Beer Magazine


February 26, 2010

Beer Magazine Feature Article–Hidden Qualities of Beer

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Written by: BeerMagDerek

words: Christine Green
From Issue 10 of Beer Magazine

Did you know that beer is the second most popular beverage, right after tea? Or that monks who brewed beer in the Middle Ages were permitted to drink five quarts of beer every day? What about the fact that the oldest known written recipe was for beer? These are fascinating and totally authentic tidbits gleaned from various sources around the world about one of mankind’s famous tipples—beer. But there is far more to a pint of beer than simply drinking and enjoying its taste. In fact, there are many different ways it can be used.

Here’s something just for the adults on a hot summer’s day. While the kids are enjoying an ice cream, why not indulge in a homemade Popsicle made of beer? Make mini versions by using an ice cube tray, pouring small amounts of different beer into each portion, then using toothpicks for the sticks. But then again, there is always the other option. Don’t leave any beer behind!

When beer is called for in recipes, just about any kind of beer will do. If you can drink it, you can use it.
The Belgians are famous for their enjoyment of ale, with their Carbonnade à la Flamand a prime example. This dish is a hearty beef stew comprised of onions and beef gently simmered in ale until the onions are sweetened, the meat is tender, and the ale has been turned into a delicious rich gravy.
But you don’t have to live in Belgium to appreciate the innocuous flavor of beer in your cooking. Its inherent tenderizing properties make it ideal for marinating tougher cuts of meat. Beer and bacon recipes work well, and especially enhance the taste of chili dishes.
For those who enjoy a homemade plate of fish and chips, add beer instead of water when making the batter, and it will yield a truly unique flavour. Not only will it taste amazing, but the yeast present in beer acts as a mild leavening agent and will turn the batter nice and fluffy. And did you know that beer can be added to rice? If that concept fills you with trepidation, try it but make sure you use a stronger tasting beer, e.g., brown ale or stout. Either works well. The rice will instantly drink in the beer and give your dish a delicious flavor.

More ideas: Try making beer bread, or add it to your deserts or cakes. Even a cup of beer added to a salad dressing can tantalize those taste buds. And for a quick, tasty supper snack, add beer to a serving of Welsh rarebit just as the cheese begins to gently melt. Don’t forget to wash it all down with a pint of beer!

Snails and slugs are a gardener’s curse. There are lots of ways to deal with the little pests, but finding them can be a problem in and of itself … unless you tempt them with a drop of beer. They love it. Pour some into shallow containers and place them around the garden. When an enquiring little snail crawls alongside to investigate, it will slip inside and drown. Although no method of eradicating snails is ideal, it is less sadistic than watching them shrivel up under a sprinkling of salt, and at least they’re going to their demise on a high!
Garden snail

The next time you have a party and find yourself wading knee-deep in half-empty beer cans, save them to pour over your houseplants. The yeast in beer makes a superb, nourishing plant fertilizer. And don’t forget the garden vegetables. They love beer, too.

As summertime approaches and people are out in the yards with their barbecues, don’t be surprised to see the arrival of some uninvited guests … in the shape of bees. They love the smell of beer, so be prepared. Pour some ale into jars or plastic containers and place them randomly around your yard. The bees will be attracted to the smell and will go for a permanent swim, instead of bothering you and your friends.

Here’s another use for half-empty beer from a party. Flat beer can give a new look to your wooden furniture. Simply dampen a cloth with the leftovers and rub gently over your furniture to give it a polish and restore some colour. Buff with a clean cloth.

Cleopatra bathed in milk, so what about bathing in a bathtub of beer? Does it sound appealing, or is it a waste of good drinking ale? However you look at it, beer baths are supposed to be relaxing and ideal for softening skin, due to beer’s inherent vitamins and yeast. In fact, during the last decade, a number of beer spas were opened in parts of Germany, Austria, and the Czech Republic ( This allows folks to relax in their favorite tipple. But if you prefer relaxing in your favorite tipple at home, empty several cans into your water and allow the invigorating bubbles to cleanse and exfoliate the skin. Here’s a good tip: Dark beers are known to work better. And don’t forget, follow it with a shower!

They carry you through all the elements, get stepped on, squashed into ill-fitting shoes, and they never complain, save an occasional twinge or two. Our feet never let us down, so why not give them a little pampering? After a hard day at work, steep your feet in a bowl of beer, and within twenty minutes your spirits will soar.
soak feet

To restore a shine to any lacklustre gold jewelry, pour a touch of beer on a soft cloth and rub it gently over the item. Make sure you use a second clean cloth to dry it. A word of warning: Don’t use this method to clean jewelry with stones.
gold rings

Beer makes a super homemade shampoo that leaves hair shiny, with lots of body—without the use of harsh chemicals. And what’s better, it’s easy to make. There are lots of different recipes, but if you’re in a hurry, simply shampoo your hair and rinse thoroughly as normal. Then pour one bottle of beer through your hair and massage it in, finally rinsing with cold water.

Not only does beer make an excellent shampoo, it makes a perfect hair conditioner, leaving those locks smooth and easy to manage. Simply take two tablespoons of shampoo and three quarters of a cup of beer. Mix well. With your fingertips, rub the scalp and hair with the conditioner. Rinse well with water.

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