There's nothing so refreshing as a cold, freshly poured pint.
And with winter on it's way, bringing with it grim weather, the prospect of a home beer dispenser has become more attractive than ever. A cold, frothing pint right in the comfort of your living room? Bliss.
While in the past mini-kegs and their ilk have proven underwhelming (flat, warm beer, anyone? Thought not), modern home beer dispensers are an accomplished proposition. From temperature control, to proper dispensing taps (akin to those in a pub), counter-top size, and handy refill systems - you won't miss the pub at all.
Did we mention the savings? We probably should mention how cost effective these machines end up being. After the initial outlay, you're cutting out the mark-up you get in any bar. Pair up with some home-made cocktails and you're in speakeasy heaven.
The Fizzics DraftPour Beer Dispenser is as cunning a machine as we've encountered.
Successfully pitched on Shark Tank, it utilises soundwaves to transform a standard canned or bottled beer into a pub-grade draft pour. Gosh, it works - the body of the beer tastes creamier, the head foams perfectly. Especially great for Guinness.
Buy here, £149, Firebox.
This is our absolute favourite, both in terms of taste of the beer dispensed, and the ease of use. Simply install the beer keg, plug the Blade in, wait for it to cool (to a crisp 2 degrees Celsius), then pour and enjoy. The 8 litres of beer in the keg will stay frothy and drinking fresh, provided you keep the Blade switched on.
It's a quiet, discretely sized machine (two A4 sheets of paper laid side by side, and 47cm tall), compatible with many mainstream brands such as Tiger, Heineken, and Birra Moretti. No CO2 cannisters or extra equipment required, yet it yields professional pints. A joy.
Buy here, £425, Beerwulf
Altogether cheaper is the Expondo model, which houses and cools 5 litres of beer. As a bonus, you can chose the temperature of the beer (for those of you strange sorts who like it warmer) from anywhere between the 2 and 12 degrees Celsius.
The Expondo requires CO2 canisters to work, which is both an advantage and hindrance, depending on how you look at it. On the one hand it means the machine is compatible with a very wide range of beer brands, on the flipside you do have to replace them. That said, pub beer utilises CO2, so you could make an argument for authenticity (although we preferred the taste of the Blade).
It's a touch smaller than the Blade, too, so better for cramped kitchens. A well-priced, effective option.
Buy here, £155, Expondo.
Looking for the crème de la foamy crème? This stainless steel model is professional grade, and ready to go in five minutes. You don't need to pre-chill any kegs, and it takes 10, 30, or 50 litre kegs, should you be throwing a party (in the future, of course).
It's powered by CO2, pub-style, and comes with pre-supplied disinfectant tabs to flush it out and keep it hygienic, simply. It does require some space - a decked space, with cupboards beneath, but if you're serious about supping pub-style beers at home, this is the top-of-the line.
Buy here, £1664.99, Appliances Direct
Small, powerful, stylish. The Krups Compact Sub is similar to the Blade only smaller and better looking. Energy efficient, it chills two litres of beer to 2 degrees Celsius, keeping it fresh for 30 days. Compatible with the same mainstream brands as the Blade. Perfect for if you fancy a half pint of an evening.
Buy here, £109, Beerwulf.