Home / Joe Wise / The Birthday Story 
On January 6th, 1997, I had my 21st birthday party. My roommate turned 21 in the same timeframe, so, it was also my roommate's 21st birthday party. In anticipation of a large turnout, we bought four kegs of beer. Now, my room was on the second floor of our townhouse style apartment. I had a sliding glass door that opened onto a small balcony. My room was pretty small so the head of my bed butted up against the window part of the sliding door. We all agreed that my balcony would be the ideal place to keep the beer since it was out of the way and cold. The party went off without a hitch save one. It was insanely cold out that night which limited the number of attendees somewhat and we were unable to finish the beer. Specifically, we had a full, untapped keg and a keg that was still about 1/4 full. We put these on my balcony again, planning on keeping them until the next weekend. The next day, we checked on them and sure enough they were frozen solid. We had feared that they might freeze and burst, but, only the former had occurred, so we just left them out there, figuring, after all, that they were already frozen; they wouldn't get any worse. Well, Monday morning I was sound asleep when suddenly at five A.M., on the nose, it got worse. I can only liken the sound that ripped me from subconsciousness to that heard by those present at nuclear bomb test sites. I nearly wet my bed. At first I thought it was my alarm clock and after I peeled my face from the ceiling, I fumbled to turn it off. Sure enough, by the time I got the correct button pushed, the sound had subsided. I laid back down and thought to myself "My alarm clock has never had that much bass in it before and how in the world did it get so loud?" Then it occurred to me: "Maybe that keg exploded. Nah, couldn't be." But I pulled back the curtain to see my entire sliding door and window covered in frozen beer. I got up and turned on the lights. The bottom of my roommate's balcony which is directly above mine looked like it had foam rubber insulation on it. There was beer flavored slushy everywhere. My sliding door was frozen shut with beer. It exploded with such force that it mashed the screen against the window and froze it there. It blew beer all over the building next to ours. Beercicles were hanging from our mailbox. I looked at the thermometer and I was able to ascertain (Through the frozen beer covered plastic) that the temperature had gotten down to 2 degrees that night. Apparently, this is the critical temperature of Natural Light. I was truly dumbfounded by how loud it was. I slept with my head about two feet from the window and the keg was just on the other side of that window. The net result is that four feet is easily within audible range of an exploding keg. Apparently, the side of the keg facing the sliding door was what ruptured, causing the beer slush to beat against the window like a drum. I do consider myself, however, quite fortunate. Had the other side of the keg ruptured, the keg would have propelled itself through the window and blown frozen beer throughout my room. So, despite the mess, I actually felt pretty lucky about the outcome.