Warm beer. It’s hard to imagine anything worse on a hot summer’s day. Unless you’re an Englishman like Ben Southall who grew up on it (well technically, room-temperature beer, but we can all agree they’re pretty awful).
Southall has lived in Australia since 2009 when he won Queensland Tourism’s ‘Best Job in the World’ invitation. Southall now spends much of his time travelling the world from his base in Brisbane. His time here has changed him. No matter where he is in the world, he now has a fondness for cold beer. His problem is figuring out how to make it happen.
We asked Southall for his DIY expertise when it comes to novel beer cooling methods.
Submerging in water
“In the Himalayas it's about 25 degrees outside, but glacial water comes down the mountains,” says Southall. “The water is freezing cold. So all you need to do is get some string, tie the beers to a tree and put them in that stream. Not too many glaciers in Australia though.”
He’s right. Even so, submerging your (unopened) beers in a stream or the ocean will perform a similar trick. “On a hot day, the sea temperature is going to be cooler than the outside air temperature,” says Southall. “So if you could make some sort of floatable ring and suspend the beer underneath it, put them in an Esky and keep it submerged in the shallows, or if you’re in calm water like a stream, just plant them in water in the cool sand, I think that would be the best way.”
A more reliable tip is to buy a block of dry ice. Available from mobile gas suppliers like Supagas and BOC, it’s more expensive than wet ice but lasts longer – a trick Southall learnt only recently. “You wrap [dry ice] in newspaper and it will last two to three days in an Esky,” he says. “Just keep your fruit away from it otherwise it freezes solid.”
Alternatively if you’re camping, take two Eskies. Freeze a couple of water-filled plastic bottles in the Esky that has dry ice (which sits at minus 78.5 degrees), then transfer them to the other Esky to keep it nice and chilled for two to three days.
Hole in the ground
It’s a Saturday afternoon, the sun is starting to dip and a dozen mates have shown up in your yard with a slab and a bag of ice.
“You could do a reverse hāngi,” Southall says. That’s a traditional Maori method for cooking, wherein you dig a hole and fill it with hot coals. Food is then wrapped and buried with the coals to cook. “Dig a hole in the ground, fill it with ice and make that your Esky.”
Pros: No need to buy laundry tubs or wreck the bathtub (or let your mates stomp through the house). And you were going to tip the ice into the garden anyway. Cons: no one really wants to dig a hole in summer.
This article is produced by Broadsheet in partnership with James Squire.