An artisanally crafted blog curated by Cooking Lager for discerning readers of beer bloggery

Monday, 24 August 2009

Kegging


I spent a bit of the weekend, to investigating whether the choices for the home drinker were restricted to a choice of bottle’s or cans. Every so often, out of the corner of my eye, I see a gadget advertised that promises “draught beer” in your home. I love beer, I love gadgets. Kind of ideal you might think. Now I suspect these types of gadgets are evil to the ale jihadists as what we are talking about are big kegs of lager stuck into a dispenser and served ice cold and gassy. My cup of tea. What prompted me to consider these is the weekly debate with the lady squeeze in regard to the purpose of the fridge. My view is that its purpose is to keep my beer cold; her view is that it is for food. As I enjoy having sex I, by and large, accept her point of view and let her put food in the fridge, though at no point conceding the principle that the true purpose of the fridge is to keep my beer cold.

The first and most obvious gadget I googled was the Carlsberg draughtmaster. 55 quid or thereabouts from Argos. With the kegs 13 quid and 15 quid respectively for 5 litres. So for half a litre of export would set you back £1.50 now there is the rub. Even if I were the type to buy Carlsberg at its regular price I wouldn’t pay that for it. Add in the fact that if your canny with your can buying you will stock up with a special offer (bank holiday coming up, Tesco will have lager galore on the special). After the novelty has worn off, would I use it, considering I can drink the lout cheaper in cans? Just as I’m talking myself out of it I read the reviews. This gadget doesn’t even chill the keg, you have to chill it in the fridge then put it in the draughtmaster to stay cold. Can I see the lady squeeze letting me put a keg in the fridge? The draughtmaster is binned off.

Next up, the Krups Beertender. For use with the Heineken kegs you see around far more often than the Carlsberg ones. The Heineken ones are everywhere, so you might actually be able to find a keg to put in your gadget in 6 months time. Now Heineken is very rarely on special offer these days, but I have seen the kegs for as little as £11, though the regular price is nearer £15. Heineken used to be prime cooking lager, and then they ruined the brand. They figured the rest of the world considers Heineken a premium brand but not in the UK as the beer was 3% piss. So they introduced an export version but people just though it was the regular piss with more alcohol, and not a premium continental lager. So they rebranded again and the export became regular Heineken and the regular Heineken became Heineken cold filtered. Eventually Heineken cold filtered was dropped and the only Heineken for sale is now the continental lout. I even think they make it in Holland and dropped knocking it up in the UK. What all this means is Heineken have bugger all share of the UK lager market but at least can say they have a quality product.
Pricing the beer, it comes in again at £1.50 a pint, so I go off the idea. But Heineken tends to be that price anyway. The cans are never on the special so there is little disparity. The machine actually chills the kegs, but is a pricier piece of kit (around the £200 mark) and from my googling difficult to get hold of in the UK. A drawback is that it takes a while to chill the kegs. The only keg on sale in the UK is Heineken, though I gather there are importers of other beers that would presumably sting you top dollar. I sack the idea off.

I then spot this, 2 other chillers at around the £200 mark. The Phillips and the Wunderbar. The Phillips looked a nice bit of kit, with a nice range of beers. At £180 plus prices of £20-£30 for the kegs, only available on the internet, I smell a rat straight off. The proprietary kegs are presumably the reason why the beer is pricey, but usually the hook is a cheap gadget. Not here it isn’t. I opt out for that reason.

The wunderbar looks better as a generic keg chiller suitable for a range of kegs including the Heineken one. At £200 it’s as tad pricey but I like the fact it chills and is none proprietary. I could get the odd pricey beer off the internet and use it when the Heineken kegs are on special. Nice for parties. I’m talking myself into parting with 200 notes. I Google around and see it’s sold out pretty much everywhere so even if I want one I’m buggared.

Never mind eh?. At least the bank holiday is coming up and the supermarkets will be flogging cheap lout galore. Maybe a regular glass fronted beer fridge will do the trick? Somewhere to store my cans of lagery delight and leave the lady squeeze the sole use of the fridge? Off to do more googling.

4 comments:

Wurst/Whorst- Brewing Arts Instructor, CEO APRK said...

You should just brew you own lout. Not difficult. Just use about 60% barley and 40% maize. Hop minimally with any hop, ferment with about any yeast. Let the science be your guide.

Cooking Lager said...

Looks like a lot of effort for a pint of warm flat pongy. I'm a drinker, not a brewer. I do what I'm good at and allow others to shine at what they are good at. It's the specialization of the modern economy that creates prosperity through efficiency. Let drinkers drink and brewers brew.

Wurst/Whorst- Brewing Arts Instructor, CEO APRK said...

I am both a drinker and brewer. I'm proud and take pride in both.

Cooking Lager said...

And I am bone idle and proud of that. Live and let live, enjoy your brewing my friend, don't create any nasty pongs. Make real decent beer without a pong.