Students do not take beer lightly — on or off campus

It comes in blonde, amber and dark, and it just may have changed your life one night.

From on-campus to off-campus, kegs to pints, New Haven and Yale have got the beer you want on tap.

If you’re looking for history and are really thirsty, Richter’s Bar is the place to go. Below the Taft Apartments on Chapel St, Richter’s is the oldest bar in New Haven, dating back to 1858. A speakeasy during prohibition, Richter’s removed its paneled walls to reveal a basement of its hidden alcohol stash. Luckily the country regained its senses in 1933, and ever since then Richter’s bartenders have been more than happy to serve you a half-yard of your favorite beer.

The half-yard glasses, supported by a wooden stand, are true to their name. Sally Wagner Partin ’05 suggested that only fast drinkers order half-yards.

“If you like to sip your beer, get the two-pint glasses,” Wagner Partin said. “Otherwise you are going to get to the end of your half-yard and it is going to be warm and flat.”

Guinness is Richter’s top seller, but the bar is always changing which beers are on tap. Andrew Vinci ’06 said he enjoys drinking a half-yard of Smithwicks — an Irish beer that is “lighter than Guinness” — alongside a Richter’s burger. Chris Wyant ’05 recommends Pilsner Urquell on tap and Guinness in a half-yard.

On the other side of campus, Rudy’s Bar and Grill is the home to bottled beer with a side of frites. Behind Pierson College on Elm St., Rudy’s has live music and over 20 imports and 10 domestics. Stella Artois and Guinness are customer favorites and are always on tap. Permittee Omar Ipek said Hoegardeen — a Belgian wheat beer — goes best with the frites. Served in a special hexagonal glass specifically designed for pouring, Hoegardeen comes with a zest of lemon.

For those who prefer their beer to be homegrown, BAR brews several of its very own. From the BAR Blonde to the Damn Good Stout, BAR offers five varieties of its beer on tap at the main bar and at the pizza counter.

The lightest of BAR’s brews, the slightly spicy BAR Blonde is its most ordered drink, especially popular among Yale girls. Diana Reiter ’05 said she likes the Blonde because it goes down easier than some heavier beers.

“It’s the lightest and easiest to drink a lot of,” Reiter said.

BAR manager Frank Patrick said the Blonde “just turned into people’s favorite,” and estimated that BAR goes through a “batch” — approximately 600 gallons — of Blonde every couple of weeks.

Those who find their beer on campus should be prepared for a less gourmet drinking experience. At fraternities or while playing flip cup in an apartment, you’ll likely run into Milwaukee’s Best. Known as “Beast,” it is the cheapest beer sold in kegs at College Liquor.

Even with his extensive knowledge and experience of domestic and foreign beers, Chris Hagale ’06 still said “warm Beast” is his top choice, adding that it is best “consumed in very unsanitary Beirut games.” The fraternities Sigma Alpha Epsilon and Sigma Nu both serve Beast at their parties, and the Barn common room always has Beast on tap.

Milwaukee’s Best and Icehouse are the two most popular kegs bought at College Liquor, the beer store for many Yalies. Toad’s Place is also a cornerstone of cheap beer, serving $1 drafts of Natural Light on Wednesday and Saturday night dance parties. And for the lucky few considered V.I.P.s at Toads, $1 will get you an extra-large cup of Natty Light.

College Wine owner Sanjay Padil stocks many imported beers, but said students most frequently buy 30-packs of Budweiser and Miller High Life. Padil also suggested Pabst Blue Ribbon — PBR to its friends — as one of the best cheap beers.

“PBR just came back into the market,” he said. “And a lot of people don’t know it exists.”

Wagner Partin added that PBR is a “great bang for your buck.”

Miller Light and Bud Light, two of the many light beer options for the calorie and carb conscious, are the most popular light beers at College Wine.

Football player Will Blodgett ’06 said he is trying to loose a few under his coach’s orders. Blodgett has given up drinking beer for Lent, but he said he usually enjoys Coors Light — and will not touch Miller Light.

“I don’t want to gain weight, and heavy beers make you look and get fat,” Blodgett said. “If I could, I’d drink Michelob Ultra but I get made fun of by my friends and teammates too much to do that.”

And when spring finally arrives, the truest beer lovers will be rewarded with a full day of games and celebration. On the day of Spring Fling, DKE hosts the annual TANG competition followed by Zeta Psi’s Buffet Bash. TANG is a round-robin match in which teams from each residential college race to finish eight ounce glasses of beer.

The beer served at TANG is usually Natural Light, but the choice of beer hardly matters. A competitor since her freshman year, Wagner Partin was a member of the women’s championship team in 2004. Detailing her team’s Golden Keg-winning strategy, Wagner Partin explained why the taste of Natty Light doesn’t come into play.

“The way you drink for TANG is flatten your beer by pouring it back and forth between two cups, to take the bubbles out,” Wagner Partin explained. “So it doesn’t matter what it tastes like because it’s already messed up.”

The TANG crowd usually takes an afternoon nap after the event ends around 1 p.m., and then heads over to Buffet Bash at Zeta Psi. Zeta Psi brother Miles Hall ’06 described Buffet Bash as a “celebration of the beer-drinking lifestyle.”

New Haven and Yale provide plenty of opportunities to celebrate the beer drinking lifestyle, whether you’re on the search for the perfect brew or you simply enjoy that familiar buzz.

Patty Balbas ‘05 drinks a beer at BAR. The BAR Blonde is one of many popular beers on tap at New Haven area bars. Staying on campus, students are rarely so lucky to get a gourmet brew.
Smita Gopisetty
Patty Balbas ‘05 drinks a beer at BAR. The BAR Blonde is one of many popular beers on tap at New Haven area bars. Staying on campus, students are rarely so lucky to get a gourmet brew.

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