Yuengling beer is one of Pennsylvania’s best-known and most-beloved products, right up there with Hershey’s chocolate and Zippo lighters.
And since 1829, the Yuengling family has been brewing beer in Pottsville, Schuylkill County, earning Yuengling the title as “America’s Oldest Brewery”!
What’s even better is that you can take a free one-hour guided tour of this historic and still very-much active brewery in Pottsville, AND get a few free beer samples at the end of the tour!
You can find the most up-to-date information about the tour rules and hours of operation on the official Yuengling website, but I’ll give you a brief photographic overview of what you can expect to see, hear, smell, and taste on the Yuengling brewery tour!
Exploring the Yuengling Museum
Your tour will start across the street from the historic brewery in the equally historic Yuengling Dairy building, constructed in 1920 to help the company survive Prohibition (which lasted from 1919 until 1933).
This building, which now houses the Yuengling museum, gift shop, and tasting room (where the tour ultimately ends), was once used to produce products such as Yuengling ice cream.
The museum is located at 420 Mahantongo St, Pottsville, PA 17901, and there is free parking on a large gravel lot behind the dairy building, as well as metered street parking up and down the street if the free lot is full.
I registered for a spot on the next tour at the cash register in the gift shop, then proceeded to check out the museum while I waited for the tour to start.
There I found a wealth of information about the founding family of Yuengling Brewery, as well as many examples of Yuengling bottles, cans, labels, and advertising memorabilia from over the years.
The gift shop adjacent to the museum has just about anything and everything the Yuengling enthusiast could want!
When the announcement was made that my tour was starting, I made my way back to the area near the entrance to the dairy, and our tour guide led us across the street to the historic red brick Yuengling Brewery.
Exploring the Yuengling Brewery
We entered the brewery at the street level, and immediately the sweet smell of Yuengling beer enveloped us.
Descending a flight of stairs, we entered into the subterranean “beer caves”– hand-dug tunnels where Yuengling beer was aged in the era before mechanical refrigeration.
The tunnels are cool (but not too cold), so if you are easily chilled you may want to take a light jacket or hoodie along for this part of the tour.
Another interesting subterranean feature of the brewery was the Rathskeller, a generic German term for a tavern below street. Built in 1936, we were told by our tour guide that at one time the Rathskeller served as a break room for the brewery, in a time before OSHA when drinking on the job was permitted!
We made our way through more passageways beneath the brewery and saw where raw materials for the brewing process were stored.
Eventually we arrived at a more modern section of the brewery where cans of Yuengling Lager were being filled.
Our final stop was back across the street in the dairy building at the tasting room, where everyone 21 and older was allowed two free samples of Yuengling products, including some of their delicious birch beer if you preferred something non-alcoholic.
One interesting feature of the dairy building is a chandelier made of Yuengling bottles.
If you like DIY projects like I like DIY projects, this one deserves a place on your “I gotta try this” list!
Final Thoughts on Touring the Yuengling Brewery
Overall I found the entire experience of touring the Yuengling Brewery to be very interesting, and everyone working there was extra-friendly and accommodating.
Free admission, free beer, and a free history lesson into one of Pennsylvania’s oldest and most-successful business enterprisess – what’s not to love about the Yuengling Brewery tour in Pottsville?!
The Yuengling Mansion
Although it is not part of the official tour, just a few blocks up Mahantongo Street you’ll find the Yuengling Mansion, built in 1913.
The home was built by Frank Yuengling, the third generation Yuengling to run the brewery in Pottsville.
The Yuengling Mansion was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1979.
The Tudor-style mansion is located at 1440 Mahantongo Street, Pottsville, PA 17901.
The Yuengling Mansion was the first house to have a telephone and electricity in Pottsville, and is now used as the headquarters of the Schuylkill County Council for the Arts.
Fighter’s Heaven was the nickname Muhammad Ali gave to his rural Pennsylvania training camp, located just 6 miles south of the Yuengling Brewery near Deer Lake.
Ali trained for some of the biggest fights of his career, including the “Rumble in the Jungle” and the “Thrilla in Manila” at his compound here in Schuylkill County, and today Fighter’s Heaven has been lovingly restored and reopened for public tours.
Jerry’s Classic Cars and Collectibles Museum in Pottsville is a two-story, floor-to-ceiling display of classic cars and pop culture memorabilia, housed in a historic garage.
Located just a few blocks from the Yuengling Brewery, Jerry’s Museum is an eclectic and enjoyable trip back in time, well worth a few hours of your time when visiting Pottsville.
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