WHO SAYS American ingenuity is dead?

While it's true we still don't have jet packs and flying cars, we do have the Bierstick, a giant plastic syringe that can pump 24 ounces of beer into your mouth in less than two seconds.

That's two full cans of suds down the gullet in less time than it takes to flush a toilet. And get this: It's made with "high-quality FDA-approved materials," so you know it's gotta be safe.

Ah yes, the spirit of invention lives, especially when it comes to beer. If you don't believe me, check out some of the latest ideas filed at the U.S. Patent Office.

Beer/soda bottle spray adapter, application No. 12/932,132, by Patrick Greeley of Gridley, Calif.

Cooking with beer is a hot trend these days, particularly among guys who believe any meal can be made better by pouring the dregs from a warm bottle of lager onto a charcoal-blackened burger.

Greeley's brilliant idea: a pump sprayer that fits atop a beer bottle. Now, instead of glug-glug-glugging their favorite brew all over the grill, barbecue chefs can gently (if not without some embarrassment) spritz their meat.

OK, you might think that inserting a Windex pump-sprayer into an open bottle of Bud hardly qualifies as an "invention." You might also wonder: Why not just pour the beer into a Dollar Store spray bottle?

But then you didn't read Greeley's patent application, whose description of this marvel stretches to more than 3,500 words and lip-smackingly suggests it's one of the "ribs attached to the backbone of American technological improvements."

Tooth Protector for Beverage Bottle and Beverage Bottle Enclosure, application No. 13/471,447 by Krag David Hops of Houston.

You know how often you chip your teeth when your sucking down a cold one?

No? Well, it's apparently a problem in Texas, where I'm told the population consists largely of uncoordinated, bucktoothed beer drinkers.

Hops has come to the rescue of his unfortunate neighbors with a bottle-top cushion that protects the mouth when some jerk slaps you on the back in mid-gulp.

In this age of rampant product-liability lawsuits, it's only a matter of time till the Tooth Protector is mandatory.

Inverted Bottle Holder, application No. 13/051,785 by Alexander K. Miller of Dallas.

You know how, when you turn a beer bottle upside down into a pitcher of margaritas, it sometimes slips or falls out of the pitcher? Yup, we're back in Texas where, if they're not chipping their teeth, they're baffled by basic laws of gravity.

I confess, I'm not familiar with the "beer-rita," a frozen margarita infused with beer. Miller calls it "a recent phenomenon" popularized by "various reality television shows."

Say no more.

The puzzle of the collapsing beer-rita is solved with a handy clip that snaps to the side of a margarita glass or pitcher and conveniently holds the bottle in place.

Snooki thanks you, Mr. Miller.

Beer Pong Table with Cooling System, application No. 13/190,542 by Philip Dana Herro of Warren, N.J., and Barry James Jensen of Windham, N.H.

Since the first beer-pong patent was issued in 2008, dozens of inventors have come up with ideas for improvements.

There's an electromechanical table that moves the cups while players take shots, and an arcade version for the kiddies. There are cup holders and folding tables. There's even an inflatable table for play in your backyard pool.

Now there's one with a built-in cooling system to keep your beer cold while you wait for your girlfriend to finally make a shot.

And get this: It's solar-powered.

It's true, we haven't perfected a solar-powered automobile. But America is making progress toward a solar-powered beer-pong table.

"Joe Sixpack" is by Don Russell, director of Philly Beer Week. For more on the beer scene, sign up for his weekly email update at www.joesixpack.net. E-mail: joesixpack@phillynews.com.