Ask for a boilermaker in most bars and you will get a shot of whiskey dropped into a beer. Not the greatest drink in the world, by any means. You pretty much just drink beer till the end, then get the shot. The reverse of best procedure.
However, the true boilermaker is a much more satisfactory spread. As served in certain Irish pubs to this day, it consists of three shots of Irish Whiskey and a pint of Guinness for use as chaser. A much more satisfactory drink all the way around, and a real boon for the man on the run who doesn't have the spare time to stick around long enough to get a buzz the slow way. You should be able to get this drink in any pub or tavern which serves hard liquor by simply specifying the shots and the pint rather than using the name - if they don't have Guinness feel free to substitute a microbrew Stout such as Sam Adams Creme Stout. An interesting variation is to use Rye Whiskey or Bourbon instead of Irish, and Porter instead of Stout. Redhook Ale Brewery makes a wonderful Porter, perfect for this purpose, called Blackhook Porter.