College Guide


June 08, 2012 1:00 PM The Beer Solution

By Daniel Luzer


Demonstrating yet again Dartmouth’s astounding lack of self-awareness, Dartmouth graduate Isaiah Berg offers several really unconventional ideas about how to fix the fraternity system. Over at Dartblog he writes about his plans:

Mandate beer connoisseurship. The problem with Keystone, besides the fact that it comes in a can, is that it is absurdly inexpensive and tastes horrid. And with an ABV of around 3%, Keystone can be consumed faster and in greater quantities than most other beers. There are negative externalities to cheap beer: fraternities are more likely to give it out indiscriminately and consume it indiscriminately, which tend to cause problems. The College could choose a number of high-end craft beers such as Dogfish Head, Switchback, Harpoon, etc. and simply mandate that only their products be served in the kegs at student functions. Animal House antics are made less attractive while serving and consuming full-bodied, superior, expensive beer. Students’ palates would thank them later.

Nice try.

I’m not really sure if he’s serious but this would only improve the school’s Greek system if the problem were minor, along the lines of “neighbors are complaining.” If your problem is hazing scandal, fancy beer isn’t going to help. [Image via]

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer


  • Rick B on June 09, 2012 1:52 AM:

    The problem with mandating beer connoisseurship anywhere in the U.S. is that there is no mass produced truck-delivered American beer which would qualify. After the U.S. Army provided me with a three year tour of German beers (interspersed with occasional military activities) I returned to America to the horrible realization that there was nothing here to drink except pale, tasteless lagers. Nothing has changed except the occasional import which, sadly, proves that beer does not travel well.

    I seriously doubt that any fraternity in America would survive the anti-American reputation of demanding beer connoisseurship.

  • HokieAnnie on June 10, 2012 9:14 AM:

    Rick you are so, so, so, so wrong. The best beer is made in America. When was the last time you set foot in a decent grocery store/liquor store?

    The craft beer movement started by Jimmy Carter's lifting of the restrictions on home brewing has created a golden age of American beer. German beer is hamstrung by the Rheingold purity laws. It's good for what it is but there so much more depth and creativity to US beer right now.

    That said methinks that Isaiah Berg was channeling Jonathan Swift. That could not possibly be a serious suggestion.

  • Snarki, child of Loki on June 11, 2012 1:15 PM:

    Depends on where you live, I suspect. Probably hard to get good microbrews in the wilds of Nebraska, for example.

    If you really want college kids to cut down on the boozing, there's an solution, but it takes time and altering attitudes:

    Starting at age ~12 make each kid drink some beer on their birthday. They'll hate it, it'll scar them for life (or at least their teens). Point is, the teen rebellion will be to *avoid* drinking beer; it's no longer a "rite of passage" thing, it's a "kid" thing.