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Six Pennsylvania Beers for Yuengling Defectors

Yuengling Defectors
Dan Bortz

Beer drinkers in 32 states may have never been exposed to D.G. Yuengling & Son, but the Brewers Association distinction of craft independent brewers, the North Eastern regional brewing legend (especially in Pennsylvania) is currently the country’s largest craft brewery. This family-owned brewing company’s Pottsville location began production in 1829 and is the oldest continuously operating brewery in America. Fifth-generation owner Dick Yuengling made waves recently by informally endorsing Donald Trump during Eric Trump’s visit to the brewery on Oct. 25, which led to a flood of Yuengling defectors, because you know… politics.

“Our guys are behind your father. We need him in there.”
– Dick Yuengling

Yuengling Defectors
Dick Yuengling meets with Eric Trump. (Photo courtesy of

The company has had less-than-positive union relations and Dick has gone so far as to threaten to close the “Oldest Brewery in America” and move production to a right-to-work state. In a place like Pottsville, where many historic labor battles were fought and won, this anti-labor sentiment has put a foul taste in many mouths and led to a boycott in 2013. Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf, a Democrat, also banned Yuengling products from his inauguration in 2015.

The endorsement wasn’t surprising, but it still came with quick ramifications. In the wake of Dick Yuengling’s statement, beer drinkers have begun a boycott of Yuengling beers. Many restaurants and bars in Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. have removed it from their taps as well.


So what should the Yuengling defectors—or those caught without their favorite beer on tap—drink now? We compiled a list of six Pennsylvania beers for Yuengling defectors.


Churchville Lager | Neshaminy Creek Brewing Co.


Yuengling Defectors
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ABV 4.9% | IBU 20

If you’re looking for something to fill the void created by your boycott of Yuengling Traditional Lager, this Vienna-style lager will hit the spot. This crisp, amber-colored lager goes down smooth with a Munich and Vienna malt backbone and a bitter bite from Tettnang hops. Churchville Lager comes complete with street cred, having won a gold medal at the Great American Beer Festival in 2013.


Helles Lager | Victory Brewing Co.

Yuengling Defectors
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ABV: 4.8%

This German-style helles (bright) lager will make you wonder why you ever drank Yuengling in the first place. Made with German malts and European hops, this clean, easy-drinking, light-colored lager will refresh you from the first drop to the last. The German-trained brewmasters at Victory hit the nail on the head with this brew.


Dead Reckoning Porter | Tröegs Independent Brewing

ABV: 5.9% | IBU: 57

Yuengling Defectors
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If you’re looking for something dark and roasty to replace Yuengling Porter, Tröegs Dead Reckoning is a prime candidate. You’ll enjoy the combination of chocolatey malts and earthy hop bitterness in this GABF medal-winner (silver in 2009 and bronze in 2008). It’s only released once a year, so make sure you stock up!


Penn Gold | Penn Brewery

Yuengling Defectors
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ABV: 4.5% | IBU: 20

Another great choice to replace Yuengling Premium Beer is Penn Gold. This German-style helles lager is light, crisp and smooth … and what else do you really need? With four GABF gold medals and one bronze, this beer has a history of high praise.


Paideia Pale Ale | St. Boniface Craft Brewing Co.

Yuengling Defectors
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ABV: 5.0%

This single-hopped American Pale Ale will make you forget all about Yuengling Lord Chesterfield Ale. Citra hops give this beer a bright, citrusy hop profile, while the malt bill balances everything out perfectly. A hint of hop bitterness on the finish rounds this beer out perfectly.


IC Light | Pittsburgh Brewing Co.

Yuengling Defectors
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ABV: 4.2%

This beer is not craft. It is basically a run-of-the-mill light lager, but it is pretty much your only PA alternative if you were a lover of Yuengling Light Beer. This lager fits in with all those other fizzy, pale yellow brands on the market, but it is made in PA and it is union-made. So if you dislike Yuengling and Trump’s sentiments toward organized labor, this beer would be a fine replacement.


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