Got Beer? Narragansett and Yuengling Go Head to Head

Narragansett vs. Yuengling Beer Battle


Yuengling has arrived in the Ocean State. The beer that amassed a rabid fan following from Jersey to Florida has finally broken into New England. Ever since, I’ve been hearing, “I wonder what Narragansett thinks about that?” and “Narragansett is better!” as well as “Nuh-uh, Yuengling is better!”

It’s interesting to watch everyone root for their home team, but the problem with situations like this is it’s hard to find someone objective. Someone needs to look at both beers and decide which one outdoes the other based purely on its innate qualities, and not predetermined bias or massive advertising dollars. I’ve decided that someone is me.

As such, I’m going to use the scientific method to remain as impersonal and unbiased as possible, judging each beer based on its individual qualities. Both beers have their hardcore fans, so I’m not going into this thinking everyone’s going to be happy about the outcome. No matter which beer comes out on top, someone’s going to be upset, so if you’re the type who easily gets upset when a magazine shows a slight preference for one beer over another, perhaps it’s time for some anger management therapy.

I can already hear some of you saying, “Wait! Doesn’t Narragansett throw a lot of advertising money around, some of which goes to your own Motif Magazine?!”

Yes. But since I personally get paid the same amount either way, let’s get down to brass tacks with a scientific, objective analysis. I’ve got my lab coat, my scientific calculator and a machine that goes ‘pling!’ So let’s get started.

Both of these beers are supposed to be easy-drinking domestic brews. Neither is a specialty or a light beer. One is a pilsner and one is an amber lager, making comparing the two a little challenging. I’ll have to judge them based on how close they are to their respective styles.

Round 1: Appearance
After pouring an equal amount into each glass, I can see Yuengling has a darker, more amber color while ‘Gansett is more of the traditional light straw-yellow. ‘Gansett’s head holds up much longer, though, and seems to make the whole glass seem more appetizing. Neither leaves any lacing. Round one goes to the home team!

Round 2: Aroma
‘Gansett is very sickly sweet with obvious malt, very reminiscent of other American pilsner styles. Yuengling has the exact same aroma, but less intense, though with a slight caramel note that’s right for the style of an amber lager. I have to give this one to Yuengling for the slightly more complex aroma.

Round 3: Flavor
This one is difficult. They both fit their styles equally well. Yuengling is sweeter with slightly more body and a hint of bitterness in the aftertaste. ‘Gansett has the up-front pilsner flavor, but it’s light and a little more crisp than Yuengling. There’s a sense of thin body in both beers, which I understand is by design to appeal to the brand loyalists who worship the Big Three. Each one fulfills their style requirements equally in this category. This is a very close call, so I went to a control group to break the tie, and ‘Gansett takes the category by a hair’s breadth.

Round 4: Mouthfeel
Once again, the two are remarkably similar in this respect, but Narragansett takes the category. ‘Gansett just has a little more pop and crispness than Yuengling, which though sweet, has little excitement in this department.

Round 5: Overall
It was a tough battle, and controversial to be sure. Now I don’t want to come off as playing favorites, but it seems to me Narragansett is the clear winner.

Calm down! I’m not saying Yuengling is inferior, bad or anything like that. I was scientific, damnit! I wore a lab coat and everything! I had a control group!

None of the Narragansett fans will ever agree with the Yuengling fans, and I’m sure the Yuengling fans are looking up my address as we speak with blunt instruments ready and waiting, but I did give Yuengling as much chance as our local yokels. In the end, my rating doesn’t really mean anything. As far as I’m concerned the two are pretty much equal, and only by small technicalities does Narragansett come out of the ring with the belt.

Of course, I hear Yuengling makes a pretty good Black & Tan, and I know Narragansett makes some very nice specialty beers, so maybe we’ll have a rematch and give Yuengling a chance to take another swing at the local competition.

For now, just remember, ‘Gansett won by a narrow margin. If you disagree with this, feel free to visit the Motif website and spark a flame war in the comments section.

Bonus Round: Narragangling

It wouldn’t be science without experimentation! Seeing as one is sweeter, the other is more crisp, it seems silly to pass up this opportunity to see what the two could become if combined.

Apparently when you combine Narragansett and Yuengling you get a slightly less malty Yuengling, only mildly darker with hints of the Narragansett crispness struggling for life in the caramel sweetness. Of course, I added equal parts of both, and you’re free to experiment with your personal ‘Gangling mix. Maybe the two could live in harmony, but I wouldn’t expect such rabidly loyal fans to make peace so easily.

Hey, I’ve been surprised before.


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