The Art of Drain Pouring Your Beer

8 Dec

I love beer, and I love drinking beer. I would not have started a website about beer if these two things were not true. Despite my love of beer and drinking it, I do not always drink beer. Sometimes it is inappropriate to drink beer e.g. just waking up on a work day, during a parent-teacher meeting, or while driving a vehicle. We call those activities crippling alcoholism. There are also health reasons for not always drinking beer. Beer is mostly unhealthy for the human body. Empty calories and high carbs will quickly wreak havoc on one’s diet and transform your physique into what polite society would affectionately call an amorphous blob – not a good look. Sometimes you start drinking a beer and at some point realize that you would no longer like to be drinking that beer.

It is for this last reason that I advocate for the art of drain pouring your beer. That’s your own beer – not someone else’s. I am not trying to get your ass kicked for you. Sometimes it is appropriate and even prudent to pour out your own beer. I can envision the horrified look on many of your faces as you read these sentences. “Pouring out your beer is wasteful” you state with an all-knowing scoff. To this point I would like to introduce you to the sunk cost fallacy. The beer you are drinking is already paid for – not drinking the remainder of it incurs no extra monetary cost to you and can have many benefits.

When you pour the rest of your beer into the sink, you are avoiding those empty calories and freeing them up for more important endeavors. Like perhaps drinking another beer! Or maybe your stomach is just full and does not see a need for further inflation. You could be looking to drop some weight while still having small controlled indulgences in your favorite adult beverage. 

Now let’s get back to the meat and potatoes of my recommended art form. On the surface, drain pouring sounds unnecessary and wasteful. Should you just drain pour any old beer? Of course not. Many beers are quite delicious and enjoyable to your palate, bringing you great pleasure with its taste and/or propensity to get you drunk. However, many beers are not good. Trash, disgusting, vile, and nasty are all fitting adjectives for these beers. If you are drinking a beer and find it to fall in this category, why would you continue to consume something you are not enjoying? I give you permission to walk to your nearest sink and cathartically empty the contents of your drinking vessel into that drain. Feels kind of good, doesn’t it? Maybe you feel a little naughty for doing so, but trust me that Santa will not be putting you on a list for your transgression. You have just rid yourself of an undesired object and should feel a weight lifted off your shoulders. Congratulate yourself with a pat on the back and perhaps the opening of a good beer, something you had been saving for a special occasion. You deserve it.

Pour it all out. Don’t be afraid.

The inspiration behind writing this article is all the drain pouring I have done lately. The modern craft beer hype machine has swung sharply into confectionery palate territory, pumping out cloyingly sweet pastry sours and stouts. Another blight on the craft beer landscape is smoothie sours – their popularity boggles my mind. Who could have guessed 5 years ago that one of the most popular “beer” styles of 2020-21 more resembles something you pour out a 30℉ machine at 7-11 than it does beer. Subtlety is not a consideration. The name of the game is excess and how thicccc a brewery can make their beer. While I do occasionally like to try these beers out of morbid curiosity, a couple ounces is all I can drink – the remaining contents of the can meet the bottom of my sink.

No breweries are exempt from drain pouring. I have had some undrinkable messes from some of the most well regarded breweries around. When this happens, I don’t think of the brewery’s clout or how much I paid for that beer – refer back to sunk cost fallacy. Rather, if I’m not enjoying a beer, I dispose of it regardless of what other people or Untappd might think of it. My personal beer happiness is more important than what has the most Instagram Likes.

Some beer gets bad over time whether that span is years, months, or even the minutes it takes to warm up after opening. I have drank many a coffee stout that would have been good in the past but had developed an off-putting green pepper flavor. This is another perfectly reasonable drain pour candidate. An IPA past its recommended shelf life having lost its bright and juicy hop qualities now leaning towards a malt bomb? Down the drain. If your drinking experience does not align with what the brewer intended when the beer was released, that is a great excuse to rid yourself of that beer and move on to something else.

There are many legitimate reasons to pour your beer down the drain. At the end of the day, the only justification you need is that you were not enjoying a particular beer in a particular moment. I invite you to practice the art of drain pouring your beer and perfect your form. With the right mindset, you will spend more time drinking good beer and less time choking down something you are not enjoying. Join me in this journey towards increasing your drinking satisfaction by drain pouring a bad beer today.

Britt Antley

Britt is a native Texan, lived in Houston for 12 years, and loves his current life in the Mile High City (although his liver is having second thoughts). His liver is also not nearly as proud of his 14,000+ Untappd uniques as he is. Stupid liver. He loves flavorful complex beers from Hazy IPAs to Wild Ales to barrel aged Stouts, but ultimately he has vowed to some day be buried with a 4-pack of Bierstadt Slow Pour Pils.