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Five things you never thought to do with Guinness
Five ways to use Guinness Beer
Photo: Dave Katz/Tasting Table

Flashback to 1769: America was gearing up for a revolution, the redcoats were coming and Canada wasn't even a country yet. Meanwhile, the good people of Ireland were busy exporting the first barrels of Guinness, one of today's most popular beers in the world. Here are five ways to use the brew—besides drinking it—that will make you feel lucky.

Ready, set, bread: Fresh, homemade bread is among the top wonders of the world. Waiting for it to be ready, however, is not. Behold: beer bread. The carbonation from natural yeasts in the beer acts as a powerful raising agent, so there's no need to add more yeast. There's also no need for effortful kneading and patience for the bread to rise in that evasive "warm, dark corner" of your kitchen. You can use any beer you'd like, but a Guinness stout will give your loaf a dark color, hearty texture and irresistible toasted flavor. Go the extra mile by whipping up some beer cheese to spread on top.

Float on: Everything is better with ice cream, and beer is no exception. Pour yourself a frothy glass of dark, cold beer (you can thank the mysterious plastic ball for the creamy head) and drop in a scoop of ice cream for a grown-up boozy beer float. This is a choose-your-own adventure-type of dessert, though it's tough to go wrong with the combination of chocolate and stout. Or take a lighter path with Guinness's Blonde brew and a fruity ice cream or sorbet—the possibilities are endless.

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Get low (and slow): Braised dishes are all about letting your meats or vegetables take their time soaking up a flavorful liquid to develop a tender texture and deep flavor. Enhance everything from short ribs to baked beans with Guinness, which infuses all parties involved with its bold, malty taste. If you're not one to stand over the stove for hours, set up a stew in your slow cooker and come back later to find your dinner drunk in love.

Clean up your act: It's always sad to let a good beer go to waste, but warm, flat beer isn't exactly the most tempting beverage. Fortunately, you can repurpose the leftovers from that can you accidentally left out overnight. The acid in flat beer can help scrub copper pots and pans clean, so after braising your meat, use spare Guinness to get the stuck bits off. It can also help tune up small tarnishes on old pots, giving you a whole new (looking) set of cookware for the price of just one can.

Spa day: Whatever Guinness may do to your liver, it won't do to your skin and hair. Hair is protein, and beer contains amino acids that damaged hair will drink right up in order to restore itself. Breweries and cosmetic companies alike are catching on; Dogfish Head sells shampoo bars crafted from their beers, and LUSH cosmetics makes a stout shampoo. Beer also contains vitamins that can moisturize your skin, so mix up a DIY beer facial and kick back with a Guinness in hand.

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