It’s More Than Just Your  
Father’s Beer

“ Beer is liquid bread”, said some anonymous wise
man, centuries ago, after determining that the
ingredients in his pints and loaves were one and the
same. Noone can argue that beer is not a foodstuff,
as evidenced by it’s varied usage in cooking and by
the fact that bock beer was originally brewed to
sustain fasting monks through the sacrifices of Lent.
But our beverage of choice has a much wider range of
uses than just eating and drinking, and this month I’d
like to devote this space to broadening readers’
appreciation of beer as a practical tool to improve
their daily lives.

There are many available recipes for beer shampoos.
Rinsing ones hair with beer gives it body and shine
with no alcohol aroma. While none of the recipes I
read promoted particular brands, logic would suggest
that Coor’s Light would probably suffice for a
thinning” thirty-something”, and a Russian Imperial
Stout would be more appropriate for The Wild

Who needs DDT, Chlorodane, or any other toxic
pesticide when our favorite beverage is so readily
available? A little saucer of beer placed in the garden
bed will kill slugs more efficiently than poison, and with
more safety to the plants than table salt. The slugs
are attracted to the beer, ooze their slimy way into it,
and drown. I’ve found that although it’s more
economical to use Yuengling’s for this purpose, the
slugs prefer a really good microbrew. In a recent side
by side killing, a saucer of Troegenator Doppelbock
netted twice as many slugs as a saucer of
Meisterbrau. Of course, if this information is too
widely disseminated, the nuts from People for the
Ethical Treatment of Animals will undoubtedly complain
and perhaps rightly so! Maybe it IS unfair to the slugs
to offer Meisterbrau when Troegenator is on tap as

Yellowjackets are not as discriminating as slugs. A
mayonnaise jar with quarter inch holes punched in it’s
lid and filled halfway with Budweiser is extremely
attractive to the pesky critters. They crawl through
the holes, drink their fill, and because their bellies are
so distended from the beer, they can’t crawl back out.
It’s a rather pleasant death for them, so PETA
probably won’t have too much to say about it, but be
extremely careful to make the holes no larger than a
quarter inch. Anything bigger would allow egress from
the jar and hell hath no fury like a drunken

I’ve previously related how beer stimulates growth in
houseplants. Dumping the dregs of bottles into
window boxes and emptying cups of draught into the
hostas on the way out of a picnic grove enriches the
soil and creates lush (no pun intended) vegetation at
a fraction of the cost of  Miracle-Gro. If the plants
could talk, we’d have a first hand testimonial. What
self-respecting pot of English ivy would prefer Miracle-
Gro to Worthington’s White Shield?

A pint a day keeps the doctor away! While this is a
poetic takeoff on the more famous adage, there is a
good deal of truth to it. In ancient Greece beer was
used as a fever reducer and the ancient Egyptians
believed strongly that beer heals skin diseases. This
curative is available today. In the Austrian Tyrol, the
Starkenber Beer Myth Resort offers a pool filled with
42,000 pints of beer into which one can submerse
and cure all sort of skin disorders. Bathing suits only
please! No glassware, dippers, or straws!

Recipes for restorative spring tonics almost always
included beer and it is more than an old wive’s tale
that nursing mothers are advised to down a daily pint
of Guinness. This sage advice extends to the animal
kingdom as well. In his wonderful “All Creatures Great
and Small”, James Herriott writes of his early days as
an English country vet and a visit to a small farm
where a sow refused to nurse her newly born piglets.
Despite all sorts of modern farming inducements and
veterinary treatments the sow remained adamant in
her refusal. While these scientific procedures were
being administered, to no avail, the retired farmer,
whose antiquated advice had been completely ignored
by his sons and Mr. Herriott, mounted his bicycle and
rode to the local pub to procure a growler of ale,
which he brought back and poured into the feeding
trough. The sow eagerly drank her fill and contentedly
settled down to suckle her young. When one of the
sons eeclaimed “By God! I think she likes it”, the
grandpa replied, “She bloody well ought to like it! It’s
John Smith’s Best Bitter!”

Beer is a digestive aid. A hundred year old advertising
card from Newark’s Weidenmayer Brewery depicts a
toddler, clad in a nightshirt and sleeping cap, seated
on a chamber pot and grinning like a Cheshire cat.
The caption reads “I drank George Weidenmayer’s
beer”. The adjoining photo shows the same lad in the
same situation, but this time he’s grimacing like Chuck
Schumer perusing a list of President Bush’s possible
Supreme court nominees. The caption reads “I didn’t”.
The Weidenmayer brand has just been resurrected by
George’s descendents, so soon we’ll be able to see
for ourselve’s if Weidenmayer’s Jersey lager is an
acceptable substitute for Metamucil.

Not long ago I observed a man wearing a T-shirt that
read “Beer…Helping Ugly People to Have Sex for 5000
Years!” That proclamation is obviously a tribute to the
importance of beer as an aphrodisiac. In the same
vein, we find that beer is a powerful beauty enhancer.
Consumption of sufficient quantities of beer
transforms plain and even homely people into
beauties, as testified to in Mickey Gilley’s “The Girls All
Get Prettier at Closing Time”. In the barrooms that
feature Mickey Gilley on the juke box, they’re not
serving Manhattans and Crème de Menth Frappes. No
sir!! The girls all get prettier on Dixie, Pearl and Lone

Contrary to popular myth, beer is brain food. While
alcohol does kill brain cells, it must be remembered
that , as in everything else, the weak die first. As the
weak brain cells die, their stronger counterparts
multiply, making a case for the claim that beer makes
you smarter. In fact, The Weekly World News recently
ran a photo of Albert Einstein, a notable smart man,
wearing a drinking hat. This unusual piece of headgear
consisted of a series of harnesses and straps that
enabled Einstein to walk around with two cans of beer
securely in place on top of his head. A tube extending
to his mouth allowed frequent sips, and a little right-
left switch on his forehead changed the flow from the
primary can to the reserve. Positive proof that the
elimination of ignorance cab be achieved by the
introduction of more beer.

Finally, the oddest extraneous use for beer I
unearthed concerns the case of Richard Kral, a Slovak
who owes his very existence to the beverage of
moderation. Mr. Kral, his car stocked with the five
cases of beer he deemed necessary for his vacation,
set out , happily anticipating a week’s skiing holiday.
However, his dreams were dashed when an avalanche
buried him under tons of snow. Awake and freezing,
Mr. Kral wondered how he was ever going to get out
of the mess he found himself in, and suddenly had an
inspiration. He remembered the brewskies in the back
seat and began to drink them in the hope of peeing
his way out. The more he drank, the more he peed.
The more he peed, the more snow he melted. After
drinking most of the beer, he had created a shaft
straight up to daylight, into which he emerged, drunk
as a skunk, and if you can believe the previous
paragraph, smarter! Beer…a life saver in more ways
than one!

There are also many non-traditional uses for the non-
edible aspects of beer(packaging, dispensing, etc.),
which I’ll present at a later date. In the meantime,
now that I’ve fed my plants, killed bugs, washed my
hair, dried up my poison ivy, regulated my digestion,
and helped my kids with their math homework, I think
I’ll go have a pint just for the fun of it!


Another two
glasses up
article from
Dan Hodge!
has to say
these things
and it could
only be
Beer My Way
Beer My Way......... proudly presents....DAN HODGE, beer reviewer, historian and raconteur
anything and everything about beer
by   Dan Hodge