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So you ask me 'What's a pleb?' ...'who are the Plebs?'

Brewmasters Maarten & Nicolaas van Doesburgh are the Plebs....tired of drinking the 'King of the Castle' mass produced beer made up the road in Newlands, they embarked on the journey of setting up the Plebs Microbrewery ...they are a father & son team who proudly employ age-old brewing techniques passed down by Dutch family members to produce an excellent, naturally brewed beer easily compared to the Dutch and Belgian Ales produced by their family and forefathers in the home-country …the Netherlands.

PLEBS Pure ALE ….perfectly brewed craft beer, using only pure ingredients (malted barley, hops, ale yeast, and Newlands Spring Water) 


Today, the term plebeian is synonymous with lower class. In early Rome, the plebeians (also known simply as plebs) may have been that part of the Roman population whose origin was among the conquered Latins (as opposed to the Roman conquerors). Plebeians were contrasted with the patrician nobility. In the period of the early Roman Republic, membership in the Senate may have been denied to the plebeians, and restricted to the patricians. Since the ruling body of the Senate was more interested in itself than others, the plebeians suffered. Over time the plebeians were able to amass wealth and great power. By the time of Caesar, the patrician Claudius chose to become a plebeian (something he could do through adoption) in order to hold an important political office, the Tribune of the Plebs.

In Alessandro Barbero's The Day of the Barbarians, the fourth century historian Ammianus Marcellinus is said to have referred to the Goths as plebs truculenta 'a mob of dangerous ruffians.'

Rome’s working class, the plebeians had little individual power. Grouped together, however, they became a Roman mob and had to be handled carefully.

By the first century AD, plebeians comprised a formal class, which held its own meetings, elected its own officials and kept its own records. The term plebeian referred to all free Roman citizens who were not members of the patrician, senatorial or equestrian classes.  

Working class heroes

Plebeians were average working citizens of Rome – farmers, bakers, builders or craftsmen – who worked hard to support their families and pay their taxes. Over the course of this period, early forms of public welfare were established by Titus and Trajan and, in difficult times, plebeians could ask Roman administrators for help.

We know much less about daily life for the lower classes, such as plebeians. Unlike the more privileged classes, most plebeians could not write and therefore they could not record and preserve their experiences.

A glimpse of normal life

This is one reason why archeological sites like the cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum are so important: they preserve the living spaces, shops, tools, and graffiti of the common people that would otherwise be lost to history.

Social climbing

Some plebeians, who were doing reasonably well, might try to save enough money to join the equestrian class. For many, however, life was a daily struggle.

But although individual plebeians had little power, there were a lot of them. In bad times, or during political unrest, there was always the risk of the Roman ‘mob’ rioting or rebelling against the upper classes.

Bread and circuses

The Emperor Augustus was well aware of this risk and was keen to keep the poorest plebeians happy enough and reasonably well fed so that they would not riot. He began the system of state bribery that the writer Juvenal described as ‘bread and circuses’.

Free grain and controlled food prices meant that plebeians could not starve, while free entertainment – such as chariot races and gladiators in amphitheaters and the Circus Maximus – meant that they would not get bored and restless. Bribery it may have been, but it often worked.

The Plebeians (Plebs) made up the majority of Rome's inhabitants.

Plebeians were a class of citizens who were usually non aristocratic farmers, artisans and shopkeepers, and some were wealthy. They did have rights, such as the right to serve in the Assembly and the right to vote, trade, hold property, and administer judicial self defense. At first they were not as privileged as the patricians and could never marry one. They could not hold a public office and could not receive entry into the Senate and there was no recorded bill of rights. But with the establishment of the tribune of the people in the fifth century BC, they gradually achieved political equality with the patricians. First marriage of plebeians with patricians was accepted, then plebeians were admitted to the quaestorship, the consulate, the dictatorship, the censorship, and the praetorship. They finally obtained the important priestly offices of the pontificate and augurship in 300 BC. Later the name plebs passed to the lowest ranks of the people.

We cater for all Plebs!


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