You’ve seen it in countless teen movies, backyard parties, and dorm keggers–maybe you’ve even tried it yourself a couple of times. We’re talking about shotgunning a beer, which is by far, the most efficient way to get as much beer into your gullet in the shortest amount of time.
Shotgunning is an art and a skill reserved only for the brave and foolhardy. If you want to learn how to enjoy this hallowed tradition, read the rest of this informative guide on–you guessed it–how to shotgun a beer!
Shotgunning is quite possibly the quickest way to down a beer. At its simplest, it involves making a hole in a beer can, pulling the tab, and chugging down what comes out. There’s a little more to the process, as we will explain later, but that’s pretty much the gist of it.
Why shotgun a beer?
If you’ve yet to be initiated into the Order of the Punctured Beer Can, you’re probably wondering why anyone would want to shotgun a beer. Perhaps more importantly, why should you do it yourself?
Shotgunning is more than a time-efficient way to enjoy your favorite beverage. It is considered a ritual of sorts in many social gatherings (mostly consisting of college-age young people), and there is often an element of competitiveness involved.
Many people shotgun beers as a mark of camaraderie or to signify the start of the evening’s festivities. And, of course, calling for periodic shotguns throughout the night is a great way to keep the party going.
What to use to puncture the can
You could use almost anything to punch a hole in the beer can. The implement of choice has traditionally been a car or house key, preferably a suitably long one. But you could also use whatever piece of metal you could find nearby. Some of the most commonly used tools are:
- Keys (as mentioned)
- Ballpoint pens
- Bottle openers
- Letter openerAgain, you could use pretty much whatever gets the job done. Whatever you choose, make sure that it doesn’t leave a jagged edge that will cut your lips or tongue. Nothing spoils a good shotgun quicker than slicing your lip open!
Best Beer Shotgun Tools
Bear Claw Shotgun Tool & Bottle Opener
The Basics of Shotgunning
We’re going into more detail about shotgunning beers in the next section, but for now, let’s go over the basics.
Shotgunning involves holding a beer can horizontally and poking a hole on the “bottom”, opposite the top opening. You then hold the can upright and place your mouth over the hole you just punched. Finally, pull the tab open, and let the beer gush into your mouth.
That’s pretty much the entire process. Most ‘experts’ suggest letting the beer wash down your throat in an uninterrupted stream. This means no gulping or glugging.
Of course, you’re free to ingest the beer as you please. But few would consider it “shotgunning” if you consume it slowly or with anything remotely resembling table manners. Remember: your shotgunning a beer, not sipping champagne at the Royal Ascot!
Shotgunning a beer step-by-step
With that out of the way, let’s go over the detailed steps to downing a can of beer…shotgun-style!
Shotgunning is actually a two-part process that first involves punching a hole in the can and then actually drinking the brew.
Punching the hole
- Take a can of beer of your choice and hold it horizontally. Position it so that the air inside rises to the upper section of the can. This will reduce the amount of beer that spills out when you make the hole.
- Using your tool, mark a spot about an inch from the bottom of the can. The aluminum in this section is softer than the bottom, so you should be able to puncture it easily.
- Tilt the can so that the air inside forms a bubble right under your thumb. On the spot you marked previously, press on the can gently until it forms a dent and you feel an air pocket form.
- Use your tool to punch a hole. The best way is to place your tool over the dent and push it down to puncture a hole in the aluminum. Some beer and foam will probably spray out when you pull your tool back.
How To Drink a Beer – Shotgun Style
- Keep the beer can in a horizontal position and place your mouth over the hole you just made. Make sure that you are covering the hole entirely so the beer won’t spill out.
- Tilt your head back and the can along with it until it is upright. Place your other hand on the tab, ready to pull it open.
- Take a breath and pull the tab open. This will unleash a stream of beer, which you should allow to flow freely into your mouth and down your throat.
If this is your first time to shotgun, you might not be prepared for the deluge of beer that will come gushing out. Don’t panic, and just let it ease down your throat without gulping.
Try not to let the beer fill up your mouth as it will likely shoot out the sides. Depending on the situation, this can be pretty embarrassing!
To shotgun or not to shotgun…
Now that you’ve been educated on the finer points of shotgunning, you are probably making plans for doing it for the first time. A backyard kegger with friends is always a suitable venue, and doing it out in the yard means no messy spills to clean up afterward.
Just remember that shotgunning a beer is all about fun and having a good time. Be aware of your limits and don’t even think about getting behind a wheel. Other than that, feel free to enjoy and show off your newly-discovered talent! Happy chugging!