If you've ever hosted a backyard barbeque, poolside cookout, summer picnic or house party (aka “kegger”), you've probably been faced with the inevitable too-much-leftover-beer problem afterward. And not the unopened, put-it-back-in-the-fridge kind of leftover beer you can drink after everyone leaves, either. We're talking about the full or partially empty bottles, cans, and cups of beer guests leave all over your counters, tables, chairs, and floor (or even the quarter-full keg left on your lawn, god forbid!).
It may be the most-widely consumed alcoholic beverage and the third most common beverage of all, but that doesn't make wasting it is any more excusable. Which is why we recommend putting it to use in any number of the following ways and benefiting from its many previously unknown properties.
SURPRISING WAYS TO RE-USE BEER
- Kill Slugs and Snails: Sure, it's easy enough to sizzle the life out of these lawn and garden pests with harsh chemicals or salt (if you can find them!), but beer offers an easier, kinder option that won't harm your outdoor pets. Simply bury a clean container (such as an empty 2-liter plastic bottle cut length-wise in half) in the area where you've seen the pests, leave the top about one-half inch higher than ground level, and pour in leftover beer. The slugs and snails will be drawn to it, fall in, and drown. What a way to go!
- Treat Stubborn Stains: Have a coffee- or tea-stained rug? Simply perform a quick color test on a non-visible area first, then if all looks well, simply douse the stain in light beer, blot, and repeat.
- Polish Pots: Beer's subtle acidity can help boost shine without staining the metal like higher-acidity liquids will. As with treating carpet stains, perform an inconspicuous test spot first, and if that goes alright, dampen a soft towel with beer an buff.
- Trap Fruit Flies: If you have an indoor compost or just some bananas ripening on your counter, chances are you've got a fruit fly problem. All you have to do to get rid of them is pour about 2 to 3 inches of beer into a mason jar, cover the opening with a piece of plastic wrap, and secure with a rubber band. Poke a few holes in the top of the plastic so the fruit flies can get into the jar of beer, but can't escape.
- Attract Butterflies: Butterflies may be pretty to look at, but they feed on some pretty odd, non-nectar nutrient sources. If you want to attract butterflies to your yard, all you need to do is combine a can of stale beer with some sugar, syrup, fruit juice, and a mashed, overripe banana. Then simply splash the mixture on a tree, fence post, rock, or stump of your choosing and wait patiently.
- Volumize Hair: Beer contains vitamin B and natural sugars that add body and shine to hair. It also acts as a natural conditioner that increases resilience, vitality, and hold. If you don't mind smelling a bit like, well...beer, simply pour a cup of it into a glass and allow it to go flat and warm. Shampoo and rinse your hair as usual, then pour the flat warm beer on your hair and work through. Finish by rinsing thoroughly with cool water.
- Highlight Hair: Going sunbathing at the beach? Spray or pour some beer on your hair and let it soak as you lay in the sun. After your hair dries, rinse it in the saltwater to take away the smell and to reveal lovely, sun-kissed hair.
- Revive and Polish Furniture: Flat beer makes a great wood reviver. To polish and bring back some of its natural color, rub your wooden furniture with a microfiber cloth dampened with flat beer.
- Polish Gold Jewelry: Instead of using a store-bought, chemical-based cleaner, just drop your rings and various other pieces of gold jewelry into a dish of beer. Then remove and polish to a beautiful sheen with a dry cloth.
- Marinate Meat: The slightly acidic qualities of beer make it a great on-hand tenderizer that isn't as acidic in flavor as wine- or vinegar-based marinades. Use a stout beer with hearty flavor, poke a few holes in the meat, add any other herbs or spices, and let it marinate in the fridge for a few hours or overnight.
- Treat Brown Spots on the Lawn: If you have a dog, you're familiar with brown spots on your lawn. Fortunately, pouring beer onto the spots has been said to promote green growth within days.
- Steam better Hotdogs: Use beer instead of water to steam your next hotdog, bratwurst or vege-dog and enjoy the additional flavor.
- Make Beer Batter: The key to great fish 'n chips is a great beer batter; so don't let good beer go to waste and miss out on an equally good meal. Just combine 1 cup of all-purpose flour, 1 beaten egg, 1 teaspoon of garlic powder, and a ½ teaspoon of ground black pepper in a small mixing bowl. Then stir in 1 to 1 ½ cups of beer until you obtain your desired texture.
- Cook with Beer: Health.com has lots of recipes for using up leftover beer such as beer-cheese bread, Belgian beer and beef stew, and Southwestern chili.
- Keep Bees at Bay: Nobody likes bees or wasps at their barbeque or outdoor get-together. So an hour before your guests are due to arrive, place some small jars of beer around the perimeter of the yard. The smell will attract and distract the bees while you enjoy your backyard shindig.