Everything, it seems, has its ‘accessories’. Wherever there’s a successful market out there for any product, there are always inventive people trying to capitalize on that success by making a product to accompany it. The prime example we see today is probably iPad/iPhone accessories. With such a large market and, literally, millions of fans eagerly waiting in line to buy the next version each time it comes out, entire businesses have been launched and become successful simply by making gadgets and accessories for these wildly popular products.
But what about beer? Has craft beer become so popular that companies can do well capitalizing on making beer gadgets/accessories for the masses? Apparently so. Here are a few different beer gadgets/accessories that have appeared to satisfy our urge to accessorize our favorite indulgence: craft beer.
If you love craft beer, chances are you know a homebrewer or two. Many craft beer drinkers become enamored with the notion of creating their own craft beer at home and some aren’t ready to jump right into getting the necessary equipment for ‘real’ homebrewing. Mr. Beer gives these people the chance to try a simplified version of the process on a small, 2-gallon scale. Mr. Beer offers a little over 40 different ‘kit’ recipes for beer, along with some recipes for ciders and root beer.
Reviews regarding the quality of the beer you can brew using Mr. Beer kits are mixed, but there’s no doubt there are enough people out there at least interested in giving it a try that it’s spawned a successful company and a following of ‘kit’ brewers who enjoy using it and even do what they can to improve on the basic recipes and techniques you can use with the system. It’s one way to go but, personally, I believe you can brew much better beer wtih even just a basic extract homebrew setup which you can find online or at a local homebrew shop near you.
Growler On Board:
If you find a craft beer on tap somewhere that you really enjoy, and if you’re fortunate to be at a place that fills growlers, you can get some to go. But how do you safely transport your precious cargo home? You don’t want a big glass bottle full of beer just rolling around your back seat. That’s where Growler on Board comes in. These molded, plastic growler caddies securely hold up to three 1/2 gallon growlers, so they won’t get knocked around during transport.
Retailing for $29.99 each, Growler on Board is a gadget that fills a niche market, but a market that does indeed exist thanks to craft beer. They currently are available in yellow, red, black or grey.
Black And Tan Turtle:
Making a proper black and tan means pouring carefully so that you don’t mix the two beers. You want the dark stout to float on top of the pale ale or lager below. The Black And Tan Turtle (which doubles as a bottle opener) makes this process a bit easier by helping ensure that your pour is gentle. You could, of course, just use a spoon for this process, but a Black And Tan Turtle adds a bit of class and frees up a hand, as the turtle sits perfectly over the rim of the glass.
HERE is a video, showing the turtle in use. If you’re a fan of mixing two beers in this way, your beer gadget drawer should include a Black And Tan Turtle.
A bottle opener is the most basic beer gadget/accessory there is. If you have a bottle that doesn’t have a twist off cap (and you haven’t mastered the art of using a table edge or a key or a lighter to pop the cap off, as I see many people do), then you’re going to need an opener. There are a wide variety of bottle openers on the market with wildly varying designs. Some are just basic and practical, like your basic church key. Others are fancified novelties that talk, light up or are plastered with custom logos or other designs.
They pretty much can all get the job done, with varying degrees of ease or difficulty, but what if you want to save your bottle caps? Most bottle openers crease and/or otherwise mangle the bottle cap when removing it. This is no good for craft beer drinkers who are into saving their caps. There are a few types of bottle openers out there that can open your beer without mangling the cap, but one I’ve seen that is pretty simple to use and won’t damage your bottle caps is the Bottle Popper. Simply press down and then back up and the Bottle Popper will pop the cap off your bottle without leaving a crease or other marks on it.
The Beer Koozie/Cozy:
You want your beer to be cold, but you don’t want your hand to get chilly. That’s where the beer koozie/cozy comes in. This beer gadget/accessory has been around, in various forms, since the late 1970’s and are primarily used as marketing tools. With few exceptions, it’s difficult to find many koozie/cozy out there that aren’t emblazoned with some type of logo.
The basic idea behind all koozies/cozys is the same. They provide a way to help keep your bottled or canned beer cold, while making sure the hand you’re holding the beer with doesn’t get cold as well. One of my favorite beer Kozies, and also one of the few free of any big logo on the side (though, admittedly, there is a logo on the bottom), is the Sküüzi. This knit beer koozie is sort of a koozie/glove combination made of soft sheep’s wool. It does a great job of keeping your beer cold, while keeping your hand warm. It’s perfect for those chilly fall get-togethers around the Northwest.
The ultimate beer accessory, a kegerator, is something just about every craft beer drinker wishes they had. With designs ranging from around $150 for mini-keg models, well into the thousands for fancier and multi-tap versions, and several brands to choose from, a kegerator is one of the better ways to keep craft beer on tap at home.
Even most homebrewers I know eventually stop bottling their homebrew and start kegging it in 5 gallon kegs instead, which most kegerators can accept. Of course, if you are so inclined and have the skills, you can always build your own kegerator out of nearly any old fridge and a few other parts, but some people simply prefer to purchase one of the many pre-constructed models that are available. Whichever way you go, I don’t know many beer drinkers would wouldn’t enjoy having beer on tap right at home. If you have the means, you might want to look into purchasing or building one for yourself.
These are just a few of the, literally, hundreds of different beer gadgets/accessories out there. Which ones do you need? Only you can answer that. Sorry if the top image led you to also expect a review of the classic beer hat, but no self-respecting beer drinker I know would be caught dead in one. Great craft beer should not be drank from a plastic straw.
Drink responsibly and stay safe out there.