1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Thomas Jefferson's Tavern Ale - Yards Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Thomas Jefferson's Tavern AleThomas Jefferson's Tavern Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

695 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 695
Reviews: 271
rAvg: 3.76
pDev: 11.97%
Wants: 33
Gots: 88 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Yards Brewing Co. visit their website
Pennsylvania, United States

Style | ABV
English Strong Ale |  8.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
This powerful and complex golden ale pays homage to Founding Father and fellow brewer, Thomas Jefferson. Yards Brewmaster, Tom Kehoe, worked closely with Philadelphia’s historic City Tavern to recreate this recipe, employing honey, rye, and wheat, just like the beer Jefferson made at Monticello.

(Beer added by: NeroFiddled on 08-01-2002)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 695 | Reviews: 271 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Mccaul07
4.24/5  rDev +12.8%

Mccaul07, Oct 27, 2014
Photo of dcolatriano
3.5/5  rDev -6.9%

dcolatriano, Oct 27, 2014
Photo of bundy462
3.5/5  rDev -6.9%

bundy462, Oct 26, 2014
Photo of error9900
3.5/5  rDev -6.9%

error9900, Oct 19, 2014
Photo of Jimmero645
2.76/5  rDev -26.6%

Jimmero645, Oct 19, 2014
Photo of Therealfootball
4.45/5  rDev +18.4%

Therealfootball, Oct 15, 2014
Photo of ThisWangsChung
3.08/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a dark golden color, leaning towards amber. The head is a finger high, and eggshell in shade. Retention isn't particularly impressive, but its creamy texture leaves behind some lacing on the glass. (3.5)

Smell: Honey accentuates the powerful, bread-laden malt backbone. A touch of spiciness appears in spurts, helping to balance some of its sweetness. Buttery and toasted hints prove to add to this brew instead of detract. It's well made enough, but it hardly comes close to 'popping'. (3)

Taste: This is a sweet brew - very sweet actually. It starts off with a slightly toasty maltiness, before building into notes of rye spice, butter, and honey near the back end. The aforementioned honey keeps the finish from being cloying, so that's good. Otherwise, this is a pretty insipid beer. (3)

Mouthfeel: It feels fairly rich and sweet, but the back end is also dry. A slight twinge of alcohol appears due to the dryness, too. Carbonation is low, so this beer is quite drinkable for the strength. (3.5)

Overall: I'm disappointed by how uninteresting it is - the beer itself was brewed well, but the recipe itself come across as being rather ho-hum. I'd suggest trying a single of this once, just don't be surprised by its average taste. (3)

3.08/5: It's not a case of "great recipe, blah execution" here...it's the other way around instead

ThisWangsChung, Oct 14, 2014
Photo of ldmuldoon
3.7/5  rDev -1.6%

ldmuldoon, Oct 13, 2014
Photo of JuMa44
2/5  rDev -46.8%

JuMa44, Oct 13, 2014
Photo of malprep
3.5/5  rDev -6.9%

malprep, Oct 12, 2014
Photo of JacketAudio
2.52/5  rDev -33%

JacketAudio, Oct 11, 2014
Photo of Slizy22
3.12/5  rDev -17%

Slizy22, Oct 07, 2014
Photo of pwdiamond
4/5  rDev +6.4%

pwdiamond, Oct 06, 2014
Photo of Burdell
4.16/5  rDev +10.6%

Burdell, Oct 06, 2014
Photo of DrBier
3.75/5  rDev -0.3%

DrBier, Oct 05, 2014
Photo of Vogt52
3.8/5  rDev +1.1%

Vogt52, Oct 04, 2014
Photo of misternebbie
3.84/5  rDev +2.1%

misternebbie, Sep 29, 2014
Photo of BBQWhisperer
3.72/5  rDev -1.1%

BBQWhisperer, Sep 28, 2014
Photo of ChipChaight
3.5/5  rDev -6.9%

ChipChaight, Sep 27, 2014
Photo of Spag300
4/5  rDev +6.4%

Spag300, Sep 26, 2014
Photo of Shawn_Money
4/5  rDev +6.4%

Shawn_Money, Sep 22, 2014
Photo of Jazzin321
4/5  rDev +6.4%

Jazzin321, Sep 17, 2014
Photo of Oberson58
4/5  rDev +6.4%

Tastes like yuengling, but a little better, without the dry mouth. Will drink again.

Oberson58, Sep 15, 2014
Photo of biegaman
3.6/5  rDev -4.3%

It's unlikely that any of Thomas Jefferson's recipes would have been anything other than dark and murky; this interpretation is certainly not "golden" like its label states. Tavern Ale is instead deep pumpkin orange in colour and has a dense, icy complexion but still emits light. Contrary to ales of the time this one is evidently filtered and has obvious signs of carbonation.

For a historic, presumably English-influenced ale this smells surprisingly like a modern German lager; I'd confidently guess it a Vienna lager. This isn't a bad thing in and of itself - crunchy, toasty, rich, aromatic amber malt is highly appealing - but it's a disappointment that such an interesting, unique sounding beer actually make such a mundane, familiar first impression.

A little more time and warming up unearths a sizable amount of fruity ale esters and also reveals the honey. It turns out to be sweeter than first assumed but still every bit as well malted. It has the body to support its alcohol content (8%) and hints of spice (likely from the addition of rye) that meld well. And for all the honey and ripe fruit notes there's no lingering sweetness.

Yards wanted everyone to know that they've brewed this one with "authentic ingredients". They also followed an "authentic recipe". What the hell does that mean? Have I been drinking beers made with inauthentic ingredients this whole time? Maybe my homebrews would turn out better if only I followed "authentic" recipes. End of meaningless beer marketing rant.

Yards may have 'followed' Thomas Jefferson's original recipe but they obviously veered from the path at some point. For something that sounds different, even niche on the surface, Tavern Ale is actually quite conventional and entirely approachable for the average beer drinker. There's nothing at all "revolutionary" about it. It seems traditional recipes aren't quite the same thing when brewed with modern technologies and with modern palates in mind.

biegaman, Sep 14, 2014
Photo of Basoos1
4/5  rDev +6.4%

Basoos1, Sep 13, 2014
Thomas Jefferson's Tavern Ale from Yards Brewing Co.
85 out of 100 based on 695 ratings.