Whenever I treat myself to a cooking lager gadget the squeeze’s response tends to veer between mild annoyance and open hostility. When I treated myself to a Chambrer mini keg chiller I got the open hostility end of the spectrum. I’m not sure why, for it is a thing of beauty. I mean, who doesn’t want a tap in the kitchen dispensing ice cold fizzy lager? It’s living the dream, so it is.
We haven’t got the space, you already have a separate beer fridge, and how much lager does one person need? Each objection was met with calm logic. We can make the space by more effectively using the space we have. Who needs toasters and kettles and bread bins and knife racks? This compliments the beer fridge, offering greater choice. You can put a bottle of Pinot Grigio in the beer fridge if you like. I’ll make the space by necking a few cans. A man can never have enough lager in the house. It’s an investment, a hedge against our inflationary economy. In the event of nuclear war we can make a bunker out of slabs of lager. None of these points really sunk in, women eh? Time of the month, no doubt. If it weren’t for my calm logic counter balancing her irrational emotive perspective we wouldn’t even have a dartboard up in the guest bedroom.
Despite being a thing of beauty, and wanting one for ages, it doesn’t really conform to the principles of cheap lager appreciation. Even on special offer the kegs represent a more expensive pint than that available in cans and bottles. £14.39 for a 5 litre keg of Heineken (£2 off) with 2 free Heineken glasses compared with £4 for 6 330ml cans also on the special. But it’s a gadget, cool for parties and cool for pouring a draft beer. The choice of beer kegs is limited to Heineken in regular shops but a wider choice exists in specialist outlets if you like paying £20+ for unpressurised kegs of Bitburger and the like. The Heineken kegs are easier to fit, cheaper and don’t require extra gas cylinders. I haven’t fitted a none pressured keg to it so I can’t tell you how well that works, but it looks slightly more complicated from the instructions. The pressured keg was a doddle to fit. Not sure exactly how long it takes to chill a keg as I fitted it up and didn’t pour a glass until the following day. 24 hours later it was chilled to perfection.
One odd note I’ve noticed for a while are the sizes of free promotional glasses. I’ve got half-pint glasses for beers that are sold in 330ml bottles. Heineken is sold in 330ml cans or bottles. The size of the free glasses? 440ml. Odd stuff. They are quite nifty looking though.
The beer? Ice cold delicious fizzy lout. Better heading and less fizzy than the cans but still with a nice fizz to it. I love it to bits, even though these 5 litre kegs seem to be on the way out in the UK market. Maybe that’s why I found a chiller for less than 70 sheets when the RRP is more like 150. The Carlsberg draught system died a death due to the kegs being twice the price of the canned beer and the cheaper draught unit having no chiller. The pretty nifty and well designed Carling draught system doesn’t seem to be knocking around the supermarkets either, despite being designed to fit in a regular fridge.
The Heineken kegs dominate a fridge they are put in, so the draught chiller is just the trick. I stocked up on the kegs just to make sure I get at least 6 months out of it.