If you could murder a pint but do without the trudge to the pub, an at-home beer tap is the perfect addition to your cosy night in.
With only 15 per cent of surveyed drinkers feel pub prices are affordable, it’s no wonder that at-home drinking is a booming business.
But gone are the days of a warm can of bitter or a lager straight from the bottle – drinkers are fast becoming savvy to creating the pub experience in the comfort of their own kitchens.
Our selection of the best beer dispensers shows just how easy it is to pour perfection in a pint glass.
Choose a simple plastic tap and tower dispenser for quick beer access, or go the whole hog and install a system to carbonate and chill your usual.
There are also some fantastic gadgets for helping pour an ordinary supermarket can or bottle to new, frothy heights. Just add pork scratchings.
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PerfectDraft Hoegaarden starter kit: £279.88, Beer Hawk
A plug-in machine for the serious beer lover, these kegs come in a 6l (around 10.5 pints) size and are easy to click into the casing and hook up to the tap. Kegs can be chilled down to 3 degrees and the easy-pour pints are perfectly smooth. This bundle includes the machine, two kegs, a beer mat and two pint glasses. There are 18 other popular beer kegs in the PerfectDraft-compatible range, including Stella Artois, Becks, Goose Island and Leffe Blonde, with prices starting at around £30 each.
Krups the sub draught beer yap: £99, Beerwulf
Load a beer “torp” (holds 2Ll which is just under four pints) into the sub, feed a rubber tube through to the tap and your perfect pint is almost ready to be poured. Speed the process up by keeping subs in the fridge first and the machine will take them colder to 2 degrees. Stock up with Heineken and affiliated beers such as Birra Moretti, Tiger and Sol (from £8.99 each). Really stylish and compact, it’ll take up the same space as a four-slot toaster. The drinks pour well, with a bit of practise on glass-tilting to get the right size of head on a pint.
Fizzics Waytap: £129.99, Firebox
This is a battery-operated tap that was launched by thirsty backers on Kickstarter. Don’t ask us how the magic happens, but we’re told it’s sound waves, rather than chemicals or canisters, taking any size of can or bottle beer and improving its flavour, aroma and “mouth feel”. We certainly noticed a creamier, denser head on lager and it was a big hit with our drinking buddies. It takes up about the same space as your kitchen blender, but hey, who needs smoothies? It's currently on pre-order.
CDA BVB4SS integrated compact draught beer dispenser: £1669.97, Appliances Direct
Attention, footballers and famouses! Too rich and recognisable to pop out to the pub but still fancy a pint? Bring the brewery home with this top-of-the-range, built-in beer tap for the kitchen. No messing around here – this one will hook up to 10l, 30l or 50l kegs direct from your favourite brewery and is supplied with a CO2 canister, pub-style. Easy to clean with the supplied disinfectant tabs, which should be used to flush out the “lines” every fortnight or so (tell your staff), it controls temperature from 4 to 8 degrees and looks the absolute business. Installation can be done by proficient DIYers in possession of a drill – a hole is needed to feed the dispenser from a pump below, but you’ll need a two-cupboard decked space the width of a standard-size kitchen unit. Supplied screws are then used to fix the pump in place.
Ice Core beverage dispenser: £24.99, Drink Stuff
Suitable for all drinks, but we say out with the lemonade, in with the beer! This is the item to have on your buffet spread, if the Hyacinth Bucket in you can’t stand the sight of a load of cans marking your marble tops. It will take 2.5l of your favourite tipple and keep it cold with a central core that you should fill with ice. No frills and drip tray with this one, so have a beer mat handy.
Klarstein home beer tap: £199.99, Hifi-Tower
This beer tap uses (supplied) CO2 pressurised cartridges to give just the right amount of fizz and flavour and is compatible with 5l kegs that you’re likely to find at your local brewery, rather than the high street. Keeps beer and lager chilled to perfection and looks like the real deal in any man/woman cave. It will take up three quarters of the depth of most worktops, but is not as wide as the PerfectDraft system.
BrewBarrel homebrew kit: £39, BrewBarrel
For the beardy, beery hipster who likes to pour his own, this brewing kit is an excellent gift. Choose from seven varieties, including lager, wheat beer, IPA or Oktoberfest versions, all you have to do is mix the ingredients with 5L of water, leave in the right temperature for five days, then a couple more in the fridge. Then it’s party time – make use of the integrated tap to wow your mates with your new brewmaster skills. The beer was a hoppy delight and easy to brew, simply adding water to the supplied yeast, hop and malt extracts.
The verdict: Beer dispensers
Though every home should banish the microwave and have a CDA integrated beer tap instead, we can’t all afford this kind of domestic bliss. A clear winner, then, is the PerfectDraft system because of its ease of use, stylish looks, perfect-pouring pints and the ease in which you can change kegs. Cheers!