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We put a bargain beer dispenser through some thorough testing

Nothing quite beats the joy of a cold, crisp pint of beer after a hard day at work. And while the ideal place for such a treat is a pub beer garden, it’s not always the practical option.

Having a cold beer at home is perfectly possible; we all have a fridge and a source of bottles or cans. But we all know they’re not the same as a draught beer pulled behind a bar.

Kitchen appliance specialist Salter is among the companies offering a solution to this little problem, though, with a home beer dispenser that promises to deliver cold, fizzy beers straight from a tap in the comfort of your own home.

The elaborately-named EK4919 Beer Dispenser weighs in at £179.99 on the Salter website – comfortably under cutting many of its rivals and boasts all the features of a typical home-bar setup. And, I’ve found if you shop around, you might find it for £150. Cheers to that!

It contains a chamber in which you sit a ubiquitous five-litre keg and an array of connectors and cleaning items, along with a handful of mini gas bottles and a handy drip tray.

Plugged into the mains, and filled with water, it will cool the keg and keep it cool for as long as it takes you to empty the barrel, and you can give it a head start by putting the keg in the fridge for a few hours or so.

I tested it with a range of kegs, including a Heineken, a foreign beer I’ve forgotten the name of and one of my favourite tipples, Adnams Ghost Ship.

The kegs vary in price a bit, starting at around £20 if you shop around a bit, but quickly heading north of £30 if you prefer a more premium beer, or a craft beer.

And each keg is good for around nine pints, so it’s great value for money. Oh, and the beer that comes out is absolutely delicious.

Honestly, pull a pint in a pub, and a pint out of Salter’s machine, and you wouldn’t be able to tell them apart in a blind test.

However, it’s not all plain sailing. My wife and I had some real fun and games installing the first keg. The fittings are a bit clumsy, and the instructions supplied are pretty basic. There’s a much better guide on the Salter website and Youtube videos got us there in the end, but let’s just say I had to change a T-shirt and give the utility room a full wipe down after the first time I tried to get it going.

Eventually, you’ll master it and become a dab hand. And the same can be said for pouring the beer itself. There’s a fine line between too much gas and not enough, and the dial on the top to adjust the flow is quite vague. But once you’ve found the sweet spot, and mastered pouring, there’s no stopping you.

Overall, I’m really impressed with the Salter Beer Dispenser. I love the fact replacement kegs can be picked up at a supermarket, and I still can’t get over how good the beer tastes. I wish it was easier to set up, but it’s fine once you’ve got the hang of it.

It’s a fabulous device for parties, or for anyone partial to that post-work pint.



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