How did they keep beer cold in those saloons in the Old West?
Depends on where you were. Up in your part of the country, they’d harvest ice from the rivers in the winter time and store it in caves or rock cellars. It would usually last most of the summer.
Down in Arizona, you’d see signs in front of saloons saying “Cool Beer,” not “Cold Beer.” Wet gunny sacks and sawdust would keep the beer fairly cool. Outside of Flagstaff were some ice caves, and saloonkeepers would harvest ice from the caves during the summer. I’ve been in those caves in August and there is an abundance of ice.