Back in the 1950s when we didn't understand radiation as well as we would later, the government tested nuclear weapons out in the middle of the desert. The idea was to see how destructive the blasts would be, as well as how much radiation would be found at certain distances from the explosions.
Scientists also wanted to know how much radiation certain substances would absorb -- following a nuclear blast, for example, would food that hadn't been destroyed but still not all that far away be safe to eat? They also, fortunately, tested potable liquids for drinking safety. Among them: Beer.
According to the story, radiation effects on samples a thousand feet away from the blast as well as two miles away were minimal, meaning that the beer would be safe to drink "in an emergency." I am not sure how helpful this information is. Although as a grownup I am a tee-totaler, this was not always the case. In college, it seemed that many circumstances would fit into the category of an "emergency" that required drinking beer. For example, you could enter a room in which beer was present, an obvious "emergency" that would mean you would need to drink it.
Tastewise, the beer was rated as a "little strange-tasting." Again, going back to collegiate days in which one of the most important considerations about the acquisition of beer was the relationship of the price of the beer and the cash, change or third-party-cashable checks on hand, I have to confess that much of what I consumed may very well have been irradiated if the standard is "a little strange-tasting." On the other hand, considering the hygiene situations at some of the places where said beer was purchased, a little germ-killing radiation might not have been such a bad idea.