewery is located at 420 Mahantongo Street in Pottsville, Pennsylvania. It is a short drive from U.S. Route 209, seven miles south of Interstate 81, and twelve miles north of Interstate 78. It is open year-round, but hours vary through the year. There is no cost for the tour. Parking is available behind the brewery. (There is a steep hill from the parking lot to the brewery entrance. Street parking is available on Mahantongo Street, but it is metered.) Although the gift shop and brewery are wheelchair accessible, the brewery tour is not, and there are many stairs to climb. (Flip flops, sandals, and any open toed shoes are prohibited.) You can get more information about the Yuengling brewery to include a history timeline, and you can read more into the history and get information about hours, plus you can purchase items from their online store at https://www.yuengling.com/.
You have Milwaukee, Wisconsin. You have Saint Louis, Missouri. You have Golden, Colorado. It all began in Pottsville, Pennsylvania by a man, and his descendants continue the brewery to this present day. Come taste a beer that departs the brewery by train. Come enjoy a day at America’s oldest brewery and taste America’s oldest beer. Bottoms up.