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Turns out politics are a lot like hops — too much makes a beer turn bitter.
Yesterday, Dick Yuengling came out swinging for Donald Trump. A report in the Reading Eagle detailed Eric Trump’s tour of Yuengling’s Pottsville, Pa. brewery, during which the billionaire beer CEO told him, “Our guys are behind your father. We need him in there.”
It’s not like the patriarch of America’s oldest brewery (est. 1827) previously kept his political leanings secret. He’s a lifelong Republican who has helped lobby for union-busting legislation. He called out President Obama for not serving US-made beer at his famous “Beer Summit” with Sgt. James Crowley and Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr., and refused to acknowledge when Obama changed his tune and declared Yuengling his favorite brew a few years later.
But being a Republican in 2016 is not the same thing as supporting Trump (just ask US Sen. Pat Toomey). And when news got out that the owners of Yuengling were firmly seated on the Trump Train, legions of beer drinkers were horrified.
Renouncements of the brand proliferated across Twitter at a brisk clip, with hundreds lamenting they’d have to give up their favorite brew.
There’s no guarantee the Trump thing will actually affect sales. So far, Pa. Rep. Brian Sims is trying: Yesterday he called for a Yuengling ban in Philly’s Gayborhood. But boycotts are notoriously difficult to pull off.
Also, the best beer is the one in your hand — or the one that ends up in your hand when you ask your bartender for “a lager.”
But if you really do want to put your money where your tweet is and switch, here’s what to drink instead.
If you’re looking to stay malty
Yuengling brews several different kinds of beer, but Yuengling Lager is the label most are referring to when they mention the brand (it also makes up more than 80 percent of the brewery’s sales). Known as a Vienna-style or amber lager, it has a malty and slightly sweet body with very little hint of hops. If that’s the part you love, check out these similar alternatives:
- Brooklyn Lager (NY)
- Sam Adams Boston Lager (MA)
- Great Lakes Elliot Ness (OH)
- Heavy Seas Cutlass (MD)
- Abita Amber (LA)
If you’re looking to stay cheap
Another major selling point of Yuengling is that it’s cheap. That was the innovation that catapulted Dick Yuengling to success — creating a full-flavored, caramel-toned liquid (he was inspired by Boston Lager) but not slapping it with a premium price tag. If a high flavor-to-cost ratio is your main concern, a bottle of Yuengling will run close to these inexpensive options:
- Shiner Bock (TX)
- Stegmaier Amber Lager (PA)
- Negra Modelo (AB InBev)
- George Killian’s Irish Red (MillerCoors)
If you’re looking for easy drinking
For some, Yuengling’s best characteristic is its extreme smoothness — it goes down without you hardly noticing. Of course, once you get most of the way through a six-pack that can end up being an issue, but if you’re just looking to kick back with an easy crusher, here’s what to pick up instead:
- Yards Brawler (PA)
- Anchor Steam (CA)
- Pabst Blue Ribbon (WI)
- Leinenkugel’s Red (WI)
If you want to stay made in PA
Determined to drink local? Pennsylvania — and Philadelphia — is awash in amber lagers. Some good choices:
- Neshaminy Creek Churchville Lager (Croydon)
- Saucony Creek Kutztown Lager (Kutztown)
- Penn Pilsner (Pittsburgh)
- 2nd Story Brewing Fritzie’s Lager (Philadelphia)
- Manayunk Lager (Philadelphia)