There are times we’re caught out of the house with a beer in our hand and without a bottle opener. We know that’s an EDC mortal sin, so please forgive us for that. But, also believe us when we tell you that you can still open a beer bottle without a bottle opener. In our years of casual imbibing, we’ve picked up a few party tricks that mean we’re never at a complete loss. And even if you have a flashy bottle opener on a key chain, it’s not a bad idea to flex your creativity and pop open a bottle in a less conventional way.
Also, a small word of warning. A dedicated bottle opener is the easiest, safest, and most efficient way to open a bottle of beer. But, these methods can be effective if you exercise a bit of caution and care.
So, here are the best ways to open a beer bottle without a bottle opener.
How to Open a Bottle With Just About Anything
If you have a disposable lighter, you have a bottle opener. This is so well-known that we’re sure there are people out there who abhor smoking but who carry a lighter around just to pop open bottles. There is a hierarchy of lighters for this as well as a certain amount of danger. Those generic gas station lighters will work, but come with the potential to crack or burst in your hand. We’re not sure it’s an explosion risk and will much more likely leak lighter fluid. And that obviously doesn’t mix well with beer.
A BIC will definitely get some chips or nicks in it, but it’s much less likely to suffer catastrophic structural failure. If you’re expecting to be popping a lot of bottles, spring for the name brand.
This one, like a lot of the other ones on this list, is all about leverage. Wrap your index finger around the neck of the bottle just below the cap. Wedge the bottom of the lighter under the cap and against your finger. If it’s tight enough, some downward pressure on the top of the lighter should pry the cap right off.
We’re specifically calling out metal spoons because we’ve found they’re the only ones that can provide the leverage needed without cracking or splintering. It should also be a thicker spoon with a decently strong handle, otherwise, the whole thing could bend. When you’re putting the spoon under the cap, make sure you’re using the concave side. The shape will allow you to get a much better prying angle on the cap. Otherwise, you’re popping it the same as the lighter, with your finger right under the cap and spoon tight to your finger and the cap.
It’s the drinking equivalent of chain-smoking and we laugh every time we do it. You finished one, you’re ready for another, and you can use the problem for the solution. The method is virtually identical to the lighter and metal spoon, with the main difference being that the bottle will be a little more difficult to firmly hold under the cap. Position your index finger under the mouth, hold the bottle’s mouth under the cap, and pry the cap up. You should also be careful of breaking glass. We’ve never broken a bottle doing it this way, but that’s not to say it couldn’t ever happen. This is easily the most satisfying way to open a beer bottle.
This is our last pure leverage one for opening a beer bottle and it’s easy enough to prepare. Grab an average piece of letter-sized paper and fold it in half seven times. That should give you a strong, thick rectangle. Take the thin side with all the folds and wedge the edge under the cap and against your index finger brace. Pry it like you have been with all the others.
This is a real in-a-pinch option, just because of the damage this could cause to the ring itself. Most guys we know, if they’re wearing rings, are wearing rings made of a precious metal and carry emotional weight. In a question of the hardness of metals, the steel of the bottle cap wins over the gold or silver of a ring. It’d be a shame to carve up your wedding band in pursuit of a couple of cold ones. Finding a decorative steel ring might not be a bad move.
With that massive caveat acknowledged and assuming you have a ring you don’t really care about, here’s how to do it. Get the palm side of your ring tight under the cap and lay your fingers over the cap. Lever your hand up and away from the bottle. If you had good contact between the cap and the ring, it’ll lift off.
Door Bolt Catch
This method for opening a bottle is a cross between the classic just-bang-it-on-a-table method (which we didn’t include because we like our countertops and tables as unmarred as possible) and all the other leverage methods on this list. It works well in the catch-in-the-door frame that holds a deadbolt or a deadlatch. The sturdier the better, too, with added points for one of those hotel or office building all-metal frames. Get the cap on the edge of the catch and pull the bottle down and away. Be careful not to slam on the bottle top, as glass rapidly contacting metal or wood tends to break in ways that ruin beer.
Flat Head Screwdriver
We’ve seen two descriptions of using a screwdriver. The first is a fairly normal, leverage-based option for opening a beer bottle, the way you’d use the lighter or spoon from earlier. The second one has a caveman’s simplicity to it that we find amusing. It’s “stab cap, rip open”. Jab that thing through the metal of the cap and use the leverage of the screwdriver against the inside of the cap to pry the bottle open. It’s wildly impractical, dangerous, and thoroughly unnecessary. But it’s also fun, funny, and has beer at the end.
Forearm (Twist-off Only)
One of the most common sentences said after opening a twist-off is, “I guess I didn’t need that bottle opener.” But escaping the opener doesn’t mean it escapes a party trick. To do this one, you should firmly press the top of the bottle into the meatier part of your forearm, roughly a quarter or a third of the way down from your elbow. Close your cap-side elbow and twist your bottle-side hand at the same time. The cap should come away clean, sometimes even sticking to your forearm for a little more of the ‘wow’ factor.
Remember that you’re using the friction of the flat top of the cap against your skin to open the bottle, not so much gripping the ridges and twisting. Keep the top flat against your skin, don’t dig the ridges into your muscle and just start twisting. You’ll end up with some impressive scratches and a not-so-impressive story.