I Tried It: Opening a Beer Without a Bottle Opener

A few weeks ago, one of my friends sent me a text – she was out of town, had bought a bunch of awesome beer, and took it back to her hotel only to realize she didn’t have a bottle opener with her. Like me (and probably most of you), she has a bottle opener on her keychain…which she didn’t have because she got dropped off at the airport. I’ve been there. I usually have no less than two bottle openers on my person at all times, except all those times I need a bottle opener and that sinking feeling comes over me as I pat my pockets and reach for my purse only to find my suspicions are correct: no bottle opener!

Fear not, for a quick Google search opened my eyes to the world of opening beers without a bottle opener.

There are a myriad of articles and videos out there for opening a beer bottle when you don’t have an opener. Some of them are silly, like opening a beer bottle with a chainsaw, and some seem a little extreme, like using a machete, which made me wonder about who had a chainsaw and a machete but no bottle opener and the kind of judgment that makes one immediately think either item would be a perfect bottle opener. A horror movie serial killer, maybe? Like Ed Gein comes home from a long day of murdering, sits down with a cold beer, realizes he left the bottle opener in the kitchen, and just thinks “Eff it, I’ll use my chainsaw instead because I just can’t even right now.”

Watch a few of these videos and you’ll realize that all you need is something to act as a fulcrum to pry the cap off the bottle. I watched videos on places where I would be the most likely to be without a bottle opener and came up with a hotel room, a car (a parked car I’m not driving, obvs), and camping. After watching the videos, I decided to try some of these methods out. The four ways to open a beer bottle I tried were using a door’s strike plate, a seat belt latch plate, a countertop, and a piece of paper.

Because the beer I drink isn’t cheap and I was trying all four methods within a short time frame, I opted to use an empty beer bottle and our bottle capper instead of actual full bottles of beer. Also, I’m a bit of a spaz, so I didn’t want to run the risk of trying a few times to open a beer only to have it foam over or worse, have the beer bottle break. So I grabbed an empty bottle, the bottle capper, and a few bottle caps and got to work.

The first method I tried was the strike plate of our back door. If you look at a strike plate, it really does seems like back in the day when they were inventing locks for doors, someone (Mr. Phinneas Strikeplate?) had the foresight to engineer strike plates to double as bottle openers. I hooked the edge of the cap on one side of the strike plate, used the bottle as a lever, and the cap came right off! It was suspiciously easy, so I capped the bottle one more time and made sure it was capped properly. It came off just as easily the second time.

This looks like I'm forcing a little cyclops to drink a beer.

This looks like I'm forcing a little cyclops to drink a beer.

The second method I tried was the seat belt. It wasn’t quite as easy as the strike plate, but I held the bottle firmly in one hand just below the cap and then used the end of the latch plate to pry the cap off. Again, it was pretty easy and seems like the perfect solution when you need to open a beer at a tailgate when everyone starts patting their pockets for a bottle opener and you can’t wait one more second to drink your beer.

The third method I tried was the countertop, although in my case, it was the brick on my front porch because someone was pretty sure I would mess up the countertops if I tried it in the kitchen. To use a countertop or anything stable with a sharp edge, just place one edge of the bottle cap on top of the table, hold the neck of the bottle tight, make a fist with your other hand, and then punch yourself in the face for not having a bottle opener. Just kidding – slam your fist down on the bottle cap, which should pop the cap right off. If the cap doesn’t come off the first time, keep trying.

The fourth and last method I tried was the folded up piece of paper simply because it seemed like the silliest way to make everyone wait to watch you open a beer without an opener. I folded a piece of paper in half again and again – I could only fold it in half six times and that was hard AF, so I don’t get where the whole “you can only fold a piece of paper in half seven times” came from. Probably from one of those people who can tear phonebooks in half with their hands. Folded piece of paper in one hand, I firmly grasped the neck of the beer bottle and pried with that piece of paper as hard as I could and got nowhere. I doubled down my efforts and still got nowhere. I finally took it to Tom and asked him to try it. It took him a couple tries, but he was able to pry the bottle cap off with the folded piece of paper.

In the end, the winner was definitely the strike plate. If you find yourself outdoors and away from a strike plate, then I suggest finding something with a sharp enough edge that you can hook the bottle cap onto and pry the cap off that way. Other methods I saw were using a beer bottle to open another beer bottle, using the iron in the hotel room (may as well use it for something), and using a house key. By the by, I fell into a not-unpleasant rabbit hole reading this article from All About Beer about the history of bottle openers. And for Pete’s sake, please don’t EVER use your teeth to pry open a beer bottle.

Here are a few of the videos I watched:

How to open a beer bottle in a hotel room (I actually watched more educational videos than this about opening a beer bottle in a hotel room, but I love how tickled this guy gets every time he opens a beer bottle):

How to open a beer bottle with a house key:

How to open a beer bottle with a seat belt:

How to open a beer bottle a few different ways (I had to watch the part where he opens a beer bottle using his teeth while covering my face with my hands):

And my favorite – how to open a beer bottle with a banana: