Joe Sixpack’s Guide to Freshman Beer Drinking

ATTENTION college freshmen: Now that most of you are unpacked and ready for class, it’s time to cover something that was overlooked during orientation. Namely, proper beer consumption.

And I’m not talking about the lies the dean of campus living spouted during his annual “Alcohol Is Evil” speech.

That’s the talk where, if he used the current government “research” materials, he explained that if you drink, you will:

  • Turn into an alcoholic,
  • Rape or be raped,
  • Murder somebody, and
  • Suffer an ugly, premature death.

Thanks to scare tactics like that, you’ve been turning a deaf ear to authorities since your dad warned you that you’d go blind if you didn’t stop. You’d think these do-gooders would know by now that all that finger-wagging only makes most people go out and do the exact opposite. I mean, raise your hand if

you’ve got a Drug-Free School Zone sign in your dorm room.

Unfortunately, ignoring these overexaggerated warnings also means that you probably never learned basic concepts like “moderation” and “flavor.” That’s why I’ve prepared “Joe Sixpack’s Guide to Freshman Beer-Drinking,” because beer isn’t just for chugging and puking.

• Getting drunk is not evil. It is a natural form of adult socialization. That said, don’t drink just for the sake of getting drunk. It’s a waste of good beer.

• The 21-year-old drinking age is nonsense, but it is the law. Pour that bottle into a plastic cup, and the cops won’t bother you.

• Go ahead and binge. That is, “binge” as defined by the government: a measly five drinks in a single day (four for women). If you weigh 200 pounds and drink one beer every 10 minutes, you still wouldn’t be legally intoxicated after an hour.

• Don’t drink one beer every 10 minutes for an hour, unless it’s a bet.

• Learn how to tap a keg. This is a valuable life skill and guarantees you a cold beer.

• If you don’t like the taste of beer, it’s because you haven’t tasted a beer you like. There are thousands of beers, and they don’t all taste like Budweiser.

• Have a beer with dinner. No kidding, it tastes better with food. And – bonus – you can actually drink more on a full stomach.

• Math you can use: 1 half-keg = about 7 cases of beer.

• Get beer bongs, chugging, shotguns, Beirut and drinking games out of your system now. You won’t do that nonsense once you hit 25.

• Don’t drink light beer. It is not real beer, and the calories you save are negligible.

• Don’t drink malternatives like Bacardi Silver, either. They’re alcoholic delivery devices that cynically take advantage of your unfortunate addiction to sugar. You are smarter than that.

• Drinking on a budget? Avoid heavily advertised brands. Milwaukee’s Best is widely regarded as the best-tasting cheap American lager.

• No one ever drinks as much as they say they drink. Upperclassmen always brag, but they’re only looking to see you get plastered.

• Guys, she might be too drunk to remember her name, but she’ll never forget your face.

• Circle April 24 on your calendar. That’s Newman’s Day, in honor of Paul Newman, who supposedly declared: “Twenty-four hours in a day, 24 beers in a case. Coincidence? I think not.” Your campus may celebrate appropriately or inappropriately.

• How to tell when you’ve had enough: When you are partying, and it feels like you’re having a really, really great time. The feeling will not get any better after you chug the next cup.

• Never drive to a party. And don’t let anyone else drive you, either. Designated drivers are a bogus concept in college. Take public transit or a cab.

• Beware of Internet rip-offs when buying fake IDs. Also, many bars now use scanners to read magnetic strips on driver’s licenses, enabling them to detect fakes.

• Drink water between beers. It slows down your pursuit of drunkenness.

• Blame your parents. They should’ve taught you all this before you went to college.


Want to learn more about beer drinking? Don’t read the neo-prohibitionist drivel at, especially the so-called alcohol myths.

Instead, visit State University of New York-Potsdam professor David J. Hanson’s unbiased Alcohol Facts at, and get the truth.


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