If there’s one time and place where an unexpected, boisterous burp isn’t met with an embarrassed grimace, it’s at the bar, drinking beer with your friends. The burping gets even worse when a disheveled you, at some vague, forgotten hour, despite being fully aware of the regret it will stir the following morning, chug another pint while your “friends” encourage. However, have you ever wondered what causes this *burps* phenomenon?
Let’s be honest, a burp is only inconvenient to other people. Personally, it’s quite liberating. Humans or animals, in general, burp to eliminate excess gas that may cause indigestion and consequently, discomfort. While eating, we don’t just swallow food and drinks, but also a certain volume of air. Even more of that air is swallowed when people eat rapidly, or when they talk while eating. The air accumulates in the stomach and causes discomfort.
The system then desperately wishes to get rid of it. The stomach’s muscles, which were stretched by the incoming air, now contract and vent it through the esophagus, the long tunnel that connects the stomach and mouth. What exits the mouth is a plume of gas and a distinctive, croaky sound – a burp.
Beer makes you burp for the same reason that fizzy drinks do: they contain an excess of gas, specifically carbon dioxide. Beer is infused with one or two pints of carbon dioxide while it is brewed, which is what inflates the tiny bubbles in the brew and produces the sharp, fizzy sensation on our tongue.
Now, if burping intensifies when we swallow quickly, imagine the magnitude by which it worsens when we swallow a substance that already comprises a surplus of gas! This is why people, particularly those with sensitive stomachs, are recommended not to chug beers, despite the puerile, empty veneration it attracts.
How to stop burping
To avoid the embarrassment and grimaces, the obvious solution is to avoid drinking beer. However, let’s not ask too much of ourselves. We know that’s not going to happen (sorry for the cynicism, but come on, we know it’s true), but there are a few things you can do to abate the burping: drink slowly (or at least don’t chug the beer), avoid using a straw (if you’re strange enough to use one, that is) since that narrow tool vacuums up air, and also try not to smoke or talk too much while drinking.
Or you can simply change your brand: different manufacturers infuse their beer with different volumes of carbon dioxide. Budweiser and Corona Extra are known to be the most severely carbonated beers, so even though you look like macho and outgoing with a Budweiser in your hand, you might not want to drink it with your next client or date!