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Rick Besserdin » Featured, News » Is There Anything Beer Can’t Do?

Is There Anything Beer Can’t Do?

Nearly every week, we read news reports about the health benefits from drinking beer in moderation, but is that all it can do? Here is a quick look at some of the many examples where beer has helped foil robberies, save lives and buildings when disasters have struck.

When the roof collapsed after heavy snowfalls and rain at the warehouse of L. Knife and Sons, in Plymouth, USA, beer saved the stock and building from further damage. According to Paul Armstrong, building inspector, the only thing that stopped the roof from complete collapse was a tall stack of pallets holding boxes of beer.

There are many examples of how handy beer is, if there is a fire. In Portsmouth, USA, fire chief Lou Ferland was tracking down the source of smoke in some woods when he came across a brush fire. Fortunately, a nearby homeless man had some beer handy. Ferland later reported that the “fire was put out with the 12-pack of beer.” The beer saved those woods from being burnt to a cinder.

Andre Nash had just bought himself some breakfast, two cans of beer, when a hysterical boy approached him, in Brooklyn, USA. The boy begged Andre for help while pointing to a nearby 11th floor window that had smoke coming out of it. This time the beer helped save lives. Andre soaked a rag with his beer, before wrapping around his face and running into the building. He was able to save a father and his two sons from the fire, using protection from that beer drenched rag.

A San Diego, USA, cyclist owes his life to the beer he had in his backpack. According to Art Doherty, San Diego police sergeant, the cyclist was on his way home when a car, which came out of seemingly nowhere, hit him. The impact threw the cyclist over 18 meters and demolished his bike. The car driver did not stop at the scene to help, but fortunately for the cyclist, the beer in his backpack absorbed some of the impact. Doherty stated, “The saving grace for him, he was wearing a backpack. He had a number of beverages within the backpack.”

There are numerous examples of armed robberies that have been foiled by staff or customers throwing cans of beer at the would-be thieves. (Although this is not usually a recommended practice.) A favourite account is that of Kayte Taylor, who was shopping at her local bottle shop in Santa Rosa, USA, when a man snatched her wallet before trying to escape on a bicycle. Quickly realising that she had a 12-pack of beer in her hand, she lifted it up to her shoulder and launched it towards the thief ‘shot put’ style. Taylor got gold for her efforts on that day when, at a distance of over four meters, the beer hit the thief in the back and knocked him down. Taylor and her friends held him down long enough to retrieve the wallet. He escaped on foot and was caught by police a short time later.

Beer has also been used to foil at least one political kidnapping. This occurred in 1964, when some leftist students planned to kidnap Sir Alec Douglas-Home, the Prime Minister of England. When their initial plan did not work, they decided to simply go to his residence and ring the bell. The Prime Minister happened to be on his own at the time, and answered the door himself. When the students announced that they were kidnapping him, he asked if he could pack a few things. When they agreed, he invited them to have a few beers while he packed. By the time other members of the household returned, the beers had pacified students and the kidnapped bid had ended.

Beer has an amazingly diverse range of styles and flavours, and in moderation is good for your health. As we have seen, it is much more than that. It has a myriad of uses in everyday and even life threatening situations. Make sure you take some beer wherever you go, your life might depend on it.

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Rick Besserdin is a home brewer and journalist, who specialises in writing about the diverse areas of beer, brewing, and technical automotive.

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