wine by the color

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

So given the cancellation of the ski trip and my still-dicey medical situation, my cousin and I needed to find some alternate activities.

We decided to start with a history lesson. Museum? Monument? Nope, better. Today we traveled to Pottsville, Pa., home of America's Oldest Brewery.

Quite frankly, it's negligent that we haven't been there before. It took no more than 90 minutes to get there, which makes the lack of a previous visit simply embarrassing.

KT and I weren't sure we had the right place when we first drove by. It's very low-key, right in the middle of a residential neighborhood. It also doesn't look that big from the outside, which led us to wonder how such a small place could produce so much beer (knowing, of course, how much our family drinks of it, and knowing we're certainly not alone).

We got our answer to that, and many other questions, during the fine tour. The Pottsville brewery produces about 600,000 barrels of beer year. The Tampa facility produces 1.2 million barrels, and the new outfit in St. Clair, Pa., churns out 1.5 million barrels a year. Our tour guide did tell us that they are pretty much maxed out in terms of production, so unless they build/buy more facilities, they won't be expanding their distribution anytime soon.

A few interesting things we learned today:
-For more than 100 years, Yuengling used water from a natural spring five blocks from the brewery in its beer. For the past 40 years, they have used city water.
-The day Prohibition ended, Yuengling Brewery had a truckload of Winner Beer delivered to FDR at the White House.
-Yuengling means "Young Man" in German.
-Lager is apparently available in 22-ounce bottles, for which we'll be searching henceforth. Ten extra ounces of lager - what could be better?
-There used to be a Yuengling dairy across the street from the brewery, which made ice cream until 1981.
-The caves under the brewery were closed for many years but re-opened for Yuengling's 175th anniversary two years ago. They were so popular they remained open (and they are really cool).
-Anyone 21 and older is welcome to sample two of Yuengling's beers after the tour. We were sad it was only two, although that's completely understandable, because we'd still be in the brewery's bar.

Perhaps the most surprising thing was how many people were there. Given that it was a quiet Monday, I thought there would be a handful of folks at most taking the tour. Actual number? 26.

I think I've gotten my issues with Yahoo photos fixed, so you should be able to find a gallery from today's visit here.

History can be educational, interesting and fun. And sometimes comes with free beer. Should you find yourself near Pottsville in the near future, I'd highly recommend making a stop.


  • At 12/19/2006 7:22 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    When do you work?

  • At 12/19/2006 9:42 AM, Blogger jersey girl said…

    A fine question. I work almost every day, including weekends and holidays, from June to October. Thus, I work very little in November and December.

  • At 12/19/2006 9:57 AM, Blogger freakgirl said…

    mmmmm, beer.

  • At 12/19/2006 2:17 PM, Anonymous Lake said…

    I did that tour about 15 years ago - it looks like nothing's changed! The bar visit at the end was most delightful. I too would recommend everyone making the trip!


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