Friday, April 11, 2008

My Very Own Bar

Well, not really my very own bar, but at least one of the accouterments. You may recall that I have previously posted about Heineken Premium Light in a bottle (not too impressed) and the Heineken DraughtKeg (quite impressed). You may recall that I brought the DraughtKegs to a couple of Jets games and they were very well received. You do have to pre-chill them for about 5 hours or so but then they are good to go. No pumping required and, supposedly, they keep the beer fresh and ready to pour for up to thirty days.

I say supposedly only because I have never had a keg hang around that long, particularly a five liter keg. But now my chances have increased.

Recently I received a BeerTender made by Krups just for Heineken. I wish they would have had these when I was in college.

BeerTender


You can see by comparing it to the microwave in the background that it is fairly small and even fits into my relatively tiny kitchen. You either put a warm keg or, to quicken the process, a pre-cooled one into the BeerTender and plug it in. It keeps the beer at just the right temperature and you can pull yourself one anytime you want.

Don't Mind If I Do


You could probably put one of these in each room of your house. Just like with any keg your first pull will be largely foam. Heineken is a somewhat heady beer so you always have to be a bit careful. One trick, rinse your glass with cold water first. This will cool the glass and the remaining water (don't dry the glass) cuts the foam.

Pretty Good Pull


There are a few quirks, but they aren't too bad. The biggest drawback is that you need to affix a one-use BeerTender Tube (they aren't reuseable). You can order them at www.beertender.com and they cost$3.99 plus shipping and handling (don't know how much that adds up to) for ten. That could be an issue, particularly if you run out.

One thing that confuses me. I saw an add for tubes that would allow you to use this with beers other than Heineken. However, in the manual it says "Only a Heineken DraughtKeg and Heineken Premium Light DraughtKeg can be used with the BeerTender. " I think that if you can, indeed, only use this with one brand of beer it is a major drawback.

I realize that other beers that sell in 5 liter kegs don't really stay fresh for more than a day or two. This means that one of the advantages of the BeerTender, keeping the beer cold for up to30 days, wouldn't be relevant. Still, it would be kind of neat to put a different beer into it every once in a while for a party or something.

But on balance it is a pretty nifty little gadget. Not cheap though, about $279 for my model, the B90. There is a B95 out now too that sells for $299. The primary differences are that the B95 has a thermometer as well as in indicator light. You can see the actual temperature and the indicator light tells you when it is ready to drink. Also, you can set the temperature of the BeerTender to one of three temperatures, 36, 39, or 42. There is also a freshness indicator that counts down from thirty days after you insert a new DraughtKeg. Hmm, five liters and thirty days to drink it, I don't think I need a countdown indicator.

The BeerTender is kind of dangerous though, it just makes it too easy to pour yourself a glass of beer whenever you feel like one. In fact, I just did that.

So Smooth, So Tasty, So Available


Although you can see roughly how much beer you have left in your keg from the indicator light, it only indicates by the quarter keg. However, when there are only about two glasses left the light starts to flash so you know you need to get another keg ready. I thought this was a somewhat nifty feature in a somewhat strange way.