Beer tents can be crowded places and when they are this can make carrying more than one beer 20 feet especially daunting. When carrying beer for yourself and two or three other people in a beer tent there are several risks that might present themselves. According to the Universities of Ottawa and Indiana, balance can be affected after having two drinks or more i.e. .07+ blood alcohol level depending on your size. This combined with other hazards such as being bumped into with overfilled beer cups can make a beer tent beer carrying technique worthwhile. The pros and cons of different beer carrying techniques are outlined below.
• The side carry
The aisles of a beer tent can be laden with obstacles such as chairs, tables, people, and sometimes even dogs or children. Many of these obstacles exist at thigh level making carrying beer by your sides a bad idea. This is not the best beer tent carrying technique because 1. You can spill the beer all over yourself when you can't see what your hands are bumping into and 2. You could offend other tent dwellers when the beer you're holding bumps into their pants, chair or head.
• Front arm extension
Carrying beer with arms extended forward can help you see what's going on, but space is limited in a beer tent. In such case it will be difficult to use this beer tent carrying technique. However, if for some reason you are able to use the front arm extension another problem can occur. Specifically, the further your arms are extended the less time you have to pull the beer in to a closer and safer position if someone backs into you without noticing.
• Overhead bucket position
Carrying beer high up is safe from low obstacles but puts you in danger of a beer shower. It might be hilarious for everyone else in the beer tent to see you drop your beer on your own head, but probably not for you. Holding beer cups overhead put you at risk even if you're the tallest person in the tent because balancing full beer cups after you've already had a couple of drinks decreases coordination.
• Chest hugger and mouth hold
Holding beer close to your body while clenching your own beer cup with your teeth puts you at risk of beer face, wet shirt and beer hands. This method protects those around you and reduces chances of collision spill but does little to protect you from body spill. The chest hugger position can also lead to cup compression in a very crowded tent and when the cups are plastic, the result can be crushed beer cup and near 100% spillage.
• Cup holders and beer mugs
For those who plan ahead and don't mind accessories cup holders and beer mugs might be the carrying method of choice. Ceramic beer mugs with flip tops are well suited for carrying beer in beer tents because they can't be crushed, contain liquid, hold more beer and are actually beer mugs. Cup holders aren't so good an adaptation because they can merely amplify the negative consequences of some of the above techniques. Cup holders do equalize multiple cup balancing which is good in a less crowded tent but the usefulness declines in proportion to number of beers drunk and number of people in the tent.
* Prison bar hold
The prison bar cup hold is one of the more practical methods to carrying beer in a beer tent. This involves holding the beer cups like they are prison bars. Keeping the cups about one foot in front of you just above head level keeps the beer cups in eye view for a longer period of time while simultaneously protecting yourself from body spill and increasing the prospect of collateral beer spillage should someone bump into you. This method serves both as a warning to others not to get to close to you while carrying beer while reducing overall risk of spilling.
No matter what beer carrying method you use in a beer tent, if you have to carry more than two beers you're making a potentially bad decision. Knowing how to carry beer in a beer tent can make the tasting and leisure activity that much better. Next time you're at a beer tent, take a look around to see how others are carrying their beer. You might see some of the above techniques being used and distinguish between the good methods.
1. http://bit.ly/c7in6I (University of Indiana)
2. http://bit.ly/e8Xmm (Ottawa University)