When it comes to craft brews, my husband is a connoisseur to put it mildly. On our road trips, he was always concerned about how to bring home craft brews on tap without them spilling or going flat. Enter the uKeg. It’s the first of its kind that keeps brew bubbles exactly how they need to be. And who better to explain his newfound love than Mr. Locke himself. Here’s the scoop and a uKeg review and how it’s making his craft brew drinking all for the better. – Karyn
I like beers. To be more specific, I really like good beers. Well… niceties be damned, I love great beers. Beers are ancient and complex, flavorful and satisfying. They make me happy. Beers, like people, come in all shapes and sizes and weights and colors – and have almost unlimited potential for that same sense of variety.
A Craft Beer Is Like a Pretty Woman
Certain beers have very specific problematic issues, however. Let me explain, I have been out to a pub, or brewery, and met a lovely beer that had all the right things going on in all the right places, and I have become smitten, eager to take that brew home with me in order to get to know it just a little bit better. Sadly, said beer could not come home with me, as it had neither bottle nor can in which to travel. It was not meant to be.
“Well, why didn’t you just get a growler?” I hear you say. That would’ve been great. But alas, distance, time, and full growlers don’t always make for the best traveling party. Traditional glass growlers, while great for mantelpieces, are not always the best way to transport beer from a tap. Glass growlers don’t maintain temperature or pressure very well, so traveling with one any more than a short time can most certainly lead to a beer’s untimely and ugly demise. No one likes dead beer.
So, short of taking a whole keg home, what’s a person to do?
Enter uKeg by GrowlerWerks. The uKeg is a portable, tapped keg. It’s vacuum sealed, stainless steel for durability and to keep the cold in and warm out. The uKeg is CO2 pressurized to keep the content bubbly and non-oxidized. It also has a variable-pressure CO2 tap in order to optimally maintain different types of beers or even craft sodas, if you like.
The uKeg has a built-in pressure gauge, tap with swivel gooseneck, and sight glass and it fits neatly in the refrigerator. The uKeg comes in 2 sizes; 64 ounces and 128 ounces. Most importantly, no matter which way you look at it, the ukeg is really cool looking.
“So”, you say, “It is pretty and feature packed, but how does it perform?” Well, I’ll tell you.
On-the-Go Growlers: A Flat Fix?
You may or may not know that I travel. Alot.
And that travel is almost always road trips, long and short, country roads and highways. On a recent road trip, I stopped by a brewery in Dublin, OH. I tried a couple of beers that were quite lovely and just my type. I just happened to have my uKeg with me when I decided that I would like to take one of these beautiful beers home with me.
First, I asked the barkeep if she was allowed to fill growlers and if so, was she able to fill any growler, as some state laws are very specific about which types of containers are allowed to be filled by establishments with specific licenses. Happily she was able to fill my uKeg for me.
uKeg Is Pressurized – and Generally Stays That Way
As I wrote previously, the uKeg is CO2 pressurized. It achieves this by means of a special twist on cap that takes CO2 cartridges and regulates the pressure inside of the uKeg with a valve that is on top of the cap. As the barkeep filled my uKeg with my beer of choice, I loaded the CO2 cartridge into cap and tightened it down then handed the cap to the barkeep to put into the uKeg when she was done filling it.
After that, I opened the regulator valve and watched as the pressure gauge climbed to exactly where I wanted it and that was that.
The uKeg stayed the night and the entire next day in our hotel room and sat neatly in the refrigerator door. (NOTE TO CONSUMERS: Your hotel room may not have a refrigerator). The day after that it was time to hit the road and head home. As we drove home the uKeg was sat on the floor in the back seat of the car.
Occasionally, I would have a look to make sure that everything was okay. I checked that nothing was leaking and that the pressure was where is should be. It turns out that I had no need to worry.
But, How Does it Travel Well?
When we got home and unpacked, the uKeg went right into the refrigerator. Now, I have made this exact same trip before, with fantastic beers in glass growlers. With the beers in glass growlers, I would have been lucky if the beer was drinkable after the drive. With the lack of cooling and the shaking of the road, the conditions for that situation just aren’t great. I have, sadly, had to say goodbye to more than one good beer because it simply could not survive the traverse. They will be gone, but never forgotten.
Note that at this point the uKeg had been filled two days previous. That night, settled back in and ready to unwind, I decided that I would like to have a beer. So I went to kitchen, grabbed a proper clean pint glass, and proceeded to the refrigerator to pour a draught for myself. Lo and behold, the uKeg produced a lovely pour – cold, bubbly and with a perfect, and I do mean perfect head.
What a joy it was to be reunited with this beautiful beer that was none the worse for the time and distance. It was as if it had come directly from the bar tap, in pristine condition. And the uKeg still looked really cool. Over the next couple nights, I repeated the same procedure – go to the kitchen, get a clean pint glass, pour a perfect draught, enjoy fresh bubbly beer.
After the beer was gone (around 4 pints) there was enough CO2 left in the cartridge to use during the cleaning process, which I will mention is just dead simple.
uKeg: Final Thoughts
When products are advertised with out-of-this-world-gotta-have-it features, I usually take those claims with a grain of salt. I was honestly prepared to have my beer be better than what I could transport in a glass growler. What I didn’t expect was for it to be as good as straight from the tap. I was wrong and just excitedly surprised by just how well the uKeg performed.
Make no mistake, if I believe that there will be an opportunity to get a great brew at any destination that I may be traveling to, you can bet your hard earned money that the uKeg will be going with me and I will be returning home with fresh, delicious, and lively beer.
Disclosure: I was graciously given a 64-ounce uKeg by Growlerwerks for the purpose of this review. All opinions are my own!