Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Beer Festival Math (these numbers are shocking!)

This coming weekend is the annual "TAP NY Craft Beer & Food Festival". It's a huge 2-day fest held only an hour south of me at Hunter Mountain Ski Resort. It keeps getting bigger every year with more breweries bringing more beers. This year they're expecting 46 breweries bringing 185 different beers - wow! You can check out the complete list of who's bringing what at my friend Kevin "The Foaming Head" Burns' blog.

This is the first year I'll be going for both days and my third time overall attending this fest. The first year I went I got the drunkest I'd ever been in my life (seriously, the last hour or so is a complete blur). Last year it was sunny and hot out, which was great because I sweated off all the alcohol and managed to drive home afterwards. Not sure how many beers I drank either year but it was probably at least 30. This year I'm going both days so I'll be able to (theoretically) sample twice as many beers as I normally would. A friend of mine said he'd love to try each and every beer poured at the fest. In a perfect world, I would too. But then I got to thinking: what would happen if you DID try all 185 beers? What would the numbers look like? So I decided to do the math and the results are shocking!

A typical pour at a beer fest is 3oz.
A typical bottle (or can) of beer in America is 12oz
Every four samples equals one bottle of beer
A case of beer has 24 bottles
A gallon is 132oz

Now let's put these numbers in perspective:

185 samples at 3oz each = 555oz total. So 555oz divided by 12oz =  46.25 bottles, or just about two bottles shy of TWO CASES. Or you could say 277.5oz per day = 23.125 bottles.

Now, I could drink two cases of beer over the course of a month or two, but the beer fest is only four hours each day. If you were to drink half the beers Saturday and the other half Sunday you'd have 4 hours (240 minutes) to drink 92.5 3oz samples.

You'd have to throw back one sample every 2:36 to keep that pace up. But when you account for the wait in line, bathroom breaks, food breaks or any other X factors you realize that pace just isn't feasible (not that I think anyone thinks it IS feasible).

Imagine how much physical space 277.5oz would take up. That's about 2.1 gallons. Now picture two jugs of milk relative to your belly - do you think they could both fit in there at the same time? And that's just the PER DAY numbers - double that for the weekend.

And what about your blood alcohol content? These beers all vary in potency, but let's just say for the heck of it that the average strength of all the beers is 6% ABV (which actually seems a little low to me). I have an app on my phone that calculates my BAC based on gender, age and metabolism. We can use that to simulate how drunk I would be if I consumed 23 12oz beers at 6% ABV in four hours. I'm a 35 year old man with a "high" metabolism and I weigh 187 pounds.

Survey says: 0.501 BAC!!

To put that in perspective, 0.08 BAC is the point at which you are too drunk to drive in the eyes of the state and .501 is over six times the legal limit. I'm no doctor, but I'd think you'd die of alcohol poisoning before you got that high of a BAC anyway.

Oh, and we haven't even talked calories yet, either. According to RateBeer.com, Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA (which is 6% ABV) is 180 calories per 12oz serving. Since we already know half the beer at the fest is equal to about 23 12oz bottles that would be 4,140 calories PER DAY (or 8,280 calories over the weekend)! NOTE: There's 3,500 calories in a pound of body fat so you'd gain almost three pounds from the beer alone.

But what if I drank only half samples of all 185 beers?

185 samples at 1.5oz each = 277.5oz or 23.125 12oz bottles

Per day statistics:
92.5 samples at 1.5oz each = 138.75oz or 11.5625 12oz bottles
4 hours divided by 92.5 samples = one sample every 2:36
11.6 bottles at 180 calories = 2,088 calories per day (4,176 total)
12 bottles at 6% ABV over 4 hours = 0.207 BAC

Ok, so what if you only aimed for 100 samples over two days (50 per day)?

100 samples at 3oz each = 300oz or 25 12oz bottles total


Per day statistics:
50 samples at 3oz each = 150oz or 12.5 12oz bottles
4 hours divided by 50 samples = one sample every 4:48
12.5 bottles x 180 calories =  2,250 calories (4,500 calories total)
12 bottles at 6% ABV over 4 hours =  0.207 BAC

80 samples (40 per day):

80 samples at 3oz each =  240oz or 20 12oz bottles total

Per day statistics:
40 samples at 3oz each = 120oz or 10 12oz bottles per day
4 hours divided by 40 samples = one sample every 6 minutes
10 bottles x 180 calories = 1,800 calories (3,600 calories total)
10 bottles at 6% ABV over 4 hours = 0.149 BAC

50 samples (25 per day)

50 samples at 3oz each = 150oz or 12.5 12oz bottles total

Per day statistics:
25 samples at 3oz each = 75oz or 6.25 12oz bottles per day
4 hours divided by 25 samples = one sample every 9:36
6.25 bottles x 180 calories = 1,125 calories (2,250 calories total)
6 bottles at 6% ABV over 4 hours = 0.037 BAC


Now that I've done the math I think I'm going to aim for somewhere between 25 and 40 samples per day (50 to 80 over the weekend)

NOTE: Please feel free to double check my math. We could turn this into a PEER REVIEWED study!