To me, there is nothing better than chilling out with a frosty mug filled with ice cold draught beer after a long hard day of work. Especially here in the Texas heat. Unfortunately, as much as I love draught beer, I'm not a bar kind of person. When I found out that you could have a draught system in the comfort of your own home, I was a bit skeptical. Us beer connoisseurs know you just cant beat a draught beer from your favorite ale house or hole in the wall neighborhood bar.... until now.
The Draftmark system really does live up to all my expectations. It's small enough to place in the fridge along with the refills. The size of the machine is about the size of a twelve pack of sodas and the refills are a tad smaller. The machine itself is made of a strong plastic and is pleasing to the eye unlike a lot of drink type machines out on the market. Half the reason for that is because other drink machines are really huge and take up a lot of counter space. The Draftmark doesn't.
It's ridiculously easy to use and it actually tastes like a real ale house draught beer. It's cold, frosty, crisp, fresh draught beer. All you have to do is pull the handle quickly and tilt your glass. The machine itself is relatively quiet while it's repressurizing and the battery seems to last forever. We have yet to recharge our battery and we have been using the machine nonstop since we received it a little over a month ago.
It's easy to assemble and easy to refill. The only minor issue we had was the directions didn't clearly state that the label to the refill must be facing out for the breather hole to be in the proper place and the unit to shut properly. Once we figured that out, changing out refills became a breeze. It will take about 3 minutes to remove the old beer cartridge and replace it with a new one. It does take at least 24 hours to fully chill the beer cartridges down, so keep that in mind when purchasing it for a party or get together.
One question I was asked quite frequently was is it cheaper to buy beer this way. Well, after doing hours of research I have come to the conclusion of it just depends. If your buying the cheaper brands like Budweiser for the Draftmark, then no it's not cheaper in the long run. If your buying the higher end beers like Goose Island, then yes, it seems to be a tad bit cheaper. If your buying the middle grade beers like Bass, then you will just about break even.
Each refill holds 1 gallon of beer which is the equivalent to about 11 12oz cans/bottles. The Budweiser refill costs about $14.73 and a 12 pack of 12oz cans costs about $11.46. A 12 pack of Shock Top costs about $15.04 while the refill costs about $14.73.
So as you can see, it just depends on what your buying for the Draftmark. Currently there are six varieties of beer you can buy for this system: Budweiser, Michelob Amberbock, Shock Top Belgian White, Shock Top Wheat IPA, Bass, and Goose Island Honkers Ale. Hopefully they will consider adding more varieties in the future. Both Shock Tops, and the Goose Island are my favorite and taste excellent. The refills and machine were found easily at my local Specs.
Once the refills are placed in the machine and it has pressurized, the cartridges will last up to 30 days before starting to go flat. Unopened refills have a born on date listed on the box and typically last about 120 days. After each glass is poured, the machine repressurizes, which makes a slightly loud noise that cant really be heard if your refrigerator is shut. Please keep in mind that once you place the new cartridge in the machine, the first glass poured has much more foam than normal and should be placed back in the fridge to let the foam go down and a new glass poured. In a few minutes the foam will go down and you can drink the first glass, so no beer is wasted.
Maintenance for the Draftmark is super easy! Since beer never touches the actual machine, it doesn't really get dirty. You can just wipe it down with a damp cloth and a little soap can be used if needed. The battery is rechargeable and has an indicator light letting you know when the battery needs to be recharged. One small negative is that you cannot replace the battery as of yet, but according to Draftmark, the battery should last as long as the machine does.
Because the unit is so small and the refills are small as well, you can easily take the Draftmark with you to your friends house of even camping. As long as the unit and refills are being kept cold in the cooler, you are good to go! Make sure you keep your glasses in the cooler as well, so your poured beer stays cooler longer.
I am now the envy of all my friends. Everyone who has tried the Draftmark at my home has nothing but positive things to say about it. For about $52, you can have a Draftmark tap system in your home. If you love the taste of draught beer, then this system is a must have. It's fantastic for all parties and get togethers and will impress even the snootiest of beer connoisseurs.
Thank you Draftmark and Bzzagent for letting me test out this totally awesome and amazing product for free. My friends and I are huge fans of this system and you have made me a customer for life!
Peace, love, and tasty beer ya'll! Cheers!