The Boar’s Head, Rawdons Country Hotel
Rawdons Country Hotel has been an institution in the Midlands since its completion in 1956. It was built by the famed hotelier David Rawdon, who later bought the entire village of Matjiesfontein in the Karoo, including the Lord Milner Hotel, and renovated it to its former Victorian glory.
Rawdons Estate in the Midlands is grand, green and sprawling, with grass tennis courts, birding trails, expansive lawns and dams to fish in. The property was purchased by an Australian-born couple, Peter and Susan Dean, in the 1990s, and in 1996 they started what is now one of South Africa’s oldest independently owned craft breweries, The Nottingham Road Brewing Company.
The Boar’s Head is, of course, the on-site brewery’s flagship pub, and you can order anything from a Pickled Pig porter (R30) to a Tiddly Toad ale (R30). Each beer has its own slogan. My personal favourite, for Pyeeyed Possum pilsner: “As possed as a pye-eyed pissum.”
The pub itself is quintessentially English in style, with coats of arms on the walls, red leather stools and that all-important hearth.
A quick walk across the parking lot and you’ll find yourself in the brewery. The brewmaster, John Morrow, who is most likely sporting a pair of Converse sneakers and torn jeans, will happily talk you through your porters and pilsners.
“I moved here from Joburg in 2014,” he says. “I saw they were advertising for a brewmaster’s assistant on Gumtree and here I am, with no previous experience in brewing beer! My wife and I live with our four-year-old daughter on a smallholding nearby.”
The entire brewery is roughly the size of a shed and their machine only fills eight bottles of beer at once! Now that’s craft quality…
What about the grub? If you find yourself at The Boar’s Head on a chilly afternoon, you’re assured of a roaring fire, a hearty stout and tasty food. Try the Pickled Pig pot pie (R110) or fish and chips made with the Whistling Weasel pale ale (R95).
The pub leads out onto a deck beneath some oak trees – lovely on a hot summer’s day. Remember to take a picture with their famous mascot – a warthog wearing a green sports jacket. The pickled pig, we presume?
Where? R103, about 4 km south of Nottingham Road.
Contact: 033 266 6728; nottsbrewery.co.za