If you’re a beer geek like I am, chances are you have had this happen to you:
Shitty beer.
You throw a party, you provide a cooler full of great beer alongside a kegerator of your own homemade stuff. There’s something for everyone. However, some kind friend, who just wanted to bring something to the party to be nice, decided that the best thing to do would be to bring a mixed case of Miller Lite, Miller Genuine Draft, and Natty Ice. Said friend then drinks your good beer, leaving the present of the stuff that you pretty much will never drink behind for you to deal with.

So, what do you do with this stuff?

My friends, I am here to help you. I have lived long with this problem and I have come up with many interesting ways to use this white elephant.

Re-gifting is, by far, the easiest thing to do. After all, it’s fairly likely that it’s exactly how it got to your house. Just pack it up and bring it to somebody else’s party. Eventually, it’s going to land somewhere where it will get drunk.

Fire up the grill and make Beer Can Chicken. This is really dicey if you only have bottles.

Sauces and marinades work really well with beer. This goes from BBQ sauce to Bechamel. Beer can and will work as a base for sauce, even light BMC stuff. It’s also a great base for marinades for shrimp and lobster (especially if you’re throwing them on the grill).

Baking Cake? Cookies? Bread? Torte? Doesn’t matter. Replace some (or all) of the water in the recipe with beer. Instant moistness in your finished product.

Shampoo. No shit.

Slug bait. If you have a garden – maybe you’re growing hops – and you have a problem with slugs, put a can of crappo beer out. Slugs will be on it like frat boys. The difference is that the slugs will drown in it.

Get stains out. It works like club soda. Let’s face it. It almost is club soda. You probably want to do this on something that you’ll subsequently put in the washer so you don’t have to smell like crappy beer afterwards, but it will work the same way.

Composting: Shitty beer is *great* in the compost pile. You need to keep your compost pile wet, anyway, and some of the work in composting is done by natural yeasts, so it’s a perfect fit. I generally only do this with shitty beer that’s skunked that I really don’t want to use for anything else. Warning: If you do this with a LOT of beer, your compost pile WILL smell like a bar room floor.

Drink it, but only if you’re really desperate.

Hit Google. There are sites out there that claim that you can do anything from polishing wooden furniture to curing dead spots on your lawn. Take a look. I doubt the veracity of a lot of them (especially the fertilizer one), but all of it is worth trying before you dump that stuff down the drain.

Tags Categories: op-ed Posted By: erik
Last Edit: 08 Jun 2009 @ 09 22 AM

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 03 Jun 2009 @ 9:16 AM 

This is old news at best, but it’s summertime and I live in the South, so it feels relevant. I just ran across an article that was posted in a few news outlets a couple of years back that reported that beer might be better for you than water is after exercise. For whatever reason, it’s been pulled up recently RSS feeds onto Google news and is getting a new spin around the internet on blogs – especially fitness blogs – and even the blog over at DRAFT Mag.

The Science News Cycle from PhD Comics

The team sportsman in me isn’t surprised by this at all. I find that beer heightens the excitement after each win and alleviates the bad feeling after each loss. I find it also heightens the feeling of camaraderie between teammates. But… hydration?

Prof Garzon, who announced the results at a press conference in Granada beneath a banner declaring “Beer, Sport, Health”, said the hydration effect in those who drank beer was “slightly better”.

I’ll take slightly better in most things. Unfortunately, as much as I love science that says beer is good for you, I have to take the time to call this one into question. Here are as many details as I could dig up – though I have been unable to find an actual published article.

This experiment was done with an unnamed “Spanish lager” on 25 students. They were made to run on a treadmill to “the point of exhaustion” in 104F degree weather. At the end of the session half the students were given 2 pints of water and half were given 2 pints of beer. Those who were given beer were also given access to water.

(Side comment: Science journalism by mainstream media outlets really pisses me off.)

So, we don’t know anything about the students. They’re listed as “physically fit” but we don’t know age, weight, gender makeup, or anything. We don’t know what “the point of exhaustion” means, or how it varies from one student to another. We don’t know what type of beer it was, or what it was made of, alcohol content, or even carbohydrate or caloric content. We don’t know how much water they were given access to in addition to the beer, or if they all had some. We don’t even know the metric that was used to measure recovery rate. For all we know he bought a couple of twelve packs of the Spanish version of Bud Light (there must be one, right?) and gave half the people a couple of cans in addition to the water they were drinking then sat down after they each had a couple of beers and asked, “How do you feel?”

“Great, man! Thanks for the beer!” Except.. y’know.. in Spanish.

I propose a competing study:

I play volleyball outdoor in sand courts a couple of days per week. On the weekends, we often do it in the middle of the day. In the summertime, 104F can seem like a cool day. I invite some science-minded brewery to send me beer which I will then give to half of the people that I play with (which I will also have to partake of to make sure the beer is of.. ermm.. proper quality). In return, I will make sure that after each mid-day session in the hot sun, I will neglect to measure any real information on my participants, but I will give them all an easy questionnaire: “Do you feel awesome? Y/N” and together, after 2 or 3 months of this, we can publish a paper with guaranteed excellent results.

Who’s wants to donate to this worthy cause?

Tags Tags: , ,
Categories: news, op-ed
Posted By: erik
Last Edit: 03 Jun 2009 @ 10 28 AM

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If the Pilgrims had just a coffee maker, Plymouth Rock might be somewhere entirely different.

Behold How to Brew Beer in a Coffee Maker Using Only Materials Commonly Found on a Modestly Sized Oceanographic Research Vessel.

The blog (Southern Fried Science) is worth reading, just for the point-counterpoint “Sharks are Sub Par at Best” and “Deep Sea is Sub Par at Best” discussions, but the post I linked to up there is truly inspired. There was an article to this effect in All About Beer back in 2002, but it doesn’t have the same panache that these guys have. That is at least partially due to the fact that the AAB article actually suggests using real brewing ingredients.

Here’s a quick list of the materials presented by Southern Fried Science:

  • electric drip coffee maker with hot plate
  • a coffee filter
  • 2 1-liter sample jars
  • 2 handkerchiefs
  • 2 rubber bands
  • clean water
  • baker’s yeast

They suggest some sort of cereal to act as grain (I would suggest the Grape Nuts as it’s actually barley-based, but it didn’t come up in their post), Vegemite or Marmite to add a “malt” flavor, and “alfalfa or some other green roughage” to stand in the place of hops. I’ll let you read through the methods yourself, but the result is important:


A cool, smooth brew, flavored with whatever you found. It may be very bad, it may be good. It will be beer.

I’m half tempted to try this out, myself, just to see what it tastes like. This just goes to show that science is at its best when paired with creativity. After all, that’s how we get the best beer (and… apparently, this stuff).

Tags Tags: , ,
Categories: blog
Posted By: erik
Last Edit: 01 Jun 2009 @ 09 22 AM

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