10 Things You Can Do With Leftover Beer

These tips will help you clear some fridge space and make the most of an overabundant beer haul.

September 6, 2016
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If you have a surplus of beer—maybe leftovers from a barbecue or a holiday party, or you just learned How To Start Homebrewing—here are some suggestions on how to take care of it (and ideas for creative consumption, if you need them!) so you, your family, and friends can enjoy it while it's still fresh.

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beer in fridge
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1. Keep Them Standing

Store leftover beer upright in your cooler or in the shelves on the door of your refrigerator, preferably not on its side. Storing beer on its side can expose more of the beer to oxygen and sunlight, causing it to go bad more quickly, and also keeps it in contact with the plastic liner inside the cap.

beer in ice
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2. Re-Chill Them

Don't be afraid to re-chill the beer. The cold-to-warm-to-cold-again temperature thing is a myth. The colder you keep your beer (38 to 42 degrees is good), the longer it will stay fresh. If your beer gets to room temperature, chill it again. However, if your beer gets too hot—for example if you've left it in a hot car all day—that will speed up deterioration and the beer will oxidize, causing a "cardboard" taste.

beer in cooler
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3. Avoid Sunlight

Always store your beer inside a cooler with a lid rather than an ice bucket; the cooler will not only keep you beer cooler longer, but will also protect it from sunlight, which can cause skunking.

cooking with beer
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4. Have It For Breakfast

Experiment with craft beer by adding it to any recipe (yes, any—don't be afraid). More and more, craft beers are being recognized as a unique culinary ingredient that can bring out hidden flavors and balance complex flavors. Little did you know that a craft beer could spice up a traditional recipe. For example, it can make pancakes and waffles fluffier when substituted for some of the milk in the recipe.

six pack
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5. Use It In Place Of Spices

Replace your spice rack with a six-pack. The quality ingredients in craft beer provide a built-in spice packet that infuses dishes with exciting flavors we might not be able to achieve otherwise.

beer and meat
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6. Marinate Your Meat

Leftover craft beer is great for quick, easy-to-make summer marinades for beef and pork. Samuel Adams Boston Lager's quality ingredients make it a great marinade that tenderizes meat while infusing it with flavor. A simple marinade recipe: Combine two bottles of Boston Lager, a pinch of sugar, and a pinch of salt. 

beer and shrimp
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7. Brighten Up Your Seafood

Use leftover beer for all your summer seafood dishes. Summer craft beers like Samuel Adams Summer Ale are excellent flavor catalysts for traditional seafood recipes, infusing fish, shrimp, clams, mussels, and lobster with notes of bright citrus and spicy pepper. Summer beers make great salad dressings, as well.

holiday beer
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8. Give Them As Gifts

Gone are the days of just giving bottles of wine as gifts. Now folks are expanding their palates by experimenting with the wide range of flavors that craft beer offers. Repackage and repurpose unopened bottles of leftover craft beer as the perfect gift for drinkers who appreciate it in the same way others might a fine wine.

beer basket
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9. Add Them To Gift Baskets

Use leftover beer to create an inexpensive DIY gift basket. Re-gift some of those leftover craft beers in a basket of fine cheeses, meats, or chocolates (maybe even include this list of 9 Healthy Reasons To Drink Beer) to create a unique, one-of-kind present. Include cards for tasting notes and finish it off with clear giftwrap and a festive bow.

beer dinner party
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10. Take Them To A Dinner Party

Going to a dinner party? Or hosting one? Mix and match leftover beer to please everyone's taste buds. Craft beer comes in such a variety of styles that it can complement any meal, possibly more so than wine.

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Bonus Recipe: Clam Bake

Samuel Adams® Summer Ale Urban Clambake

Recipe by Food Network Star’s Chef Michele Ragussis

6 to 8 servings

4 lobsters (1 pound each)
5 pounds steamer clams
3 yellow onions
4 cloves Garlic
6 ears of corn
12 small potatoes
1 pound Portuguese sausage (or chorizo)
1 pound hotdogs
2 lemons
3 bottles of Samuel Adams Summer Ale
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Rockweed seaweed (optional)

1. Before beginning, make sure all clams are scrubbed clean.

2. On the stovetop, in a big pot, layer quartered onions, garlic, crushedred pepper flakes, 2½ bottles of Samuel Adams Summer Ale, and small potatoes.

3. Cut the Portuguese sausage into 1-inch-thick pieces, and cut the hotdogs in half, lengthwise.

4. Add the meat and the cleaned clams to the pot. Add the lobsters and cover tightly. Let cook for 15 to 20 minutes, until done.

5. Layer on a platter, and save the remaining liquid for dipping. Serve with lemon wedges, and pair with a Samuel Adams Summer Ale.