Yuengling Traditional Lager

June 25, 2008

4.4% ABV from a draught beer tower

Based on pure conjecture, my most drunk beers of all time:

Honorable mentions: Labatt Blue, Brooklyn Lager, Stone Arrogant Bastard, Dogfish Head Sixty Minute, Sparks, Pabst Blue Ribbon (NYC hipster special makes it always $2 a can!), and all macros and their crappy light counterparts.

5. Milwaukee’s Best (aka “Beast”) (years drunk 1997-May 21, 2001) — The “house” beer in college. I didn’t drink a lot of beer in college, especially my freshman through junior years, but if beer was being drunk, it was this shit. We drank it in cans, bottles, pitchers, kegs, funnels, any fucking way possible. The day I graduated, I knew my lips would never come close to this vile brew again. And they haven’t. This beer made me hate beer so much in my formative years that I nearly never learned to love it.

4. Heineken (2000-2001) — In my Heineken entry I discuss how I started drinking this beer senior year of college because I thought it made me look cool, especially compared to my Beast-swilling cohorts. Bad times. And a bad beer to boot.

3. Guinness (heavily from 2001-2004, sporadically from 2004-present) — Upon leaving college, I needed to find something to drink. And, since I was living amongst tons of Irish in Hoboken, New Jersey, this seemed like a good place to start. Seven of these on a Monday night of dicking around and I’d be feeling fine. Then, I’d do the same thing Tuesday night, and Wednesday night, and Thursday night, etc. Yeah, I was a profligate during that era. I’m not sure why I slowed down on drinking this other than that I’ve found plenty of more beers I like better. Nowadays, I pretty much only order one if I’m drinking at a bar before noon or having some rounds with my Irish buddies.

2. Bud Light (1997 to, unfortunately, the present) — I really don’t like this beer at all. But it goes down easy, you can polish off a zillion of them in a night, and it’s dirt cheap at bars. Why do I continue to drink it nowadays? Probably because the bar I go to twice a week from November to March to root on the Syracuse Orangemen basketball team serves pitchers of it for $6. Oh, and if you’re lucky enough to be there on Wednesday nights, there’s a beer pong special and pitchers are only a quarter. So, even though I don’t like this beer, even though it makes me gain 30 pounds every winter, even though it gives me wicked hangovers, and even though I’m usually drinking it from dirty Solo cups laced with floor detritus from filthy beer pong balls, I know come November and season tip-off, I will unfortunately be drinking this shit again.

1. Yuengling (years drunk 2001-present)

I have drank so much of this motherfucking beer. Yet, I didn’t even know what it was in college. I heard my friends from Pennsylvania always talking about it, saying their pops drank it, but I just assumed it was some exotic Chinese beer, what with the weird name and all. Only after college did I learn that it was straight out of Pottsville, PA and courtesy of America’s oldest brewery.

I begun drinking it because my first “real world” roommate was a prodigious drinker out of Scranton, PA and he introduced me. In Scranton, and in most of Pennsylvania, they don’t even call the beer Yuengling, they simply call it “lager.” Watch your Pennsylvania friends go to a bar anywhere on the East coast and ask for a “lager.” The bartenders will look at them crazy. “OK, you want a lager. But which one?” Only if a fellow Pennsylvanian is manning the taps will they know that there is only one lager. To these folks at least. Funnily enough, Beer Advocate doesn’t even classify Yuengling as a straight lager, calling it an American amber/Red lager instead.

Any how, I began drinking Yuengling because in the NYC area it was priced as rock bottom cheaply as the American macros but it tasted so much better to me. Only now do I realize that it was a weak 4.4% ABV and a 22-year-old Aaron probably liked that. I drank so many of these fresh out of college. Heck, I usually drank an entire six-pack of Yuengling before going out on a Friday and Saturday night–probably a good reason I never picked up woman once getting to the bar!–before drinking more drafts of Yuengling once out on the town.

It’s virtually impossible for me to review this beer any more because I have gone past my capacity for drinking it. Wilt Chamberlain surely got sick of fucking, and I have finally gotten sick of Yuengling. It came to a head on Saturday when my friends and I ordered a “beer tower” of Yuengling at the great Lansdowne Road. A beer tower is literally what it sounds like: a poorly washed out clear PVC (?) tube connected to a base from which a group of friends can spigot themselves pints of beer. I think the tower holds maybe 10 pints in it. I felt like a Spring Breaker with it at my table, but it is fun to order one for novelty purposes.

Lagers are typically cheap beers made with low-level hops. It’s why most macros are considered lagers. But Yuengling always seemed better than the Buds, Coors, and Millers of the world. Even sick of the brew I still have to admit it’s tons more flavorful than the aforementioned. Malty, nice red amber taste, and creamy, though not much hops, and nowadays I’ve come to realize it’s far too thin and watery. Being better than the “famous” American macros is just not good enough for me any more. Especially when I can get Brooklyn Lager and Sam Adams pints for similar prices if I’m drinking “on the cheap” for the evening.

I used to loooooooooove this beer, but the love affair is finally over.

Yuengling. Years drunk: 2001 to 2008.