Friday, September 29, 2006

Friday's overrated beer: Yuengling Lager

I live in Western New York, a region that until three years ago had but a cursory knowledge of Yuengling beers. You could get the lager at about two restaurants, as well as our local beer superstore, but that was pretty much it.

Yuengling, however, made a huge marketing push in our area for their Traditional Lager. Bars had the lager on special all the time, at insanely low prices. Because people are sheep, it soon became the order du jour when out on the town. The campaign was extremely effective, especially among young adults.

Yuengling is America's oldest brewery. That gives them all the street cred they need, but they can't really get a pass for their lager. It's not thin or watery, but it is full of that delicious corn adjunct flavor. Corn corn corn corn corn.

You see, barley, the grain from which beer is made, is a more expensive cereal than corn. So less discriminating breweries use corn to kinda round out the barley. Sometimes you can barely taste it. Other times, as in the case of Yuengling, the corn flavor and aroma grabs you by the nose and shakes you.

Oh, by the way, the Indians call it maize.

So, while not a terrible beer, it's cheaper and worse than the yuppies who order it think. That's why I consider Yuengling Lager overrated. I like my corn, err..maize, on the cob, not in the pint glass.



ScottM said...

I spend a lot of time in Maryland since that's where my sister lives, and Yuengling is all over the place there. My brother-in-law always has it in stock. I agree with your comments regarding the quality of the beer; it's just "OK" as far as I'm concerned; not the nastiest swill I've ever chugged down (that award goes to Golden Anniversary, which I'm sure you remember from those heady penny-pinching post-adolescent days of the early 90's....) but certainly not the greatest thing my tastebuds have ever encountered. I won't pass up a free bottle of Yuengling when it is handed to me, but I won't exactly do cartwheels for joy either. Is it better than stark sobriety? Yes, but that's like saying a dish of plain boring rice is better than hunger pains.

Sparkle Anne said...

I used to enjoy it. But then it started tasting too sweet. STEEELLLAAAAAA is my ber of choice of late. About brewtopia...

Bill said...

As far as the "big brews" go, I think that Yuengling is one of the least offensive. It does have at least a smooth taste, and though it does have not adhere to the Reinheitsgebot, it is a pretty decent commerical beer.

Now, don't get me wrong, I would rather take a Middle Ages, Stone, Dogfish Head, Smutty, Lagunitas, or what have you, but if you have to slum it in a local townie bar, you could do a lot worse than a Yinger.

Anonymous said...

I agree. Yuengling lager is overated. I live in PA 45 mins away from the brewery and it is a rave here. It is at every party and every bar. It is overrated. Gimme a Sam Boston Lager please.

Captain Hops said...

Now wait a minute... If you think Yeungling is overrated, your expectations are way too high.

Yeungling isn't a craft brew. It isn't trying to be. It costs less than half as much.

You get a pitcher of Yeungling at the bowling alley. You buy a case of Yeungling cans for the boat. You buy a bunch of Yeungling bottles when you have the guys over for a poker game. You don't buy Yeungling to impress people, you buy it because payday isn't until Friday.

You can't compare Yeungling to Dogfish Head or even Sam Adams. You compare it to Budweiser. And if you put out a case of Yeungling and a case of Budweiser at a party, the Yeungling will be gone first because it tastes better. As an added bonus it is much cheaper than Budweiser. The fact that it is the oldest brewery in the US is just a cool factoid.

I like beer. I am a certified hop head. But you have to judge your beers for what they are. Not for what you want them to be.

(Disclaimer: I don't know how they are marketing Yeungling in New York. If they are trying to be a micro up there, then they should really rethink their tactics.)