America’s oldest brewery is in a mountainous town of Pottsville, PA. It’s no surprise why D.G. Yuengling settled here in 1829 once you hear about the cave. Yes, back in early 1800s, there was no refrigeration and cave being constantly at 42F degrees was perfect for beer fermentation.
View of Pottsville from the gift shop of Yuengling
Because there were structures on the ground level, explosives could not be used. The cave was completely dug out with hammer and chisel by many local miners who no longer had mining jobs in the late 1800s.
In 1919, during the prohibition of alcohol, the government ordered Yuengling to shut the cave down by building solid brick walls on both end of the cave, thinking this would stop the company from making the beer. Of course, this was really just government’s wishful thinking, LOL. The proof was here: the morning after the prohibition was lifted, the brewery celebrated by producing “Winner Beer” and delivered to President FDR and a thank-you gift. We all know it takes over a month to make beer!
During the prohibition, alcohol was banned in general with just one exception, Porter to sooth a sick kid. Only a nursing mother could get the prescription and then the beer.
The brewery Rathskeller was built as workers’ lunch room. Beer was part of lunch daily, so there was no shortage of labor for the brewery.
Storage kegs from the old days, people manually lift these kegs which can weight over 250lb.
New keg designed for robots which are doing all the moving and lifting nowadays.
Tour of Brewing Process
We were lucky during the tour. The production ended early that day, so we got to tour the actual brewing facility. With only 6 people in the group, I got to take pictures of almost every little (or big) things.
In today’s digital world, it’s refreshing to see this working communication station with pencil and paper recording of daily process, manual speaker to send messages, etc.
Chandelier made out of Yuengling beer bottles.
Beer Tasting Station
I am not much of a beer drinker. Premium on tap was very refreshing, and it’s light enough for me. They also serve a non-alcoholic drink called Dark Birch for non-drinkers. It’s somewhat like root beer, but much better tasting in my opinion.
No trip is complete with a souvenir and Yuengling Premium Draft, which I was told was rarely served outside of the tasting room.