It is the best of things, it is the worst of things. There is a lot written on the benefits of alcohol and on the negative health consequences. There was recently a great article written in T-nation about the facts of beer, wine and liquor.
A Lifters Guide to Alcohol.
Some of the highlights.
Beer doesn't necessarily increase male estrogen. Man boobs is more myth. Alcohol isn't a fat creator, think beer belly, but it is a fat burning suppressor. Your body works on getting rid of the alcohol, not on burning fat.
1g/kg of alcohol had some horrible affects on metabolism and working out. .5g/kg didn't have much affect at all. That's the difference between 6 drinks and 3 drinks for an average size man.
It's better to have a drink post lifting then post cardio session.
Alcohol is calories. They just happen to be empty. This means you get no nutritional value. They rob your body of B vitamins, zinc and magnesium. All these are things that are already very low in the American diet.
I didn't have my first drop of alcohol until I was 29 years old. Always thought it would affect my body and training in a very negative way. I wasn't willing to compromise or risk the goals I had during that time frame. I'm glad I can look back and say I did everything possible to allow me to try to accomplish what was important to me.
I know really enjoy craft beer. Porters and Stouts. I don't care for to much beyond that. Wheat beer tends to give me a headache. Liquors smell like ammonia caps to me. Wine makes my tongue feel like I have to scratch it. Yes, I know, I haven't tried ______ wine. Everyone has a favorite wine that I have to try. A certain amount of alcohol, from personal experience (n=1), hasn't affected my strength or recovery. At 3 drinks I'm fine, but more then that I will feel tired the next day.
Another curious thing is timing. If I'm done and in bed by midnight I have almost no problems with having drinks the night before. If I'm out past midnight, even if I get 8 hours, chance are I will have a bit of brain fog. Circadian Rhythm is a powerful thing!
Most studies show that people that ingest very moderate amounts of alcohol are usually healthier and that teetotalers are usually less so. I'm not totally convinced that it's just the alcohol. There is probably a huge social experience that drives a lot of the so called health benefits from drinking alcohol.
Know your limits. Know what influences you for good or for bad. Coffee stouts and Vanilla Porters are divine!