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16 Mar 2014

The Many Uses of Beer

While beer is definitely made for drinking, there are lots of other ways to enjoy the world's favourite amber beverage.  From cooking and washing through to cleaning and polishing, beer is a more versatile product than many people think.  If you want to learn about the many faces of beer and get to know an old friend from a new perspective, perhaps it’s time to take a break from consuming the stuff and start experimenting with it instead.

The recipe for beer is nothing more than the simple combination of barley, hops, yeast, water, and fermentation. Despite this lack of complexity, however, or perhaps because of it, beer has a surprising number of uses. The kitchen is the obvious place to experiment with beer, with a number of recipes that utilise the brown brew. Because beer contains hops and malt, it imparts a subtle sweetness to a number of dishes, with the yeast in beer also used to create light and springy textures.

Beer goes great with a chilli, with darker beers especially great at adding flavour and liquid to a hot chilli meal. Beer bread is also popular around the world, both as a simple quick bread and a more complex yeast bread. Beer is also a popular ingredient in batter, adding bubbles, lightness, and flavour to a wide range of flour mixtures. Beer battering is especially popular in Australia, New Zealand, America, Europe, and Russia, where it is applied to foods such as fish, chips, and onion rings.

The more surprising uses of beer occur away from the kitchen, however, including its ability to polish metal and remove stains. Due to the carbonation and slightly acidic nature of beer, it is ideal for removing tarnish on a range of metals. Not only can beer add sparkle to gold and silver jewellery, it can also revitalise taps, shower heads, and other household metals. Beer also makes a great wood reviver, and can add new life to old furniture and other wooden items.

Light coloured beers such as lagers can be used to remove stains on clothes and carpet, although regular cleaning products should also be used to remove any residue colour and smell. Beer can even help remove dandruff, and is said to improve the shine and softness of hair due to high levels of vitamin B and yeast. While washing and conditioning your hair in beer everyday is probably not a good idea unless you want to smell like a brewery, light use in the evenings can work wonders.

In fact, beer can make a great beauty product if used subtly, with some of the brew-fuelled beauty products on the market including stout shampoo, nail polish, body lotion, soap, body wash, and lip balm. You can also use beer alone as a hair conditioner and soak your locks in beer before laying in the sun for an easy hair highlighter. If something goes wrong with your beer experiments and you accidentally set your house on fire, never fear, a well shaken can or bottle of beer can also work as a fire extinguisher in an emergency.