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6 things to do with beer (other than drink it)


So Cousin Eddy left all that Blatz Light beer in your fridge, and you'll never drink it. Or you found out after buying that 12-pack of special-edition Pumpkin Caramel Ale that it, well, tastes hideous.

Do not be alarmed. This malty beverage actually serves many non-quaffing functions. Here, we present six uses - a six-pack, if you will - for unwanted beer.

1. Hop up the volume

The '70s were all about feeding your hair.

If you weren't conditioning your Marcia Brady highlights with mayonnaise, you were rinsing them in Miller High Life.

The brew-up-better-hair fad prompted one company to manufacture Body on Tap, a shampoo that contained "one-third real beer."

Nowadays, a whole slew of beer-fortified shampoos are available.

After all, beer contains many components that are follicle-friendly.

According to the makers of Body on Tap - which has been reformulated with a new $14.95 price tag - the complex carbs in beer "have a hydrating effect, while proteins coat each strand, giving them more strength and elasticity."

Lon Reinertson, a stylist at SJ Hair Studio, Fargo, says the hops in beer also give our tresses volume. In fact, the salon carries an Aveda volumizing tonic that features hops as a key ingredient.

Amber Knight, an instructor at Josef's School of Hair Design, says beer really smoothes down the cuticle of the hair, making it super-shiny.

If you're a crafty type who likes to make your own beauty products:

1. Pour a cup of beer into a saucepan and bring it to a boil over medium heat. Boil uncovered until it reduces to ¼ cup. (This removes the alcohol, which dries out hair.)

2. Let the beer cool; then whisk it into a cup of your favorite shampoo. Store in an empty shampoo bottle.

2. A lawn, tall cool one

According to professional gardener Andrew Lopez, beer can clear up brown spots on your lawn.

The beverage's fermented sugars apparently stimulate plant growth and kill fungi.

Lopez recommends spraying either home brew or Rolling Rock (both are chemical-free) on the offending spots.

3. Beer-buff the buffet

The sight of a beer can is usually cause for any hostess to run screeching across the room with coaster in hand. After all, one thoughtlessly placed cold one may leave water rings on a wood finish for eternity.

But beer can be furniture's friend. The fermented brew is supposedly extra-beneficial in the care and feeding of oak. shares this super-simple way to beer-buff the buffet: Let a can go completely flat and pour it onto a polishing cloth. Buff your tables with it, following up with a final dry buff. It will make your end tables and coffee tables look shiny and new.

(We tested this tip out on two different tables. It left them lustrous-looking, but smelling like they belonged in a frat house.)

If you'd like to try a more conditioning treatment, check out this polish from Boil 1 quart of beer with 1 tablespoon sugar, 2 tablespoons beeswax (available at craft stores) and 3 drops lavender essential oil. When the mixture cools, wipe it on wood. Allow it to dry; then buff with a soft cloth.

4. Something's afoot

They say beer goes great with hot dogs, which may be why it's also great for hot, tired dogs. Seriously.

According to Men's Health magazine, a couple of cold beers in a basin will provide the perfect soak for sweaty, aching feet. The combination of ice-cold beer and lots of carbonation seems to soothe the sole.

5. Don't be sluggish

Beer can cure what "ales" you, whether that be garden pests or unwanted rodents.

To kill slugs in the garden: Gather a few wide-mouthed containers, like salsa jars, and fill them one-third full with cheap beer. Bury them, so the rims are almost level with the soil surface, about 15 feet from your garden. For some reason, slugs love beer. They'll be attracted to the traps, drop in and drown. (Make sure pets such as dogs and cats can't help themselves to this free-range kegger.)

To kill mice: Set out a few pails or bowls of beer, along with a small ramp leading to the rims. The mice will gravitate toward the musky smell, hop in, drink their fill and be unable to get back out. Their party days will be over.

6. Tap into bubbly tastes

Beer is actually a great ingredient for many recipes. Check these out:

* Beer and rice: Rinse 1 cup jasmine rice in water. Do it twice more, than drain well. Next, dump rice into a pot and add one can of beer, like a nut-brown ale. Bring the mixture to a boil, turn the heat to low, and cover the pot. Simmer 20 minutes, then remove from stovetop and cool for another 10 minutes.

* Meat tenderizer: Beer's acidity makes it a great meat tenderizer, according to Men's Health. Poke some holes in the meat, place in a plastic container or large, resealable bag and add beer. Marinate for at least a few hours or overnight. Do not drink the marinade.

* Drunken chicken: To make "drunken chicken," round up a medium-sized whole bird and a can of beer. Empty half the can, cut off the top third of the can and add 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon pepper, 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce, 2 tablespoons liquid crab boil and 2 teaspoon Creole seasoning. Prop the chicken on the can and place it on a secure, standing position on the grill. Takes about 1 hour.