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A boilermaker can refer to two types of beer cocktail. In American terminology, the drink consists of a glass of beer and a shot of whiskey. The beer is either served as a chaser or mixed with the whiskey. When the beer is served as a chaser, the drink is often called simply a shot and a beer.
In the United Kingdom, the term boilermaker refers to a half pint of draft mild mixed with a half pint of bottled brown ale. The use of the term in British pubs can be traced back to about 1920.
There are a number of ways to drink an American boilermaker:
Several references are made to the drink in the 1974 movie Airport 1975.
Boilermakers appear in the 1994 buddy comedy Dumb and Dumber, when Sea Bass and his pals order four boilermakers on the tab of Lloyd Christmas (Jim Carrey). But Lloyd tricks them into paying the bill.
Boilermakers appear in the 2006 movie The Departed when Jack Nicholson's character, Frank Costello, takes a shot of whiskey with a Budweiser chaser.
In season 5, episode 14, of Golden Girls, Sofia mentions "slamming down a few boilermakers."
In Just Shoot Me!, Dennis Finch always ordered this drink. In the episode, "Pass the Salt," his father orders "Boilermaker, Boilermaker, Boilermaker!" for his three sons. Finch interjects by ordering a Sea Breeze.
In season 2, episode 3, of Shameless, Frank Gallagher orders a boilermaker. Bartender Kev then drops a shot of whiskey into the beer.
In the episode "Dukes, We Hardly Knew Ye" of Frasier, Duke the bartender offers Frasier and Niles "Duke Specials," which he describes as "boilermakers, shot of whiskey, beer back." He then hands them two shots of whiskey and two pints of beer.
In season 1, episode 22, of Cheers, Carla serves two dignified, middle-aged women, who artfully work their order up from tea to sherry to wine to beer to "two boilermakers — Wild Turkey and Bud." Carla replies, "I’ll run a tab."
In season 6, episode 10, of Cheers, Frasier Crane walks into the bar and calls for a strong drink to "blast [him] into sweet oblivion." Woody Boyd suggests a boilermaker. Frasier instead asks for a mimosa.
In season 3, episode 11, of Moonlighting, Cybill Shepherd (Maddie Hayes) walks into Club Metropolis and orders a club soda and lime, then changes her mind and orders a white wine spritzer. She then looks to her left where about a dozen men are ogling her, and orders a boilermaker instead.
In season 2, episode 5, of Breaking Bad, Hank slams one down when the Whites visit him for dinner.
In season 3, episode 5, of The Office, Ryan and Dwight drink boilermakers after a failed sales call.
The drink appears prominently in the novel King Leary by Canadian author Paul Quarrington. Leary and his entourage go to a seedy bar called the Boiler Room, so called because it is actually located in a boiler room and specializes in boilermakers. They encounter Leary's son, who is already under the influence of several boilermakers. They then order a round of them for the party.