A cold beer primer

A FEW WEEKS ago, as the summer temps first started to rise, I broached the topic of drinking beer on the rocks – a practice that rightly prompted guffaws from most of my loyal readers.

But now that the mercury is soaring into triple digits, things are getting life-or-death serious. Your beer is warm! What’s the fastest way to make it cold?

Over the centuries, beer drinkers have expended countless brain cells in pursuit of a solution. As a public service, I present the latest findings.

METHOD 1: Place sixpack in refrigerator. Time: 60 minutes.

Um, did I not explain that this is a matter of life or death?

METHOD 2: Place sixpack in freezer. Time: 30 minutes.

OK, that’s faster. But tomorrow morning, guaranteed, you will wake up and discover you left one now-exploded brewski behind.

METHOD 3: Cold water and ice bath. Time: 6 minutes.

Cools faster than ice alone because water completely covers bottles.Cold beer cartoon by the always wonderful Signe Wilkinson

Add one pound of salt, which lowers the water’s freezing point, to speed up the process. Add a pound of diced tomatoes, a cup of chopped celery, one large cucumber, 1/3-cup red wine vinegar, and you’ve got the makings of a nice gazpacho!

METHOD 4: The ice flume. Time: 6 hours.

Buy 15 blocks of solid ice and stack them in the center of your living room. Rent a chain saw and sculpt your favorite football team mascot. Using an 8-foot auger, gently drill a hole through the ice, being careful to stop before it drills through the living room floor. Pour warm beer into top of flume, then wait . . . wait . . . here it comes!

And there goes your wife.

METHOD 5: A fire extinguisher. Time: 3 minutes.

In an episode a few years ago, Discovery Channel’s “Mythbusters” confirmed that this is doable – only you’ll either have to swipe one from work or spend about 30 bucks to recharge the thing. One other caveat: Make sure it’s a CO-2 extinguisher; the chemical variety won’t do a thing but make a mess.

METHOD 6: Liquid nitrogen. Time: 12 seconds.

The same highly volatile chemical they used to freeze Ted Williams’ head is available from your local welding-supply outlet. Just expose your favorite beer to a small amount, then wait for representatives of Homeland Security to appear at your door.

METHOD 7: A wort chiller. Time: Less than 10 minutes.

Homebrewers know that when making beer, they must quickly chill their boiled beer wort before adding yeast; otherwise, they risk infecting the beer with bacteria. The solution is a wort chiller or heat exchanger, which is essentially a long tube within another tube. The hot wort circulates through the inner tube while cold water runs in the opposite direction through the outer tube, removing the wort’s heat along the way.

OK, that’s too complicated. Where’s the fire extinguisher?

METHOD 8: The Cooper Cooler HC01-A Rapid Beverage Chiller. Time: 1 minute.

The gadget chills by rotating a bottle while spraying it with cold water. But there are a bunch of downsides: It takes electricity, it ruins labels and you have to drain it after each use. Plus, the thing costs about 60 bucks. This reasonably makes one wonder if there’s another, cheaper method that can duplicate the technology, bringing us to . . .

METHOD 9: The Joe Sixpack HC01-B Rapid Beverage Chiller. Time: Uncertain.

Very similar to Method 6, only instead of placing beer into a countertop appliance, use a top-loading washing machine filled with ice and water. Commence agitation cycle.

Honestly, I don’t see any downside to this method.

METHOD 10: Next time, buy your beer already cold. Time: 0 seconds.

D’oh!

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