“I use beer to shine leaves on my big rubber plant,” says Alma Lekic, a Toronto-based gerontologist “works wonders.” Beer’s acidity also make it a natural polish for gold, silver and copper jewelry. Just drop tarnished jewelry in beer, leave overnight, (or longer if the piece is really nasty,) and polish with a dry cloth. Use flat beer to buff wood furniture.
Helen Sheedy, sales manager at Wellington Brewery says they use their black Russian Imperial Stout to stain wood. Beer soaks into a wood’s natural surface giving it an uneven, antique look. Anything from a dark chestnut to a deep black beer will work—just make sure to sand off any varnish first; or keep it easy and use virgin stuff.
The female hop flower, beer’s natural preservative and bittering agent, has antiseptic and healing properties. At the Ritz Carlton spa, a manicure treatment includes a hop scrub: dried flowers from Mill Street Brewery are crushed up, mixed with sea salt, essential oils and other herbs, then used to soften up hands as part of a manicure.
4. Kill animals
Pour beer in little bowls to trap fruit flies (cover it with saran wrap and poke a few holes in it so the suckers can get in but can’t escape) or in open bowls in the garden to trap and drown slugs.
5. Get some shut-eye
Hop pickers were known to pass out on the job, causing pharmacologists to recommend hops as a sedative, sleep agent and cure for mania as early as the 1870s. A close relative of the marijuana plant, recent studies have confirmed the sedative and sleep-enhancing properties of the plant. The problem is, experts can’t agree on just how much you need. Still, hop extract, tea or slipping some whole hop flowers into a pillowcase are all old tricks for quality z’s.
6. Take a sauna
A buddy of mine, Yrjö Solantausta who lives just outside of Helsinki, shares this hot tip: “Throw a little on the sauna with water, what a great scent of freshly baked bread!”
7. Relax, Soften or Dreadlock Your Hair
Beer hair through the ages, one woman’s story:
Tamara Irons, a Toronto-based teacher, has been using beer to enhance her coif since she was a teenager. Here are her tips:
“When I was around 13 I began relaxing my hair. I read somewhere that I could use beer as a setting lotion. (You spray it on to keep the curl when you roller set your hair). It was much cheaper than real setting lotion because my dad always had some on hand. He would drink half a bottle and I would mix half with a drop of essential oil and a drop of water. It gave my curl just the right crunch. When I went natural a few years later, I used it as a conditioner when I wanted a big fluffy afro. I added a little drop of vegetable glycerin and it made my hair super soft and poofy. I started the long process of (dread)locking my hair last year. You’re not supposed to use conditioner for the first while because the locks unravel and the conditioner gets lodged into the shaft of the lock, which can be gross if you’re not careful. I use beer as a rinse because, although it softens, it doesn’t overdo it or leave a ton of residue behind.”
8. Etsy that malt bag
In 2009, George Eagleson, head brewer at Guelph’s F&M Brewery, and his crafty partner Hanna Senitt, fashioned artwork from recycled brewing equipment and hawked it for charity. It was such a hit that he and Hanna started CRAP, the Craft brewers Recycled Art Project, on Etsy. Hanna turns malt bags into cute wallets ($12) and notebook covers, ($22), brewing hoses into desk organizers ($38), F&M’s glass skids into Mancala game boards ($48).
9. Blast open a steel door
In season 7 episode of MacGyver, entitled, “Gunz ‘n Boyz,” the secret agent must break out of a steel door of a liquor warehouse, after being locked inside by a gun-running murderer. So instead of climbing through the heating duct, he breaks it apart, straps a piece to a wood crate, and shoves a full keg of beer in the back of the duct. It’s a kegpedo! To light it, he pours whiskey over a trashcan full of wood under the keg. As it heats up, beer starts spurting out until the valve is blasted open with a shower of beer, sending the keg through the pipe and the door.