So, it finally happened: Yuengling beers are now in the Louisville area. All you Yuengling fans can rejoice and go buy case upon case of this often-elusive Pennsylvania-brewed lager.
Last week, Wick’s Pizza in New Albany held a launch party with some bigwigs from the brewery, and The Keg Liquors is already announcing on social media that the beer will be available this week.
For years, I’ve heard talk of “when will we have Yuengling?” There were murmurs, when Rhinegeist Brewing of Cincinnati was trying to launch its own distributorship in Northern Kentucky a couple of years ago, that Yuengling would come to Kentucky. That plan didn’t pan out, and we remained Yuengling-free.
For those who might not know, Yuengling Lager is sort of a legendary creature, kind of like Bigfoot. It certainly has the pedigree, as it touts itself as “America’s oldest brewery,” established all the way back in 1829. And it has been a regional brewery all its life, only beginning to trickle into the South (there is now a Yuengling brewery in Florida) and moving slowly west in recent years.
Imagine some college guy in the middle of, say, Illinois, who lives a state away from any White Castle, and he just has to have White Castle hamburgers, so he and his buddies drive 200 miles to get a dozen sliders.
I’ve heard similar stories about Yuengling.
Indeed, until Yuengling began distributing in Georgia a few years ago, when my cousin would come to town, he would stop in Tennessee and load up his trunk with as much Yuengling Light as he could fit. He drank it while here, and then on the way back home would stop in Tennessee for more. Why? It wasn’t available in Georgia at the time, and he loved the stuff. Needed it.
What I find interesting is this: Yuengling is only so-so beer. It’s a decent, traditional German lager, but certainly not warranting such crazed devotion. Heck, and don’t even get me started on the brewery’s presidential endorsements (I hate to name names, but I will say the candidate’s surname rhymes with rump). Yet scarcity in this area — and, obviously, others — have helped make the beer legendary to some.
But what happens when it’s readily available, when it becomes commonplace to see Yuengling in the neighborhood liquor store? Does it go the way of New Belgium’s Fat Tire, which was a similar white whale to Louisvillians in the late 2000s before it could be found all over town? It’s still good beer, but the buzz is long gone.
The truth is, there are other, better lagers and similarly light-in-body beers being made right here in Louisville. Have you had Goodwood’s Louisville Lager? What about the revamped Fehr’s XL now on draft at Akasha Brewing? I’ll take either one of those over Yuengling, and not just because they’re local — I honestly believe they are better beers. Or, maybe, I’m just bitter because when I went to Pittsburgh 10 years ago with my friend Rob, I was drinking Iron City, so he started buying me Yuengling out of spite.
Regardless, congrats to those of you who have waited for this day for years or decades — this is your time, and I sincerely hope you enjoy it. And you’re welcome to have all the Yuengling I won’t be drinking.
Holsopple is open and pouring good stuff
Just a reminder that Louisville’s latest craft brewery, Holsopple Brewing, is now open in Lyndon. Try the Aloupa, an American pale ale named in honor of Louisville (think a-lou-pa), and Paula’s Pilsner, which is also better than Yuengling. And on Friday afternoons, noon-4 p.m., owner and brewer Sam Gambill will hold court in the taproom, pouring pints and talking all things brewing and beer.
3rd Turn to host AtG tap takeover March 9
Against the Grain will be taking over the taps at 3rd Turn Brewing in Jeffersontown this week. On Thursday, March 9, you’ll be able to get AtG’s delicious 70K, an imperial stout so big that you might need a knife and fork.
It’s worth the drive just for a pour of that, but 35k stout, 70k’s little brother, will be tapped, as well as Rico Sauvin, an IPA brewed with Nelson Sauvin hops; Bloody Show, a blood orange pilsner; and Pomme & Grabbit, a ginger and pomegranate wheat ale.
And while you’re there, check out 3rd Turn’s new Hop Farmer IPA. (It’s true, Against the Grain won’t be taking over all the taps — just a few.)