As a lover of beer and a loser of things, I’ve found numerous ways to get at my bottled brew when no conventional opener can be found. The options below take into account where you are and, therefore, which objects you may have access to. We road tested each one and dismissed any that were too unwieldy or caused injury (stupid wooden kitchen spoon). Even without an opener, you can still open your beer using an everyday object and the forces of leverage and prying.
Objects on your person
Assuming you somehow still don’t have one of the numerous multitools, bottle-opening belts, or other gear with openers that we’ve featured over the years here on GearMoose, try these methods:
The simpler method: grab the neck of the beer near the cap with your non-dominant hand. Wedge the end of the lighter under the cap and on top of your index finger, close to your first knuckle. Grip tight and force the other side of the lighter down. This takes some strength. If you want to make it easier (or if you have small hands) try this:
The over-the-top method: Place the webbing of your thumb and forefinger on top of cap, leaving about three-quarters of the cap showing. Wrap your thumb around your index finger. Wedge the end of the lighter under the cap and on top of your finger and thumb. Squeeze the lighter tightly to the underside of the cap, then firmly press the other end of the lighter down.
Those of you who opted for a burly metal for your wedding band (tungsten, titanium and the like) can use it to open beer. Catch the crimps of the cap between your ring and finger (the edge of the ring closest to your fingertip). Curl your ring finger down and pull your hand up.
The handle: With the knife closed, you can use the end of the handle in the same way as the lighter method. This works best with reinforced nylon or resin handles to the cap gets a grip. It’ll work with metal handles too, depending on their shape. If the handle isn’t working, try:
The spine: Wrap your non-dominant hand at the base of the cap. Hold the knife handle and *carefully* wedge the spine of your knife under the cap and across the top of your index finger from the first to the third knuckle. Twist your knife so the spine pushes up on the cap and pops it off.
Objects in the kitchen
You are in the kitchen; your bottle opener is not.
This is simply a safer method of the pocket knife spine method. We recommend switching to this for your third beer of the night and beyond.
Like the lighter method, grab the bottle, wedge the tip of the spoon and pry up.
It’s a touch unwieldy, but surprisingly effective. Hold the bottle you want to drink in your non-dominant hand, up near the cap (setting it on the counter works best). Upend the other beer and slip its cap under the cap of the first beer and on top of your index finger between the first and second knuckle. Carefully tilt the upside down beer until the cap of your drinking beer pops off.
Tools in the garage
You have tools! You can open beer.
Slip joint, groove joint, or tongue and groove pliers are nearly as easy as using an opener. Put one jaw on the top of the cap, catch the bottom jaw under the cap, pull up.
Maybe you just have needle nose pliers? We found it easier to use those pointy ends to de-crimp the cap, pinching and pulling up as you work your way around the cap. A screwdriver will work to decrimp too.
Flip the hammer over. Grip your bottle. Use the claw between your cap and index finger. Pry off the cap.
Perhaps your camping prep didn’t include adding an opener. Maybe you’re just outside and don’t want to go inside.
Save this one for when you’re outside. Yes, you can use your kitchen table or countertops, but, hey you (or your landlord) paid money for those, filling them with bottle-cap teeth marks doesn’t seem right.
Catch the cap teeth on the edge of the table, holding the bottle as close to vertical as you can while maintaining cap contact. Smack down on the cap with the heel of your other hand.
A good strong stick about finger width with a squared edge might be the easiest way to open your beer without an opener. The extra length and easy grip of the stick give great leverage, while the softer material gives the cap a good bite. Much like the lighter technique, you’ll wedge the stick beneath the cap and over the index finger of the hand you wrapped around the bottle’s neck. Pry down.
Look for a rock with a point to it. Use the point to pry up the crimping on the cap, working your way around until it comes free.
Just please don’t use
As a person with a chipped tooth thanks to a beer bottle (dancing + bottle + elbow), I can tell you that the bottle wins in the battle against your teeth. And unnecessary dentistry is expensive.
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