The brothers of Dartmouth College’s Alpha Delta have a had a rough year. They had to apologize for throwing a “Crips and Bloods”-themed party in July, and one of them was arrested, earlier that month, for peeing on a woman standing beneath the house’s balcony. Such hardships truly test brothers’ loyalty to each other. So does drinking enormous quantities of beer.
A recent Dartmouth grad and former AD brother, currently employed by Barclays, penned an email when he was a senior to praise the pledge class beneath him for completing “bar of beers”—an annual hazing ritual held every November, during which pledges drink as much as possible from cups arranged on a bar installed in the house’s basement.
In the handful of years since, AD brothers have distributed the email (which was forwarded to us by a tipster) to explain to pledges what they just endured. The lessons to draw from their intoxication, the author explains, are timeless:
Subject: Bar of Beers
CC: Alpha Delta
Congratulations, You finished the bar of beers. I just wanted to give you some history and insight into the bar of beers. During the 50'’ and on until the mid 1980’s the alpha delta fraternity had the largest bar in the state of the New Hampshire. The bar stretched across the whole basement, following the tract of the gorf, and it was a fraternity contest year to year to see which group of alpha delphians could drink the bar the fastest. The class of 1972 had the record when the bar was orderdered to be dismantled circa 1985. New events were tried with the smaller bar, and from these events came favorites such as quick sixes. But the feat of the contest had never been replicated. so in 1988 the first pledge class did the newer version of the bar of beers. This event has trickled down through AD in some form for the past half century.
Now sure the bar of beers is a punishment, but it is much more then that. It is your first glance as a pledge class to see where you stack up. Now i dont mean who cant drink the most, because that is not what the bar of beers is about. What you are measuring during the bar of beers, is the testament of your will, and how much respect you have for your other pledges. Because for each additional beer you drink, one of your other pledges doesn't have to drink it. It is one of the few events that really test our axiom back your fellow pledge. Sure some people drank more then others, but by making yourself drink another beer even when you dont think you can you are showing all of your other pledges, that you respect them and our willing to sacrifice for them. So remember who backed their fellow pledges last night, and who respects you and who doesnt.
An active brother who supplied this year’s pledges with the above missive appended his own commentary:
Great shit tonight boys
Good luck, Alpha Delta pledges. (And watch your back.)