The cans became pretty effective fire extinguishers thanks to a common college party trick.

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It’s the kind of dismissing quip you might hear from a beer snob: “Bud Light? That stuff’s basically water.” Well, taste buds aside, one California man proved that, for putting out a fire, yes, Bud Light literally is as good as water.

This month, California has been ravaged by some of the largest fires in state history, leaving many residents battling to protect their property. That was the case with Chad Little. Last Wednesday morning, he watched as fire approached his home in Vacaville, a city in Northern California’s Solano County. “I saw the fire coming from across and down the canyon,” he told KCRA News. “You could see it over on the ridgeline.”

A can of Bud Light
Credit: Patrick McDermott / Contributor/Getty Images

Heartbreakingly, Little had previously lost his home to an attic fire in 2015, and the rebuild was only finally nearing completion this year. So for these wildfires, Little chose to take a stand. “I spent five years getting to this point,” he told Vacaville’s The Reporter. “I’m not going to start over from ground one.”

But protecting his house and adjacent workshop wouldn’t be easy. The water supply had been cut off. “I didn’t have any water,” he said. “I had one barrel with a little bit of water in it and I tried using that, but it didn’t work.”

However, he did have a 4.2-percent ABV trick up his sleeve: “I started ripping up the sheet metal, and I had 30-packs of Bud Light in here, and I just grabbed those,” he told reporter Emily Maher. “When I ripped up the sheet metal, it had a nail, so I was just shaking it up, popping it and spraying it, throwing it down and grabbing another one.”

In the parlance of drinkers, puncturing the side of a can to let beer shoot out is known as “shotgunning.” But as Little explained to The Reporter, he had a method to his madness. “When I first grabbed the cans of beer and ran down there, I was shaking them up and opening them up but it was just dispersing too quick,” he was quoted as saying. “When I saw that nail, I would just puncture a hole and shake as I was going, and I could aim it and concentrate on the bad parts [of the fire].”

Amazingly, these makeshift, 12-ounce blue fire extinguishers did the trick, and Little was able to put out the workshop flames before emergency services arrived and helped with the rest. Unfortunately, some parts of the property were damaged, but the shop and his five-years-in-the-making house were spared. “My buddies all tease me about drinking water-beer,” Little joked. “I say, ‘hey, it saved my shop.’”

And as one final silver aluminum lining, Little said not all the beer was used up in the blaze. In fact, he later added that, though the beers were a lifesaver, the best brew was when he finally “grabbed a cold one” for himself.