Practical uses for beer (besides getting buzzed)

From plant fertilizer to fire extinguisher.

Posted by Katie Machol Simon on Tue, Aug 30, 2011 at 10:30 AM

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Drinking beer is a pastime and passion for many folks. It's cold, sudsy, refreshing and just plain delicious. But what many beer lovers might not know is that it's also very versatile. Beer can be used in a variety of practical applications (besides getting buzzed) — from plant fertilizer to fire extinguisher.

Here are some interesting practical uses for beer that I've found around the web:

Beer bath: Forget bathing in champagne (which is way too expensive), take a bath in some beer to invigorate and exfoliate your skin. It is said that the yeast in beer makes for softer skin.

Jewelry and copper polish: Drop that tarnished gold and silver into a glass of beer, let the beer's acidity work its magic, then polish it with a dry cloth. It'll be shiny and looking like new in no time. You can also use beer to put some shine on copper pots.

Hair repair and highlighting: Let a glass of beer sit out and go flat (sad, I know) then wash your hair with it to add shine, body and resilience. For natural highlighting, forget the lemon juice and pour beer on your hair, then sit out in the sun to let the rays to the rest (rinsing it out afterward). Dogfish Head Brewery even sells shampoo and soap bars made with their own brew!

Fertilizer: After a party, there always tends to be a few half-full beer bottles and cans lying around (alcohol abuse, if you ask me). But there's a way to reuse this leftover brew to help fertilize plants. Simply pour it out onto the desired spot in your garden or household plants as the yeast and natural extracts in beer make for great plant food.

Fire extinguisher: If you've got a small kitchen or grill fire and no proper fire extinguisher, grab a beer, give it a good shake and spray it over the flames to put them out.

Lawn repair: The fermented sugars in beer can clear up those unsightly brown spots on your lawn as it stimulates plant growth and kills fungi.

Kidney stone and bladder infection relief: Believe it or not, beer could help someone pass a kidney stone or get over a bladder infection as it acts as a diuretic, flushing the kidneys and bladder. Larry L. Alexander, M.D., medical director of Central Florida Regional Hospital's emergency department told Men's Health, "It helps dilate the ureters [the tubes connecting the kidneys and bladder], which may help you pass a stone quicker and easier. Plus, the alcohol will take the edge off the pain." But stay away from this method if you're on antibiotics or narcotic pain medication.

Cooking: And, of course, beer makes for a great meat marinade, is a tasty addition to barbecue sauce and batter (for fried fish, chicken, etc.) and adds extra flavor to baked goods like bread, cookies and cake.

See more ingenious uses for beer at Men's Health and WiseBread.com.

Information via Men's Health and WiseBread.com; photo via Discovery.com.

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