photo by nbonzey of flickr.com

photo by nbonzey of flickr.com

We’ve all had, seen or been a part of that moment when a bro insists you try his beer that he is currently drinking. He just wants to be nice and share that great find with you, right? So you’re obligated to say yes. What do you do?

Let’s think about this one for a minute, beer has alcohol and alcohol kills bacteria, right? Wrong, well I mean right but wrong in this context. Beer does not have enough alcohol to kill off the bacteria your bro, who you don’t know if he brushed his teeth this morning, has in his mouth. There in lies a major problem, you want to try the beer but like that bowl of nuts at the bar, do you swap spit with your mate?

Does Beer Kill Germs?

Ok so let’s take a step back and see what alcohol does and how it’s effective. According to the Center for Disease Control website, alcohol breaks down the cell membrane (the shell) of bacteria and “denatures/kills” the protein inside of the cell, effectively killing the bacteria. So yes alcohol does kill coodies, but what this report suggests is that it does so only in concentrated forms of 50% or more. Beer averages between 4 and 12% alcohol by volume, which means the amount of alcohol present in your beer is not enough to wash away that flu your bro has on his lips. ¬† Even a strong 20% beer like Dogfish Head World Wide Stout of 20% alcohol is not enough to kill germs.

Now What?

So what do you do when your bro hands you a beer and says “Bro you have to try this?” I don’t know that’s up to you but I will say, is that sip worth potentially swapping spit and taking home your friends germs? For me, I have done it and probably will do it in the future but its much better to ask the bartender for a sample of the beer in a clean/sterile glass then to dive head first into your bros bacteria laced, bad breath having, plaque friendly, gingivitis ridden mouth. ¬†Cheers