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How to Make Beer Cold Without Refrigeration Tip

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One of my main tips for budget travel is to stay out of bars. A single night in a bar in most places of the world can easily flush an entire week’s (or more) worth of travel funds right down into some dirty pisser. I enjoy drinking, it is a good mechanism for social bonding, but I try to stay away from bars. Rather, I buy my booze from a grocery or liquor store and drink on the beach, in the mountains, my hotel, the woods, in a field . . . anywhere besides a bar — where you pay for existing rather than just drinking.

But how, you may ask, with all of this transport and movement and hiking are you to keep your drinks cold? 

Beer being cooled by evaporation

I found the solution when a group of American geology students offered me a beer at a campsite in Iceland. I, of course, accepted. I was handed a bottle of premium Icelandic micro-brew that had wet toilet paper stuck all over it.

F’cking gross, no?

“Why is there toilet paper all over your beer?” I had to ask the students.

“Oh, that is to make it cold,” one of them answered. ” The wet toilet paper causes evaporation which cools the beer.”


I grabbed the beer that was handed to me. The toilet paper was dingleberried all over the bottle, but it was cool. I popped open the beer and took a drink. It was, by all accounts, cold enough to enjoy.

We were camping, without refrigeration, and I was drinking a cool beer in the middle of a field in Iceland.

Why this works

When a human sweats it is not the excreted water — in and of itself — that cools you. It is this liquid evaporating on the surface of your skin that lowers your body’s temperature. The water — in this case, sweat — requires energy to evaporate, and it takes this energy from your skin, essentially stealing its heat and lowering its temperature in the process.


Apparently, this same principal also works for warm beer or other beverages. Just wrap up the bottles in a blanket of wet toilet paper (or another material that retains water but also allows for it to dry) and wait for the water to evaporate a little. The drier the paper gets (the more the water evaporates) the cooler your beer should get.

So the next time someone whines about how their drinks are going to get cold if they accept your invitation for a toast on a mountain top, just tell them not to harbor any worries: if you have a roll of toilet paper, some water, and a little time to wait, you can have cool beer anywhere.

Icelandic micro-brew

Filed under: Food, Travel Tips

About the Author:

Wade Shepard is the founder and editor of Vagabond Journey. He has been moving through the world since 1999, traveling to 55 countries. He is the author of the book, Ghost Cities of China, which is a first hand, experiential account of China’s urbanization drive which has created hundreds of completely new cities. has written 2813 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

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