The first time I wrote about SAB’s monthly horse-drawn beer delivery, I was a mere bystander in the proceedings. In fact I turned up late and just managed to see a horse’s ass disappearing along Newlands Avenue as I sat down to my wood-fired pizza at Forries.
Well the initiative is still going strong and this year, on International Beer Day (August 2nd) I actually got to ride on the cart, getting much closer to the aforementioned horse’s ass. I know that International Beer Day was a long time ago, but there’s a reason I haven’t written about it until now. It’s not down to the general trauma of the ride; in fact this post is designed to coincide with this month’s delivery, so you can go and see beer being delivered by horsies (and get a free pint) if you want to. (Disclaimer: the horsies do have some help in delivering beer and don’t roll the kegs into each pub and tap them themselves).
A bit of background: the folks at Newlands Brewery decided to honour their history and recreate an old beer route that would have been trodden by horse hooves back in the 19th century. On the first Friday of each month, a horse-drawn cart (known as a dray) leaves the brewery with a couple of kegs of Castle Lager on board and clip-clops through Newlands to drop a 50-litre keg at the Foresters Arms and another at Barristers. Anyone drinking Castle when the keg is brought in is presented with a free pint (though in my experience, staff are generally quite generous with the free beer and will treat you to a pint, whatever you’re drinking!)
It’s a great idea and one that harps back to a time when Newlands was truly the brewing capital of the country, with half a dozen breweries and who knows how many pubs.
Now about that trauma – well, I don’t think the pair of horses were terribly keen on the extra load that a dozen journalists, writers and bloggers provided. Between the not-too-friendly bickering the horses seemed to be engaged in, the near-miss with someone’s car on Dean Street and the fact that we ‘broke down’ at the lights on Newlands Avenue causing a huge traffic jam and a lot of grumpy commuters trying to get to their Friday post-work drinks post-haste, it was quite an eventful ride. Good job Newlands’ trade brewer Denis Da Silva was on hand – turns out he’s a jack-of-all-trades and a dab hand at directing traffic (plus he stopped me from falling out of the cart a couple of times – thanks Denis).
Get down to Forries or Barristers at around 1pm on the first Friday of each month for free beer, a chat with the brewers and a pat of the horsies – they’ll be much friendlier without a cargo of thirsty journos on board!