When I reach for a cold microbrew, I have to admit that I’m offended by screw-tops.
I want to have to pop a bottle cap off the old-fashioned way. I also prefer having to shell my own peanuts or pistachios. Maybe it’s the little bit of work I have to do to get to the goodness inside that makes the nut taste better or the brew go down smoother.
And if you’re going to pop your own bottle caps, then you do need a good bottle opener. Those little waiter corkscrews might be great for uncorking a bottle of wine, but unless I’m on an ultra-light backpacking expedition, I don’t find the little Swiss-Army-knife style bottle opener either cute or clever. Just flimsy.
I’m all about solid bottle openers with some weight on your palm that you can really wrap your fingers around. My current favorite is made from stainless steel with bright red rubber wrapped around the handle. It must weigh more than a pound.
Beer for a better world
So my first impression on receiving the Beers Not Bombs bottle opener was that it seemed thin. True, it’s got a key ring so it’s clearly meant to be carried in a pocket, a purse or left in the car or even in a bicycle bag. But I’m already attached to a keychain made from the handle of an old silver spoon which has a lot of character. Do I need another?
Turns out that the BNB works well for a portable opener, giving about as much leverage as you can get from just a few ounces of metal.
But the real advantage of the Beers Not Bombs bottle opener is to pop open a conversation. The unit is made from “Peace Bronze™; a bronze alloy created from cabling that once powered nuclear missile systems throughout the American Midwest,” and designed with a butch GI Joe look reminiscent of an army dog tag. Bold lettering on the handle declares that the BNB is “Made from disarmed nuclear weapon systems.”
A handy wallet-sized card explains that the manufacturer, From War to Peace, donates 20% of profits to peace and social justice activist groups, including The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons.
Offered in three models, “The Classic,” “The Bomb” and “The Aviator,” each BNB will make a man feel more manly. But as a parody item with a political statement, when you use it you don’t need to feel guilty for either feeling manly or, frankly, for drinking beers.
At $19.95, they’re pricier than your average bottle opener, though they’re rugged enough to outlast your average missile silo. If you think of the BNB as a fun and educational prop that also happens to open beer bottles, then it might be worth the money.
A serious statement with a smile
“We’re convinced that our war-torn world would be better off if we all drank more beers and dropped fewer bombs,” say the folks at From War to Peace. Who am I to disagree?
People who care about the environment should be heartened by this effort to recycle. And people who care about peak oil and energy should find the BNB a useful prop to remind friends that nuclear power — so touted these days as a source of electricity to replace coal that’s easy on the climate and safe for society, despite Fukushima and other recent nuclear scares — is just an outgrowth of making atomic bombs. And in some ways, nuclear power plants are more dangerous than nuclear weapons.
Summer is a great time for beer gardens and outdoor drinkfests. Next time I’m at one, I’ll carry around my BNB Aviator and offer to pop bottle caps all around. Sounds like a great way to make new friends. Oh, and maybe talk about that whole nuke thing too? But with a brew in my hand and a smile in my heart.
— Erik Curren