Beer Lessons: Five Things to Do with Flat Beer

October 7 2012, 9:00 AM

It’s a familiar scene: You wake up and wander into the living room to find last night’s half-finished beer decorating your coffee table. It’s warm, flat, and gross. Or is it? Instead of dumping it, here are some ways to make your old brew do some work for you.

1. Shine it up: Old beer can be used as a polishing agent. Moisten a soft rag and buff gently. You’ll revitalize worn wood, and bring back the shine on copper pots and decorative doodads.

2. Grow more green: Brown spots on your lawn driving you crazy? A little beer diluted in your watering can will add vital nutrients back into the soil and stimulate new growth, thanks to fermented sugars.

3. Soak it in: When used correctly, beer can act as an excellent conditioner for your hair and body. (It's no joke; one editor's brother swears by beer-y bath products.) So, the next time you’re lighting the candles for a bubbly soak session, bring a few extra brews with you. Pour a few pints into your hot bathwater and marinate. The yeast will absorb into your skin to leave you soft to the touch and smelling like a pastry shop at sunrise. 

For the complete bath and body kit, brew your own shampoo too. Boil a cup of beer down to about a quarter of its volume (thus evaporating away alcohol that would dry out your luscious locks), and then combine with your regular shampoo. If you aren’t in the mood to homebrew shampoo, check out a ready manufactured version, like this natural beer shampoo with shea, coconut, and hemp oils. 

4. Kiss the sun: Forget lemon juice. Simply brush some beer through your hair, bask in the sun, and rinse for flashy summer highlights. 

5. Marinate: Soak your meat in a puddle of your favorite pilsner before putting it on the grill. The slight acidity of the beer tenderizes even the toughest meat, plus the flavor will caramelize on the outside as you cook it. Simply jab a few holes in your meat, drown it in beer, and let it soak for several hours.

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