Beer Review: Hershey’s Chocolate Porter (Yuengling Brewery)

Beer Review: Hershey’s Chocolate Porter (Yuengling Brewery)

Hershey’s Chocolate by Yuengling

This is going to be something different, and don’t expect much more of this kind of thing. I’m not a huge fan of doing the mainstream beers, and I definitely don’t want to be doing macro beers (so have no fear, no Naturdays review coming up or Bud Lite Platinum or whatever other BS their peddling).

Yuengling is Pennsylvania though, through and through. You walk into any bar in Pennsylvania and say ‘lager’ you are going to get a Yuengling. Simple as that really. So if I have to drink the “lesser” beers, or the “swill” or “macros” or “mainstream” or “lower quality but mass produced beers”, Yuengling is usually my go to. Over the other heavily distributed beers like Miller Lite, Coors, Bud, Corona, or Heineken. I am not above drinking macro and I’m not making this a beer snobbery post, I drink, and I’ll drink anything/everything if nothing else is available. For instance, family parties where say a brother in law has just Corona, I’ll drink the Corona. So be it.

At the Boneshire Brew Works 3rd Anniversary party on Friday night (which by the way, look for an upcoming joint blog post from both me and J. Doncevic) I was hanging out with J. Doncevic and we discussed this exact drink, and we also discussed Yuengling in general, and macro beers as a whole. He’ll be upfront with any of you who ask him, he takes his beer snobbery to a whole new level, and he’s damn proud of it. He was telling me he’s never had Miller or Coors or Bud and won’t, and would rather not drink at a party then drink those. My unabashedly candid alcoholism tells me to drink everything and anything if available – so I do. Different strokes; different folks. Nothing wrong with either approach (in my opinion). But we did have a consensus that Yuengling is craft (it is by definition of the Craft Brewer’s Association) and that we both are willing to drink it.

In the South Central PA area, primarily every Hershey bar/brewery, beer place, etc, as well as in Harrisburg, Hummelstown, Elizabethtown, etc, nearly every place that has a good enough distributor got this (the Chocolate Porter) on tap. Specifically Hershey, Hummelstown, and Harrisburg. The Warwick, the Bear’s Den, Hershey Biergarten, Primanti Brothers, Hotel Hershey, Boro Bar and Grill, Chick’s Tavern, Boneshire Brew Works, The Sturgis, Ted’s Bar and Grill, Arooga’s on 422, Arooga’s on 22, just to name a few places that carried this.

Most places even did a glass give away the first night of the tapping. I know Boneshire Brew Works did (thus the glass in the picture), as well as the Gin Mill in Lebanon did. Hershey Biergarten did as well and I believe the Primanti Bros. did also. It is a lovely glass, a nice tulip with the logo in gold on it, looks very lovely and is a nice drinking glass for stouts, porters, belgians, etc.

So, on Wednesday the 16th, Boneshire Brewery announced that they were going to be tapping a keg of the Hershey’s Chocolate Porter and giving away the glasses. I got done with work at 5:40 (NEO from my work) and went straight to the library to drop off books, and was going to be meeting a friend at Newfangled Brew Works, but stopped at Boneshire to try out the porter.

So let’s break down the beer thats basically taken the beer industry, Twitter, social media, and the internet by storm. The beer that all of your non-craft beer friends have been bugging you about and asking you about for your opinion of it. Well, now here you go, you can just point them to this article, because I’m sure I speak for everyone. ………I kid…. I kid.

Hershey’s syrup

I feel like I could just break down Hershey’s syrup and that would be all the review needs to be. A slightly alcoholic version of the syrup, and bam-o there you go, review done. But, its not quite that simple, and there are a few more subtle notes.

This does seem to be the point of contention, for some it tastes like the syrup, for some it tastes completely different, it seems theres two sides to the coin of this beer, and the multitude of my friends fall on both spectrum(s).

Beer: Hershey’s Chocolate Porter
Brewery: Yuengling Brewery (or D.G. Yuengling and Sons Brewing Company)
Style: Porter – American
ABV: 4.7%
Untappd Write-Up: Yuengling, America’s Oldest Brewery, and Hershey, America’s most iconic chocolate, are collaborating, for the first time in their history, to provide a once in a lifetime creation for their loyal fans to enjoy. America loves beer and America loves chocolate, so Yuengling and Hershey joined forces to bring the best of both worlds to their fans with a limited-edition Yuengling Hershey’s Chocolate Porter. This collaboration gives consumers the opportunity to savor and indulge in the unique beer from America’s Oldest Brewery and America’s most beloved chocolate brand.

Yuengling Hershey’s Chocolate Porter is a fresh take on Yuengling’s 200-year-old Dark Brewed Porter. Don’t miss your chance to enjoy, for a limited time only, America’s #1 craft brewery, Yuengling, come together with America’s most iconic chocolate brand, Hershey’s, for their first-ever collaboration — Yuengling Hershey’s Chocolate Porter.

Thats quite the marketing ad write-up right there. Gotta give an A+ to the ad team on this one, or at least a raise or something, that was a very well crafted (ah….. pun intended) and well made Untappd write-up for the beer. You can tell if a Brewery has a good marketing or ad-team with their social media presence, and things like a good Untappd write-up for their beers (like Troegs usually has a fantastic write-up, even for their Scratch beers) is a good sign of it; great Twitter posts, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, etc posts are always a good sign of a good marketing team which reflects well on a brewery as a whole.

So you have the oldest American brewery (left) and a staple of the East Coast (specifically North East Coast) dive bar, and the “most iconic” chocolate company in America teaming up to make a beer. Yuengling is the oldest brewery in America; by process of elimination. It wasn’t the oldest founded, it wasn’t the first founded, but it has survived through prohibition, and other stretches when most American breweries folded, by changing what they sold, how they sold, downsizing, upsizing, etc, and they are to be commended for how they were able to achieve and survive and thrive despite times like prohibition, etc.

Hershey’s is iconic, insofar as anyone from the United States has heard of it, if not had it. From Pennsylvania to California, from Maine to Texas, Hershey’s is distributed. And that’s not speaking internationally. I could go into the history of Hershey’s (or even Yuengling) and talk about how the company was started, by who, how they’ve grown, etc. I could talk about Hershey Park, Chocolate World, the town of Hershey in Derry Township, etc, but its all stuff we pretty much know, and its all stuff that’s not really necessary or relevant to the beer review. Suffice it to say that the write-up is pretty spot on despite everything; Yuengling and Hershey are both iconic. Perhaps some hyperbole but it is mostly true, and a sound argument, and a pretty remarkable thing for the two of them to hook up and collaborate on this beer.

The idea of these two brands hooking up and collaborating on a beer is pretty amazing and impressive in its own right. I don’t know what the process was; who contacted who; what the involvement was that each brand had (I can’t imagine Hershey had much say, I have to assume its kind of like how the write-up reads, that they took their recipe for their old Dark Porter and just added Hershey’s ingredients to it, and called it a day – it tastes that way as well). But its brilliant marketing and strategy plan, especially given the anniversary of Yuengling, and with Hershey doing their big launching of the new entrance to Hershey Park and everything.

But enough of all this gibberish and jibber-jabbing…. lets get onto the actual beer itself.

Chocolate Porter

Appearance is a typical porter, Razor Ramon hair black, full bodied, thick, like some entertainers of the evening. It has a nice head to it, foamy, bubbly, a good half-inch that dissipated with nice interspersed and varied bubbles. The foam has a light brown look to go with the richness of the beer.

Aroma is chocolate syrup… Hershey’s chocolate syrup to be exact. Like flipping the lid of the syrup container and immediately getting that whiff of it. You get malty roasty grains from the porter to go with it, but the chocolate smell overpowers much of that. This is fine, this is what its being billed as, and it works well for this.

Moving on to taste; once again the very first thing you are going to note and taste is the Hershey’s chocolate syrup. I’ve likened this to drinking an alcoholic version of the famous Hershey’s syrup. But even in that aspect, its not too much of it, since the ABV is only 4.7% anyway. So its not a boozy version of Hershey’s syrup thats for sure. There is some malt, some roast, some dark notes underneath the chocolate syrup abundance, but its pretty subtle and mute. The mouthfeel is heavy, its thick like a good porter, and it hangs and feels right in your mouth, all signs that the beer is well made. I think beyond the chocolate syrup, there is a blandness to the beer. The chocolate syrup wears thin on the taste as you start to sip, and then its just a kind of generic bland porter with not enough malt backbone to really keep the taste alive or to really hold the beer. The more you sip and drink it, the less notable and profound the chocolate syrup taste is, and the weaker the beer as a whole gets. This is in general a discussion of mass market beers typically; that they don’t usually have the most flavorful beers, the most robust character notes, that there is just an underlying general blandness to most beers, like Bud, like Coors, like Miller, like Yuengling lager, like Corona, or Heineken, etc, theres just a ‘blandness’ or ‘been there’ kind of taste. Like McDonald’s to your local diner or restaurant, might be a very apt comparison for that sake. There’s just a mute blandness that this beer takes on as you sip it more and the chocolate syrup dissipates more. …or perhaps I’m full of it and reading too much into things and have my head up my own…..

Either way on this beer, it has certainly gotten the beer universe a flutter for a while, from Twitter to Instagram, from your friends at work and family who know you like beer “so how was it” or “did you hear Hershey and Yuengling are teaming up?” to actual craft beer enthusiast nerdy hipsters willing to try it out, it has gotten the attention, and the marketing it was aimed and designed for.

Overall, its not the worst beer you are going to drink, you know the hype is overblown, like it usually is for anything; not even just the craft beer industry, but all aspects (stares at the latest Star Wars trailer…. I know what your game is….). Its worth seeking out for the novelty of it. I couldn’t imagine myself ordering this again, but it was acceptable, and a fine drink at the moment of.

My Untappd Rating: ***.25
Global Untappd Rating: 4.03 (as of 10.27.19)

This review was started yesterday morning (Sunday, October 27th) but I wasn’t able to finish it before work, and then work happened, and then post brewski’s happened with my friend D. Scott. Which, he has finally finished the podcast that we did discussing Breaking Bad and El Camino, so I will provide the links for that, its two podcasts (a two-parter) because of how ridiculously long it was. This was done with our friend Esty and its for their podcast channel “WTF did I watch”.

You can check them out here:
WTF Did I Just Watch: Breaking Bad and El Camino – Part 1
WTF Did I Just Watch: Breaking Bad and El Camino – Part 2

Just as a heads up, there is some language in the podcasts, it would probably receive a R rating from the FCC, they are also long podcasts, so devote some time if you are going to watch them.

Thank you all for reading, please click the like, follow, subscribe, comment, etc. we always appreciate that here at The Beer Thrillers. When I do more podcasts with D. Scott, I’ll be sure to post them here (I won’t be posting the ones I’m not involved in). Also look for an upcoming collaboration article between myself (B. Kline) and J. Doncevic about the Boneshire Brew Works 3rd Anniversary Celebration. I also have plenty of beer reviews to post up. So please be on the lookout for all of that!

Tonight will be busy, work from 10-6, then blood donation at the Hershey Library, then the Hummelstown Parade, and then a party at a brewer from Tattered Flag’s house, so most likely no posts or blogs from myself tonight, but I’m sure I’ll have something for you all tomorrow, so be on the lookout!


-B. Kline

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