Yuengling’s Traditional Lager is their flagship beer, an amber lager with a balanced, mildly sweet flavor profile and a light, refreshing mouthfeel. Yuengling is immensely popular in the American northeast, particularly around Pennsylvania.
Yuengling Traditional Lager has a light, caramel-esque flavor profile with plenty of biscuity sweetness and floral overtones. It is best categorized as an amber lager. It has a hint of bitterness, and is very easy to drink, with this lager’s success making Yuengling the United States’ biggest craft brewery.
Yuengling Traditional Lager is famous throughout the northeast, but it can be hard to get your hands on a bottle (or a “bomber” as it’s known to locals) in other parts of the country. In this article, we’ll take you on a flavor tour of the Yuengling Traditional drinking experience. We’ll consider the beer’s flavor, smell, appearance, and how Yuengling achieves the distinctive taste of this amber lager. Read on to become an expert on the flagship brew from America’s oldest brewery.
Most beer drinkers will tell you their first and foremost consideration is a beer’s flavor. Yuengling Traditional Lager has plenty of flavor, especially when compared with other American lagers. It has a distinct character and plenty of balance, sticking quite closely to the German amber lager brewing tradition that inspired Yuengling in the first place.
A sip of Yuengling Traditional Lager offers distinct notes of roasted caramel, with a soft, broad sweetness immediately washing over the palate. There is a mild amount of hoppiness, but nothing too bright or citrussy. As the beer moves toward the back of the tongue, it reveals some malty, biscuity notes not unlike that of a classic English ale, with a sweet, floral finish that lingers for more than a few moments. The beer’s caramel overtones persist throughout, offering balance to the other flavor notes present in the beer.
Although Yuengling Traditional Lager has more flavor than many other American lagers, it’s not overly bitter. Its IBU rating is only 12, which is not much higher than other American beers and significantly lower than many full-flavored European-style lagers and ales.
This bitterness does not overstay its welcome, however. The bitterness is neatly complemented, then obscured, by the beer’s overall sweetness. The pleasantly malty, biscuity sweetness of Yuengling Traditional Lager also overshadows any aftertaste. Drinkers accustomed to the crisp, dry finish of typical American lagers will be surprised to note how long the Traditional Lager’s slightly cloying sweetness lingers on the palate long after the final swallow.
Yuengling’s flavor profile overall is still quite light, but it’s much more full and balanced than any light beer. You could easily enjoy a few Yuenglings as you mow the lawn, and it suits warm weather much better than this beer’s darker color might otherwise imply.
The main flavor in this beer is its roasted caramel overtones, which linger in the aftertaste before being rejuvenated upon the next sip.
Yuengling Traditional Lager has an uncomplicated, light mouthfeel. It’s light and refreshing if a little more watery than this beer’s fuller flavor might imply. Its medium-light body and slight carbonation make this a very easy beer to drink. Although Yuengling Traditional Lager has a relatively dark color and plenty of flavor, this beer is definitely not heavy-bodied like some ales or porters. This is still an easy-drinking American lager, so its medium-light body makes Traditional Lager a pleasant drinking experience, especially in warm weather.
It’s not full-bodied enough to engender the dreaded “carpet tongue” after a few glasses, so it’s easy to picture oneself enjoying a couple of Yuengling Traditional Lagers on the porch on a hot summer’s day.
Yuengling Traditional Lager’s aroma is remarkably sweet, with some roasted notes and toasty biscuit coming through. There’s some fruity, hoppy sweetness to Yuengling Traditional’s smell, too, not unlike the smell of fresh, sweet apples.
The beer’s smell is significantly less robust and noticeable than its taste, but it still has enough character to let you know you’re drinking a well-flavored beer.
Yuengling Traditional Lager, as an amber ale, is noticeably darker than many other American beers. Its deep, coppery color looks very attractive in a glass, topped with a frothy, foamy white head.
Poured into a beer glass, Yuengling Traditional Lager produces minimal head, which quickly dissipates. The beer sitting below the head is a clear, dark red, immediately putting one in mind of leaves in fall. It offers some moderately lively effervescence that can be agitated when setting your beer glass down between sips. Overall, this is a fairly attractive beer with a deep, beautiful copper color.
Yuengling’s packaging is also quite distinctive. Its cream-and-burgundy color scheme on both bottles and cans recalls small-town signage in central Europe. The beer’s label is also adorned with an illustration of an eagle, its wings outstretched. This really emphasizes the beer’s strong American brewing heritage, firmly establishing that Yuengling is proud of its roots as America’s oldest brewery.
Yuengling Traditional Lager actually comes in quite a variety of packages. It is mostly sold in green bottles, but cans, brown quart bottles, and 24-ounce cans are also available. Once upon a time, it was sold in large 22-ounce bottles, which were known in the beer’s home state of Pennsylvania as “bombers”, but these are no longer available. However, the beer’s 24-ounce cans have supplanted these large bottles and are colloquially referred to as “cannons”. Yuengling Traditional Lager’s packaging definitely makes it feel like a craft beer, not a macrobrew, and leans heavily into the brand’s strong European-American brewing heritage.
Why Does Yuengling Traditional Lager Taste Like This?
Yuengling Traditional Lager channels the brewery’s German heritage, echoing the Vienna lager style that is popular in Europe to this day.
Vienna lagers were initially popularized in the early 19th century when brewer Anton Dreher learned of English brewing processes and used a smoke-free English kiln to mature beer under cold conditions. The resulting bottom-fermenting beer was remarkably clear, with a deep, beautiful amber color, and this type of beer became popular throughout continental Europe. Many German immigrants to the US in the 19th century brought their brewing knowledge and tastes with them, making the Vienna lager style popular in the US even as it dwindled in popularity at home.
Yuengling Traditional Lager is brewed using a combination of Cluster and Cascade hops, and Yuengling cites a “traditional recipe” in describing their brewing process for Traditional Lager.
Yuengling Traditional Lager History
Yuengling Traditional Lager is the brewery’s flagship beer. Yuengling is actually the United States’ oldest brewery, established in 1829. Yuengling is the Anglicisation of the name of its founder, David Jungling. Yuengling introduced their Traditional Lager in 1987, and it quickly became the brewers’ most popular offering. The Traditional Lager is so popular throughout the northeastern states of Pennsylvania, Delaware, and New Jersey that simply ordering a “lager” at a bar will get you a Yuengling Traditional.
Yuengling is today America’s largest wholly American-owned brewery and the sixth largest brewery overall in the United States. Yuengling operates two breweries in Pennsylvania, including its headquarters in Pottsville, and one brewery in Tampa, Florida. With the Tampa brewery’s opening, Yuengling is now available in other parts of the United States, with distribution extending to Texas, far from the beer’s humble origins in Pottsville, Pennsylvania.
Yuengling Traditional Lager Alcohol Percentage and Calories
Yuengling Traditional Lager has an ABV of 4.5% and 141 calories per 12oz serving. This is in keeping with most lagers, especially darker ones such as the Vienna style that Yuengling Traditional emulates.
What Do Other People Think?
It’s always worth looking at how others view a brew. Yuengling Traditional Lager has enjoyed enormous popularity in its home state of Pennsylvania for decades now, but how does it compare with other beers? We looked across the internet for reviews pertaining to this amber lager, weighted them, and determined an average score for Yuengling Traditional Lager in the table below.
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As you can see, Yuengling Traditional Lager’s average score of 7.56 is quite high. It enjoyed medium-to-positive reviews across the board, with many drinkers appreciating this beer’s relatively bold, complex flavor compared with other American lagers. The Traditional Lager’s easy drinkability and refreshing nature also appealed to many drinkers.
Some reviewers lamented Yuengling Traditional’s relatively conservative character compared with other dark beers, such as European Vienna lagers. However, overall reviews were positive, indicating that many beer drinkers appreciate this classic brew from America’s oldest brewery.
One Beeradvocate reviewer was positively glowing in their estimation of Yuengling Traditional Lager:
“Highly preferred over the BMC ( and their light versions too.) . This beer has more malty flavor than other macro adjuncts and is very easy to drink. This beer is tasty and cheap enough to be a fridge filler , give to your visitors and not have to apologize for it. Most bars and restaurants have it too. Not much smell and a little thin, but it delivers some malty sweetness with only a hint of bitterness. A very solid beer.”Source