I remember when I first heard of Yuengling beer, I just assumed it was a Chinese beer. A few years later, I discovered that Yuengling is actually an American beer founded by the German brewer, David Gottlieb Jüngling (who later anglicized his surname from Jüngling to Yuengling) and it's brewery is located in Tampa, Florida.
We were looking for things to do in Tampa on a rainy Saturday and found that Yuengling offered free tours with complimentary samples! On Saturdays, the brewery offers two tours - one at 10:30am and the other at 12pm. We decided to take the 10:30am tour and there were already quite a few people ready to take the first tour of the day. Since there were so many people, they had to split the tour into two groups. Before we started the tour, we were told that open-toe shoes were prohibited, so we had to borrow some closed-toe shoes. If you aren't keen on borrowing shoes, definitely remember to wear closed-toe shoes.
The tour started outside with a brief history of Yuengling where we learned some interesting facts about the oldest operating brewing company in America. We had no idea that Yuengling was the top craft beer company in the US. One interesting tidbit about their iconic eagle logo was that they were sued by Anheuser-Busch for using the eagle but Yuengling was able to counter sue as they have been in business longer. Kind of weird that Anheuser-Busch didn't do their research before they sued them but after doing some research, looks like these two companies have had disputes about numerous other things for years.
Next, we headed to the brewery where we toured the massive facilities. Unfortunately, it was not in operation since it was a Saturday. If we had gone on the tour during the weekday, we would have seen all the action but our tour guide painted a pretty good picture for us on what goes on around the facilities. She was very knowledgeable and we came to find out that both her parents work at the Yuengling brewery as beer tasters. It sounded like a very solid job and an interesting one as she explained how their taste buds are a lot more sensitive compared to the average person.
We also got a tour of their lab but weren't allowed to take any photos in here. The lab actually had a really vintage vibe to it. We were expecting tons of state of the art computers and lab materials but instead it looked like an old high school science lab from the late 80's. Our tour guide explained some things that go on in the lab and how they test for new beers. She also passed around some hops and let us examine and smell it.
As we moved along the facility, we were given a history of the owners and what was the best beer to buy in terms of freshness. One interesting fact we learned was that, contrary to popular belief, canned beer is more fresh than bottled beer. Bottled beer is exposed to light, whereas, canned beer isn't. The more beer is exposed to light, the closer it gets to being spoiled. So if you ever see beer stacked outside in the light you'll want to avoid purchasing those beers. Beer is highly sensitive to light, so the next time you buy beer, it's best to buy canned beer that is stored in the back where it's dark.
The tour lasted about 45 minutes, which we felt was just the right amount of time. After the tour, we headed back to the entrance for the free beer tasting. This is always the best part of beverage tours. Usually, you're given three free beer samples but since we weren't able to see the production in action, we were given an extra beer sample.
The tour guides poured the beer samples for us and we tried the Black & Tan, the Golden Pilsner, Lord Chesterfield and the Porter. We were surprised that the Black & Tan was their lighter beer as it was really dark in color and we're used to darker beers being more heavy. The Black & Tan combines 60% of their popular Dark Brewed Porter and 40% of their Premium Beer. It reminded us of New Castle and was, by far, our favorite tasting beer from Yuengling.
We enjoyed our free tour and were glad we had this activity to do on a rainy day. It was also thoughtful of Yuengling to offer an extra sample since we were not able to see the production in action.
A FEW TIPS:
- Wear closed-toe shoes
- If you want to see the production, visit on a weekday; otherwise you get an extra beer sample on the weekends
- Tastings are only open to the legal drinking age, so bring your ID
YUENGLING BREWERY TOUR
ADDRESS: 11111 N 30th St., Tampa FL
MON -FRI 10AM, 11:30AM, 1PM | SAT 10:30AM & 12PM