Yuengling Chesterfield Ale 2404b

11 ratings (11 Epinions reviews)
Epinions Product Rating: Very Good
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Good Lord!

Jun 24, 2001
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:One of a very few mainstream beers with real hops; price.

Cons:That little whiff of skonk; green glass; regional availability.

The Bottom Line: Different enough for drinkers with broad tastes, mild enough for mainstream drinkers, a beer with a potentially much wider audience. Try one, and see if you're in it.


A Lager in sheep's clothing; pale but powerful.

This beer is a lying SOB.
It's not an ale at all, it's a lager, just like everything else brewed at Yuengling [say "YING-ling"]. To the best of my knowledge, no one at the brewery knows which Lord Chesterfield the beer is named for...if it really is named for any at all. How deceitful!

Who cares? As a budding beer geek in eastern PA in the early 1980s, Lord Chesterfield Ale ("Chet Ale") was as close as I could get to the more exotic imports for the money I had. It was a favorite then, I still drink it now, and I love it for what it IS, not what it says it is.

What is it? Definitely not a mainstream beer, despite Yuengling generally being considered a mainstream brewer. Chet Ale is the hoppiest brand of Vitamin Y made, and you whiff it as soon as you pop the cap on one of these green beauties.

Chet's bright gold in color, not whiz-yellow, a real pilsner gold with a bright white head. You'll get a brief skunky whiff at first; it's the hop choice. Let it sit a minute and it will clear if you don't have a light-struck bottle. What's left is a clean aroma of pale malt and a light grassiness. The beer has a surprising amount of body, and real hops. You can feel the bitter underpull of the hops as it tows you right into the finish. Beware of giving into that automatic urge to have another. Chet is also the strongest beer Yuengling brews, at about 5.5%.

Yuengling's always been more than just another regional beer factory; beers like this are the reason. Chet Ale, Porter, Black & Tan, even the Lager, are all different from the fare you'll find on most other pre-Prohibition breweries' sales cards. Yuengling has made it work, and this part of the country is the richer for it.

This is the preferred beer for 'roll-your-own' Black & Tans in the real Yuengling country northwest of Reading, PA. That's the territory where you'll find Chet Ale and Yuengling Premium out-numbering Yuengling Lager bottles and taps in local bars.

Luckily, I know a place in Philly where the normal rules stand on their head. The Standard Tap, a fabulous bar in the Northern Liberties (901 N. 2nd St.) that serves only local, draft beers (along with an eclectic spirits selection and a small, very interesting wine list), has a tap of Lord Chesterfield. It's installed in the 1960's-era refrigerator jammed into the center of the backbar, defiantly serving Yuengling-thirsty Philadelphians a Yuengling different from the Lager they are used to.

That's what this is; a different breed of Yueng. It's refreshingly bitter, but still light enought to refresh. So I wasn't really surprised to find bottles of Lord Chesterfield grouped around a BIG platter of jambalaya on a Preservation Hall Jazz Band album about 15 years ago. Perfect beer for the moment and the menu; light for the heat, brisk for the food.

Praise the Lord!


Recommend this product? Yes

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