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5 Uses For Junk Beer


This time of year brings a multitude of holiday parties to the calendar and gifts under the tree. This inevitably means ending up with “crap” beer in the fridge. Perhaps it’s after a get-together with friends, when everyone brought a little something to share, or a well-meaning relative got you a six-pack thinking you might like it. Or maybe it’s after picking something new at the store that you ended up hating. Or, let’s be honest: that last home brew batch you made just didn’t turn out well.

Regardless of how it got there, we’re stuck with it. As much as my husband and I dislike “crap” beer, we still love beer, and it pains us to see it simply tossed down the drain. So today I’m laying out the five best uses I have for that “crap” beer you just don’t want to drink.

First, though, when I talk about “crap” beer here, it’s really whatever beer you personally are not fond of. My husband and I love craft beer, absolutely. But we don’t love all craft beer. There are some styles—ahem, smoked beers, really?—we just don’t have a taste for. For us they’d fall into the “crap” category.

Enough of the disclaimer talk. Let’s get down to beer business.

1. Dump It… In Your Dinner

This is a great option for those beers you just can’t stomach on their own, but maybe cost a bit extra at the liquor store. Have a smoked beer that’s just too smoky for you? Add it to your chili! You’ll get the awesome smoky flavor where you want it—for us, that’s not in our glass.

What about the chili pepper beers (again, not my favorite on their own)? Try adding it to a homemade queso dip for nachos (or again in the chili).

Someone give you a stout, porter, or other dark beer, when you’re more an IPA fan? Don’t toss it or make yourself gag drinking it—it goes great with pot roast.

2. Hide It… In Your Margarita

This is my favorite margarita recipe and the best use for those small, cheap cans of American lager that many people love.

1 12 oz. can beer

1 10 oz. can frozen margarita mix (like the Bacardi variety)

1 10 oz. can tequila (i.e., fill the margarita mix can with tequila—I hope you don’t buy tequila in a can)


Blended or on the rocks, this is delicious and great for summer parties. Note: I do not recommend this for just a handful of people, as it packs a punch, and I don’t encourage getting hammered.

3. White Elephant Gag Gift

Re-gifting is always acceptable at those fun holiday parties you get to attend each year for your company or unit or extended family.

My husband is a talented home brewer who typically likes to take bottles of his latest brew as our white elephant present. However, after last year when he got a pack of Irish Spring soap as his present, he’s decided this is the perfect year to give away that “crap” beer that’s been sitting in the back of our fridge untouched for a year now.

Seems perfectly reasonable to me, although I suppose it will be less of a gag gift if someone at the party actually likes it and thinks it’s the best gift ever. Oh, well. Still gets it out of our house.

4. Line It Up… Shoot It Down

Now, you may think this goes against my whole line about not wanting to pour even “crap” beer down the drain. But there’s a major difference between slowly pouring it down your sink and watching it explode out of the can after you have shot it with your 9mm.

Okay, so they might not let you do this at your local shooting range, but those who have the ability to do some outdoor target practice, go for it!

5. Hold Onto It

Even if that “crap” beer has been in the back of your fridge for a year or so, you never know when you might throw a party or a family get-together and have someone who thinks “crap” beer is the best thing since sliced bread.

Why not keep it on hand just for them, just in case—because, really, do you want to waste your good beer on the guy who is happy with the “crap”?

My husband wanted to add “Spray it in the face of solicitors,” but I didn’t want to recommend anything that could land any readers with an assault charge.