The BeerTender

A cold keg of suds at a summer barbecue is a beautiful thing. And a pint of ale at the local pub is time well spent. But what to do when you ache for the pleasures of draft beer in the comfort of your home? Let the BeerTender slake your thirst.

You've seen the Heineken DraughtKeg at Super Bowl parties and in your package store; now Heineken and Krups have designed the "ultimate at-home draught beer experience" to dispense the mini-keg at home. The BeerTender ($299) functions as a beer tap and chilling system for the five-liter format—20 eight-ounce beers—that is becoming popular and is due to expand to other brands.

Face it, the convenience of draft beer at home has never been convenient. A keg means deposits and returns, and a lot of beer going flat if it isn't consumed fast enough. The keg-o-rator is an option, but may throw up red flags to your wife that the inner frat boy in you is trying to emerge. The BeerTender is a classy alternative, and it's as easy to set up as it is to use and maintain. You snap a tube onto a DraughtKeg ($20.99) and place it into the BeerTender's canister. Plug in the BeerTender—it uses the same amount of energy as a lightbulb—and you're ready to pour. The LCD screen tells you how cold the beer is and allows you to choose between three temperature settings. The screen also has a freshness indicator—fewer than 30 days is recommended—and a display that shows how much beer is left in the keg.

The BeerTender is also convenient in that it frees up more room in the fridge, and you recycle fewer cans. DraughtKegs now come filled with either Heineken or Heineken Light, but Heineken International is planning to release mini-kegs for other brands under its umbrella, including Amstel. With any luck, your favorite draft beer will also be BeerTender friendly soon.

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