I’m no domestic goddess so a new kitchen appliance rarely fills me with excitement. But all that changed with the latest addition to my kitchen, namely the Philips PerfectDraft.
I’d tried a home beer tap before…I bought one for the boyfriend once. It was great for the first few pints before it eventually decided to pour glasses full of froth and stopped keeping kegs cold.
I was disappointed after having spent more than £100 on it, and it spent the next few years in the kitchen as an ornament / glass rack as we never quite had the heart to bin it.
But nor did we plan to replace it. I’d resigned myself to the belief that home taps like this were just gimmicks.
Finally a decent home tap
Then I got one as a birthday present from my very generous, beer-loving brother. The old machine went in the tip and the PerfectDraft got pride of place. And it did NOT disappoint.
Forget the kettle and the toaster – this is by far my favourite addition to my kitchen even if it does mean using up a good chunk of worktop space in an already small room.
Putting in a keg is easy. It also keeps them fresh / pressurised for 30 days and even has an LCD display showing how many days you have left, and roughly how much beer you’ve used. (I’ve yet to see a keg last 30 days though…we usually drink them long before that…)
It keeps beer at a cool three degrees. Before any beer snobs leap in to say three degrees is too cold for some beers, I agree that some are better served a bit warmer. But as long as you’ve got the patience to wait a little time after you pour it’s no hardship.
You’ll get just over 17-and-a-half 33cl glasses out of a 6L keg, give or take a bit, depending on how precise (or over-enthusiastic) you are when you pour.
Available beers and stockists
So far I’ve had Leffe Royale (7.5%, nice), Leffe Rituel 9 (9%, deeper flavour, even nicer), Leffe Royale Cascade IPA (7.5%, ordered in error but tried it anyway, my least favourite as too hoppy for me but IPA fans will probably like it), and Diekirch Christmas (5.1%, mellow dark beer, not as overpowering and rich as some of the other Christmas beers out there).
I started off importing my kegs from Saveur Beer in France (where my machine was purchased) as I found a lot of the UK suppliers were really expensive. But, more recently, Beer Hawk also started stocking them and it’s my current supplier of choice. In the last few weeks it has put its prices up by £5 a keg which is pretty disappointing, but it does offer a ‘beer tokens’ loyalty scheme which can provide good value if you’re a regular buyer. I’ve also heard people talk about Perfectdraftbeerkegs – not the slickest looking website but decent prices and you can return empty kegs in exchange for a 10% discount. I haven’t used this site yet so can’t vouch for it, but it’s on my radar.
The other beers you can get for the PerfectDraft include Hertog Jan, Franziskaner Weissbier, Leffe Blonde, Leffe Brown, Leffe de Printemps, Leffe Ruby, Lowenbrau, Diekirch Grand Cru, Diekirch Premium, Hoegaarden, Hoegaarden Rosee, Stella Artois, Becks and Jupiler.
Obviously some appeal more than others. I like the idea of getting in some of the German beers for a home Oktoberfest one night perhaps. But I think I can safely say that I will not be putting Stella or Becks in it anytime soon – they just don’t float my boat.
Personally my go-to beer at the moment is Leffe Rituel 9 – it’s great to have it sitting there, always available on tap – and it stops me from dipping in to my selection of imported special-occasion beers!
The Philips PerfectDraft retails around the £250 mark so it’s not cheap but you can often get good tap+kegs starter deals. Personally I think it’s worth every penny.