20 ways to open a beer bottle

  • Illustrations by FUZZCO
  • Opening a beer bottle using a disposable plastic lighter. Illustrated by FUZZCO.
  • An illustration showing how to open a beer bottle using a door's metal strike plate. Illustrated by FUZZCO.
  • An illustration of how to open a beer bottle using Needle-nose pliers. Illustrated by FUZZCO.
  • How to open a beer bottle using a large carabiner. Illustrated by FUZZCO.
  • How to open a beer bottle using the edge of a hard countertop. Illustrated by FUZZCO.
Date:20 July 2012 Tags:

‘Give me a place to stand on and I’ll open any damn bottle.’ Okay, maybe Archimedes never uttered those exact words. But his principle of leverage is the basis for the classic metal bottle opener – and also works with an odd variety of objects. By Wook Kim

Put a one-handed stranglehold on the bottleneck, and use a [1] DISPOSABLE PLASTIC LIGHTER (a longtime fave) or a [2] USB DRIVE as a lever (and a knuckle as a fulcrum) to pop the top – and learn a refreshing lesson in applied physics.

An old standby (with a high spill factor): Place the bottle top in a door’s [3] METAL STRIKE PLATE, letting the crown catch on an inside edge; pull back on the bottle.

The squarish opening of a [4] CAR SEATBELT LATCH works surprisingly well. Never try this in a moving vehicle.

Position the fang-like teeth of a [5] STAPLE REMOVER under the crown and gently pull up, working your way around the cap until it’s loose enough to pull off. This “uncrimping” can also be used with a [6] METAL NAIL FILE or a [7] KEY. Of course, your emergency beer-bottle-opening tool kit can include, you know, real tools: a [8] FLAT-HEAD SCREWDRIVER decrimps nicely, as do [9] WIRE CUTTERS, standard [10] PLIERS – or, better yet, those of the [11] NEEDLE-NOSE variety.

There is a brute-force alternative to decrimping for those lacking patience or manual dexterity. Clamp the bottle between your thighs and apply upward thrust to the cap’s lip with the edge of a [12] METAL RASP, a [13] BUBBLE LEVEL, or an electronic gadget, such as an early [14] IPOD NANO. And if you’re comfortable with a sturdy pair of [15] SCISSORS buzzing in your fly zone…

A [16] RING can open a bottle, too. (Not your wedding band, pal – soft metals like gold easily pit and bend.) Hook your finger over the top of the bottle, making sure the ring catches on the cap, and push up (or pull down) until it dislodges. This may hurt; but on the other hand: beer.

Swing the gate of a large [17] CARABINER inside and use it to gain a purchase on the bottom of the crown; with the spine hooked over the cap, firmly pull up. [18] Hook the cap’s lip on the edge of a hard COUNTERTOP (not, God forbid, on an antique sideboard) and rap the cap with the heel of your palm. This also works on a [19] SHARPEDGED BOULDER, or a [20] BELT BUCKLE, in which case, be careful where and how hard you strike.

The above methods – PM-field-tested and -approved – represent the spectrum of ways to defeat those serrated-metal impediments to sudsy succour. But there are less advisable techniques available for viewing online: grip the bottle and carefully move the crown edge toward the spinning wheel of an upended bicycle, until a spoke catches and pops off the cap. Place the cap edge on the inside of your bottom row of molars, bite down, and pull the bottle up and away. Last and least advised: hold the beer on the ground between your boots, fi re up a chain saw, and close in until a single chain tooth catches the bottom of the cap. Bring a change of underwear, and make sure your estate is in order.

Glossary: HOGSHEAD
Kegs are for sissies. If you’re looking to throw a bash for the ages, you should be talking hogsheads. Usually used to refer to a container or cask holding a large volume of any ole liquid, a hogshead is most often applied to measuring alcoholic beverages such as wine, cider and, um, beer. Whereas a typical keg contains 60 litres, a hogshead holds 200 litres, perfect for those occasions when you’re entertaining a small city.

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