Huzzah for Heroin Beer!

People are loyal to brands for numerous reasons, one of which is the sense of continuity they offer. For instance, if you have a bottle of Corona in Mexico, it’s pretty much guaranteed to taste the same as the one you consumed in Montreal or Dublin. Draft beer should follow the same rule: regardless of where you consume it, the beer on tap here will taste like the beer on tap there.*

One would assume the same goes for how intoxicated you’ll become from drinking draft: a pint is a pint, and the effect is the same regardless of where it is consumed. Right?

Ice Cold in JFK

Photo credit: psd


Wrong. Anyone who has ever ordered draft at a Calgary Flames home game knows that the draft served at the Scotiabank Saddledome (aka the ‘Dome) is a major exception to the rule.

Allow me to let you in on a little secret: the beer at the ‘Dome is magical. Regardless of the type of draft you purchase, after just one glass you will be excessively messed up. Sure, one pint normally doesn’t affect you at all. You’ve done this before, right? Well you can forget all you know about alcohol tolerance at the ‘Dome, because somehow their draft will mess you up after one, two will leave you slurring, you’ll feel like a Zamboni has hit you after three, and downing four is just asking to get your stomach pumped.

If you think this sounds crazy, you’ve clearly never been knocked down by the ‘Dome’s draft. This urban legend is so well-known that it has its own listing in the Urban Dictionary, numerous newspaper articles and internet forums focus on the issue, reporters from as far away as Toronto have run articles trying to figure out the magic of heroin beer.

It seems that everyone who has come under the spell of heroin beer has a theory to explain how it does what it does. Here are a few of the most common hypotheses:

  • Dirty draft lines = something funky is added to the beer on its way up to your glass
  • Foamy beer = excess carbonation deprives the body of oxygen & gets you drunk quickly
  • Long draft lines = heroin beer has to travel a long way from the Saddledome basement
  • Higher alcohol content = this claim has been debunked by reporters who have smuggled samples out of the ‘Dome to be tested at local labs

Regardless of what really make heroin beer so magical, I think it’s most redeeming quality is that you can get a really decent buzz going during a Flames game for the price of just one beer. Considering the cost of NHL tickets and merchandise, a “one draft buzz” might just be the best deal to be had in the whole arena.

Have you had any personal experiences with heroin beer? Or do you know of any other arenas where it can be found? If so, I’d love to hear more in the comments section!

* A major exception to this ‘rule’ is Guinness, which many (including Barack Obama and this scientific study) claim tastes best when consumed in Ireland.

One thought on “Huzzah for Heroin Beer!

  1. Pingback: A Virtual First for Women’s Hockey | Cultural Quirks

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