Don't Worry, You Can Drink Beer After Nuclear Disaster

In need of a water source during a nuclear disaster? Age-old tests show that beer will be safe to drink

Back during the days of the Cold War, citizens were genuinely worried that a nuclear disaster was coming their way. And that meant that the government needed to be prepared on all fronts — including figuring out whether an atomic bomb would effect the quality of beer. 

In today's wacky news, NPR first reported on the findings of science historian Alex Wellerstein. Wellerstein uncovered documents that reveal a 1957 study, called "The Effect of Nuclear Explosions on Commercially Packaged Beverages." In short, the government tested cans and bottles of beer and soda to see if they were safe to consume after an atomic explosion, by literally placing them near an atomic explosion, with the power of 20 to 30 kilotons of TNT about 1,000 feet awayIn conclusion? After testing for radioactivity and taste, the researchers concluded that the beverages were safe to drink. While the cans did better than the bottles (we assume they were onto the safeguard of cans long before canned beer was cool), but they concluded that the "irradiating effects were minimal," reports PopScience.

So if you're still worried about that nuclear disaster, rest assured that a beer or soda will suffice if you're out of water — in the short term. Of course, don't expect the taste to be great; the most blasted cans were "still of commercial quality" but had a slight flavor change. We're sure we would have other things on our mind after a bomb besides how our beer tastes. 

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