A perfect pub pint at home, writes TOM RAWSTORNE 


After a week like this, there’s nothing the nation deserves more than a drop of their chosen tipple in their favourite watering hole.

Sadly, with lockdown closing pubs and restaurants, that’s a dream which will have to be put on hold for the next four weeks, at least.

But all is not lost. The pub can come to you – thanks to the latest line of beer-dispensing gadgets.

Here, Tom Rawstorne runs the rule over six of the best on the market.  

Sadly, with lockdown closing pubs and restaurants, that’s a dream which will have to be put on hold for the next four weeks, at least. But all is not lost. The pub can come to you – thanks to the latest line of beer-dispensing gadgets

RISING STAR OF THE HOME BAR

Blade, £425 (includes two Heineken kegs), beerwulf.com

Capacity: 8 litres (14 pints). Beers: Choice of ten including Heineken (£27.99), Birra Moretti (£30.99) and Tiger (£30.99). Cost per pint: From £2.

While designed to sit on your kitchen counter, it’s a bit of a beast, weighing 17kg and 60cm high. But it’s eye-catching with a shiny, brushed-steel body.

Within the dome sits the large plastic keg of beer. Setting it up is a doddle.

While designed to sit on your kitchen counter, it’s a bit of a beast, weighing 17kg and 60cm high. But it’s eye-catching with a shiny, brushed-steel body

While designed to sit on your kitchen counter, it’s a bit of a beast, weighing 17kg and 60cm high. But it’s eye-catching with a shiny, brushed-steel body

The machine cools the beer to 2c, with the amber nectar delivered to the glass using compressed air. Unopened, the kegs will last for three months. Once installed, you have 30 days to drink up. Mastering the pouring technique takes a bit of time.

VERDICT: I pour a lip-smacking pint of Heineken, glass glisteningly cold with a sharp, white head. While the Blade is bulky and the range of beers a bit limited, it is eye-catching and easy to use.

A SPECIAL BREW JUST FOR YOU

PerfectDraft, £199, beerhawk.co.uk

Capacity: 6 litres (10.5 pints). Beers: 40-plus, including Stella Artois (£30.50), Hoegaarden (£30.90), Goose IPA (£34.50). Cost per pint: From £2.90 (£2.40 if keg is recycled).

Made by Philips, it is designed to take a range of 6-litre kegs. As well as big names such as Stella Artois and Leffe, there are also offerings from smaller breweries such as Tiny Rebel and Magic Rock.

Capacity: 6 litres (10.5 pints). Beers: 40-plus, including Stella Artois (£30.50), Hoegaarden (£30.90), Goose IPA (£34.50). Cost per pint: From £2.90 (£2.40 if keg is recycled)

Capacity: 6 litres (10.5 pints). Beers: 40-plus, including Stella Artois (£30.50), Hoegaarden (£30.90), Goose IPA (£34.50). Cost per pint: From £2.90 (£2.40 if keg is recycled)

The kegs are metal and more like mini-versions of the ones you would find in a pub. The beer is cooled down to 3c and delivered with an internal compressor pump.

VERDICT: Sleek design with a good range of beers. I enjoy a crisp glass of Stella. The recycling scheme is admirable but a faff. 

A SLEEK MINI BARREL OF FUN

Sub Classic, £119, beerwulf.com

Capacity: 2 litres (3.5 pints). Beers: 30-plus, including Amstel (£8.49), Newcastle Brown Ale (£9.99), Brand Session IPA, £8.99, Brixton Brewery Defiance Pale Ale (£14.49). Cost per pint: From £2.42.

Small enough for your kitchen — but you will need replacement kegs chilling in the fridge for a post-lockdown party

Small enough for your kitchen — but you will need replacement kegs chilling in the fridge for a post-lockdown party

The sleek Sub has a passing resemblance to a mini barrel. Designed for 2-litre kegs, the machine opens at the front allowing them to be slid inside. The beer is cooled to 2c and will stay fresh for 15 days. Again, mastering the pouring is a challenge.

VERDICT: Small enough for your kitchen — but you will need replacement kegs chilling in the fridge for a post-lockdown party.

IDEAL BUY FOR ALE LOVERS

Klarstein Skal, £139.99, klarstein.co.uk

It is also more complicated to set up, mainly because the 5-litre kegs that it uses are not made exclusively for use with it

It is also more complicated to set up, mainly because the 5-litre kegs that it uses are not made exclusively for use with it

Capacity: 5 litres (8.8 pints). Beers: Available from supermarkets and breweries, including Adnams Ghost Ship (£15), Sharp’s Doom Bar (£15), Old Speckled Hen (£15). Cost per pint: from £1.70.

The look and build of the Skal reflects the lower price — more plastic than the more expensive models.

It is also more complicated to set up, mainly because the 5-litre kegs that it uses are not made exclusively for use with it.

Compatible kegs are available from supermarkets or breweries and the metal, barrel-shaped cans are designed for home use.

Unlike the other models, this one uses small cartridges of carbon dioxide to pump the beer from the keg to the glass. These have to be fitted and replaced.

The temperature can be adjusted from 2c to 12c.

VERDICT: With lots of small breweries selling their beer in 5-litre kegs, the Skal offers a way of enjoying a wider range of products and supporting local businesses. But it is slightly less ‘plug in and pour’ than the others.

LET’S GET THE PARTY STARTED

Ice Core Beverage Dispenser, £34.99, amazon.co.uk

Capacity: 2.5 litres (4.25 pints). Beers: Whatever you choose. Cost per pint: £2.45 (for Peroni).

The most low-tech of the beer dispensers that I try, this device requires no power source to operate. Setting up is straight forward. First I remove the inner cooler chamber and fill with ice before fitting it back inside the larger plastic container.

Capacity: 2.5 litres (4.25 pints). Beers: Whatever you choose. Cost per pint: £2.45 (for Peroni)

Capacity: 2.5 litres (4.25 pints). Beers: Whatever you choose. Cost per pint: £2.45 (for Peroni)

This is then filled with 2.5 litres of beer — I use bottles of Peroni — which is cooled as it surrounds the inner core of ice. Because the container is so large it’s a bit of a job filling it up without causing the beer to foam up. Once filled, you simply pull the tap to pour.

It works — at least in the sense that the beer becomes chilled surprisingly quickly.

VERDICT: Would make an eye-catching centrepiece for a party but the beer quickly loses its fizz and topping it up without causing excessive frothing is a challenge.

FOR FANS OF BEER CANS

Tap Beer Dispenser, £44.20, amazon.co.uk

Capacity: Cans sized 330ml, 440ml and 500ml. Beers: Whatever you choose. Cost per pint: £1.50 (for a pint of Budweiser)

According to the ‘sell’, the Tap Beer Dispenser will ‘turn your home into the family brewery’.

Instead of using kegs, it uses normal cans of beer that you can purchase at any supermarket or off licence. Rather than simply pouring the contents of the can into a glass, this little machine does it for you.

According to the ‘sell’, the Tap Beer Dispenser will ‘turn your home into the family brewery’

According to the ‘sell’, the Tap Beer Dispenser will ‘turn your home into the family brewery’

Setting up is easy. Install two AA batteries into the body of the 30cm-tall gadget. Then unscrew the base of the tower, open a can of beer and put it inside. You re-attach the top section, fitting a tube in the can as you do so.

Having done all that, I place a glass on the mini drip tray and pull the handle on top. The device buzzes into action and the beer is delivered into the glass below.

VERDICT: Fun to use but is slow to fill the glass.

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