How To Open A Beer Bottle Without an Opener

How to open a beer bottle with no bottle opener
Tomas Patlan/The Manual
Tomas Patlan/The Manual

The crisis? You want to enjoy a beer, but you have no bottle opener!

The solution? You bought canned beer! Hurrah! See ya next week.

Wait, what’s that? You have a bottle of beer without a twist-off cap and you forget to bring along a bottle opener? Or you somehow manage to live in a home without a bottle opener? Well, don’t panic, sir, because we’re going to get through this thing.

After all, it’s surprisingly easy to open beer bottles without a bottle opener, as all an opener does is use a bit of leverage to bend the cap, anyway. So let’s create some leverage, and then let’s drink some beer.

(Quick note before we get started: It’s easy to open beer bottles using rings, but the potential for damaging your ring or your metacarpal is very high, so I’ve decided to leave that one out.)

Use a Lighter

how to open a beer with a lighter
Tomas Patlan/The Manual
Tomas Patlan/The Manual

If you or one of your friends has a lighter on hand, then you have a bottle opener on hand. Truth be told, this most basic beer bottle opening “hack” can be performed with almost any sturdy object that is vaguely lighter-shaped and offers an edge, the factors at play here are the use of your index finger as a fulcrum and the edge an object, usually a lighter, as the pry point. Hold the bottle’s neck in your non dominant hand, dig that lighter (not the flame part, FYY, the butt part) under the lip of the bottle cap, crook your index finger (some use their thumb) to rest the lighter across your knuckle, then press down. If at first you don’t succeed, then dude, what did you even learn in college?

Use a Beer

How to open beer with another bottle
Tomas Patlan/The Manual
Tomas Patlan/The Manual

If you believe in the foundation principle of Homeopathy, that “Like Cures Like,” then stay the hell away from me and my family if we’re ever in need of medical care. However, if you believe in the notion that “Beer Opens Beer,” you’re right on! Indeed few things grip the little ridges of a bottle cap better than the little ridges of another bottle cap. Simply hold one beer nice and steady, ideally with its bottom pressed down on a table or the bed of your pickup, and then use the cap of another bottle to hook and then rip off said bottle cap. The catch here is that you won’t know for sure which bottle is going to open, so be ready to turn the “opener beer” upright ASAP. (The other catch is that at the end of the drinking session, one beer may still be capped!)

Use Money

How to open beer with folded money
Tomas Patlan/The Manual
Tomas Patlan/The Manual

No, I don’t mean you should pay someone else to open your bottle for you, though that’s probably the easiest way to go about this and other aspects of life, budget permitting. What I mean is this: a dollar bill (use a $1, a $50, or a $2, it’s all good!) folded enough times, can create an object solid enough to provide much the same leverage as the lighter we discussed above. Start by folding the bill in half across its shorter access (like across the face of gentleman, or soon lady or gentleman), then fold it in half lengthwise as many times as you can. You’ll be left with a dense little rectangle of cash that should help you to leverage open that bottle.

Take it to the Edge

How to open beer with table edge
Tomas Patlan/The Manual
Tomas Patlan/The Manual

This is both one of the most satisfying and most potentially destructive ways to open a beer bottle, so it’s a double win! Simply hook the edge of that bottle cap onto the lip of a table, a counter, a door frame, or a wall, then slam your other hand down onto it. If done properly, the cap will fly off! If done improperly, you will:

  • Break the bottle’s neck, imperiling your beer and your person.
  • Miss, potentially hurting yourself and dropping your beer.
  • Damage the surface to which the beer is being held.
  • All of the above!

This technique will almost surely damage the surface you are using to catch the lip of the bottle cap, so don’t try it with a nice granite counter or walnut desk; this is an outdoorsman’s technique. Or at least a hipster who is hanging out in an alley.

Don’t Use Your Teeth

Never, ever, ever try to open a beer bottle with your teeth. Ever. Think of those as a bottle nopener. (Y’like that? I sure did. That’s why I jammed it in here.)

Article originally published September 20, 2016.