Did Frontier Saloons Serve Cold Beer?

ask the marshall true west

Did frontier saloons serve cold beer?

Sandy Davis
St. Paul, Minnesota

Ice making machines began popping up in desert towns like Tombstone, Tucson and Phoenix in the Arizona Territory by the late 1870s. Before that, libations were cooled in cellars. In the northern climes, bar owners cut blocks of ice in the winter and stored it underground or in ice barns, but that didn’t always work during a heat wave. Often, folks had to settle for beer at room temperature. Ice machines really made a big difference.

roy bean saloon old west langtry texas true west magazine
Apparently Judge Roy Bean appreciated a cold one and advertised “Ice Beer” at his Jersey Lili Saloon in Langtry, Texas.
— Library of Congress —

Marshall Trimble is Arizona’s official historian and vice president of the Wild West History Association. His latest book is Arizona Outlaws and Lawmen; The History Press, 2015. If you have a question, write: Ask the Marshall, P.O. Box 8008, Cave Creek, AZ 85327 or email him at marshall.trimble@scottsdalecc.edu.