Gov't nuked beer to make sure we could still get drunk after WWIII

Contributed by
Dec 17, 2012

Haven't we all been there? You're sitting with your buddies, ruminating over a hoppy brew, and someone drunkenly (but with sophistication) asks, "If someone dropped the bomb and we survived, could we still drink our beer?"

Well, friends, the Civil Effects Test Group shared your concern and, in 1957, they performed a little experiment—with nukes!

"The Effect of Nuclear Explosions on Commercially Packaged Beverages" is not only one of the best names for a study ever, but it also answers a legitimate concern—if water is no longer potable because of a nuclear attack, what do you do?

Great news! "Drink beer" is an acceptable answer to that question. Two bombs were set off in Nevada, one "with an energy release equivalent to 20 kilotons of TNT," and the other with 30 kilotons. Other than some cans and bottles which were broken or destroyed in the subsequent explosion, the remainder looked just fine.

But looks aren't enough, so some poor soul was tasked with the responsibility of taste testing. Don't worry, though. They checked to see if the cans and bottles were radioactive and, well, the radiation "did not carry over to the contents." So that's a victory, right?

I know what you're saying—what about the taste, man? Will I still taste those citrusy notes and a hint of chocolate in my micro-brew? The short version is "maybe." You will probably also sense a hint of something else. Not sure what a radioactive wasteland tastes like, exactly, but this might be it since it was recorded that the drinks nearest to the blast were reported as being "definitely off."

So the news is both good and bad. You won't die if you drink your irradiated canned and bottled booze, but it's probably going to be a bit skunked. Let's face it—we should probably encase the good stuff in a lead casing, just to be extra sure.

(via NPR)

Make Your Inbox Important

Get our newsletter and you’ll be delivered the most interesting stories, videos and interviews weekly.

Sign-up breaker
Sign out: