When Mythbusters was cancelled earlier this year, the world lost a bona fide, one-stop shop for confirming or debunking some of life’s greatest tall tales. Rather than mourning the loss of a giant in urban legendary, I take this as a challenge to continue on with their legacy and apply it to a question I’ve often asked myself: “What’s the best way to open a beer bottle without a bottle opener?”
The internet is, of course, in no short supply of Macgyver-esque solutions to this age-old problem. I’m a firm believer that the proof is in the pudding, so I decided to wade through the many lists and how-to videos—from lighters to machetes—and narrow down the options to five of the most outlandish and seemingly far-fetched methods of opening a beer without an opener and put their validity to the test.
As you may remember from high school science class, no good experiment is without parameters or success criteria, so my next step was to categorize methods. After a bit of research, I concluded that bottle opening can be broken into three basic methods: lever and fulcrum (l&f), prying, and brute force. I decided that for an attempt to be successful, the employed method could not break the bottle, spill the beer, or damage the edge of the delightful reclaimed barn wood table that my wife and I found last year at a rummage sale while on a Fall foliage tour of Vermont.
Without further ado, here are my findings:
1) SHEET OF PAPER
After a little more research on using paper, I realized that the missing link was leverage, and that an 8.5” X 11” proved a much more substantial lever than my lousy, shredded dollar bill. The bottle opened on the first attempt and now sits on my desk as a not-so-hard-won trophy.
2) DOLLAR BILL
Difficulty: Frustrating as hell
Although I followed the directions, with all the folds and rolling, this method proved impossible—all fulcrum and too little lever. The crown didn’t budge and threatened to gobble up my hard-earned dollar, dollar bill.
3) EYELASH CURLER
This was difficult for me and even worse on the curler. I tried only a couple times before the curler broke. After resetting and a few more attempts, I was able to find the sweet spot -- but not without destroying the curler.
Myth: Confirmed, but not recommended unless you have sole permission from the curler owner
4) iPHONE CHARGER
Phone chargers perform 2 vital tasks. They provide the juice that delivers all those pithy Snapchat filters, and they open your beer in a relatively easy fashion. What more could you ask for?
5) COMPACT DISC
Method: Brute force
The compact disc application requires speed, aim, and safety goggles to stave off the shards of your sacrificed C&C Music Factory cd as they make a bee-line to your peepers.
Myth: Debunked, this is neither efficient, nor useful…and it really wrecked my tunes.
There you have it: three (out of five) new methods with which to potentially impress your friends and liberate your libations. Each technique certainly has its merits—the combined results of necessity and ingenuity. I found that brute force is equal parts fun and destructive; prying is time consuming and potentially hazardous to hand health; while the lever and fulcrum—steeped in history and physics—earns top ranks every time, given the proper hardware.
Let us know if you’ve come across or pioneered any methods of your own. Until then, I leave you with a few sage words:
“Give me a lever long enough and a fulcrum on which to place it, and I shall move the world.” -Archimedes