What Ruins Beer and What Doesnt: An Important Consumer Experiment

Every guy thinks he knows how to take care of his beer. In the same way every guy thinks he knows what his girlfriend is thinking. In both circumstances we are usually wrong.

Lew Bryson, a writer for Portfolio (who should be considered a saint or at least granted a Nobel Prize for all his hard work), rigorously pushed beers to their physical ends to find out how to properly treat one.

Some excerpts of what we found in his report:

1. Bottles of beer kept in a glass-door cooler are slowly being skunked by light. Beer is like a vampire that craves darkness. (in Britain they don’t have skunks, so they call it “cat-piss beer”)

2.Beer can get skunked from being in less than 10 seconds of direct sunlight.

3. Brown bottles offer the best protection, while green and clear bottles are not good protection from light . Miller uses hops that are more resistant to light than most beers. (Good call, Miller)

4. Chilling and warming beer does not effect it. (Hard to believe, right?) It goes through so many different heating and warming processes that you wouldn’t notice a change in taste unless you chilled and warmed it everyday for a month.

5. Freezing beer makes it taste better, but exposing beer to extreme heat can lead to a gross frothy taste. (This one is kind of obvious. Why would you put a beer in an oven?)

6. Beer won’t spoil like milk, so don’t worry about those ‘born on dates’ too much. It’s still drinkable after 110 days.

7. Beer with more than 7% alcohol gets better with age.

Another good tip I learned from MythBusters is that the fastest way to cool a six-pack of beer is in a cooler filled with an ice/water/salt concoction.

Now armed with this wisdom, go out and stop wasting your money on skunked beer.

Any other helpful tips for caring for beer? Let us know in the comments section.

Portfolio: Defending Your Beer, May 2, 2008