The perfect cold beer, served from a double chilled bottle, still doesn’t have the sweet and soft taste of fresh draft beer from a favorite bar. Is there a next best thing to the corner pub?
My neighborhood gasoline station also sells beer. A few weeks ago I noticed the Heineken keg– five liters of draft beer in a chilled aluminum keg for $25. That’s $5.00 per liter, which is close to a quart, which, when compared to the neighborhood pub, plus tip, is a bargain. Think less than $1.50 per glass of chilled draft beer.
Bargain? Only if the taste is comparable to that elusively smooth, sweet and soft delicacy known as fresh draft beer, well chilled.
During our monthly Costco run we managed to secure, at $19, a five liter keg of Heineken Light beer for a test run. Any kind of test run with five liters of chilled beer can’t be too bad, right?
The routine was the same as my bottled beer methodology, without the bottles. I let the keg chill in the ‘fridge for a few days, plunked a few wet beer mugs in amongst the crushed ice in the freezer section, and tried to read the keg’s instructions using an old microscope. Who knew that Helvetica came in 1.5 points?
As it turns out, I read in vain. The instructions were worthless and the actual setup was as simple as popping a cap from a beer bottle. Three steps. Insert top onto beer outlet. Insert handle onto top. Pull handle to pour beer.
One more step. Point handle down toward the glass instead of up towards your face.
The result was a very cold glass of draft beer, similar to the best draft from the corner pub, but colder, and, I dare say, a little sweeter. It’s beer to love and without the bottles.
Heineken’s secret is inside the can. The keg is pressurized via a small CO2 bottle so the beer doesn’t go flat between pours. That pressure keeps the beer’s fresh taste. That pressure also means the beer is ready for you when you pull down the lever, so aim carefully.
The keg is more expensive than chilled bottled beer, ounce for ounce, but the taste is better. It’s a beer to love.