Just before I went on vacation I received a promotional Draftmark Tap System in the mail. I was super excited to try it, but just didn’t have time before swooping off to Hawaii.
The Draftmark system installed easily. As you can tell from the box, the instructions for use are well laid out. In addition to the help on the box, each component comes labeled with instructions on which order you’re supposed to install it. It’s not rocket science: chill the refill bottle of beer, charge the widget-dealy that powers it, install the nozzle-tap-whatzit that comes with each refill bottle, put the refill bottle in place, close the lid, place in fridge, pour beer.
The hardest part of the whole thing was closing the lid. It didn’t close easy, and once it did I had to rotate the bottle to get the lid to lock in place. The whole locking procedure, although outlined in the instructions, baffled me initially.
I’m not sure how the darn thing actually works. I believe the beer is pre-carbonated in the 1-gallon refill bottle, and the battery it uses simply powers the tap; there doesn’t appear to be a carbonation cartridge that needs to be replaced.
Regardless, the beer comes out as if you were tapping from a keg. So much so, that it tends to draw a ton of head, similar to many kegs I’ve tapped.
At first I thought this was a unique type of system. A quick Googleing revealed that there are a number of these systems available, some of which work with those mini-kegs you sometimes see on the store shelves. Given that I’ve never tried any of those systems, I can’t comment on how they compare.
The system costs roughly $50 and refills cost roughly $15 per gallon. From my rough comparison, this appears to be a lot less expensive than the competition.
My only complaint is that currently the only refills available are Anheuser Busch products, including:
- Michelob Shock Top
- Michelob Amber Bock
- Goose Island IPA
- Goose Island Honker’s Ale
I personally got the Goose Island IPA refill with the unit. I found the taste of the IPA to be exactly what I expected – delicious!
This product could really take off if refills of more craft beer appear as refills. Sadly, it would appear that this system is heavily backed by AB-inBev, and I’m not confident we will see your local craft brewery supplying refill bottles for this system.
Overall, I have to admit that I kinda liked this Draftmark Tap System.
This product is perfect for people (like me) who don’t have space for a kegerator. It will take up a large portion of your refridgerator, so be prepared. Given that I already consume nearly a quarter of the space in our fridge for beer, I’m certain that I won’t be keeping the Draftmark in there full-time. It might be perfect for anyone who has a second beer fridge, but at that point, shouldn’t you just invest in a kegerator?