It doesn’t matter that Benjamin Franklin’s widely misquoted assertion that the existence of beer is evidence that God loves us isn’t about beer (it’s about wine).
What does matter is that beer has a long history in the United States that began prior to the founding of the country. Jefferson famously loved his wines, his friend/enemy/friend John Adams started off each day with a glass of hard cider (for the obvious health benefits, of course), and Washington was one of the leading distillers in the country. Jefferson appreciated beer much more than he did wine. Regardless of his preference for Madeira and imported wines in barriques, he expressed his support for beer in an 1815 letter. “I wish to see this beverage become common instead of the whisky which kills one-third of our citizens, and ruins their families.”
There is some debate as to the best way to drink beer but most would agree that quaffing a draft drawn from a keg is the most enjoyable method. Beer is perishable; the fresher the better.
Recently, I got a new home draft beer machine, made by Krups. It was a great gift. It’s called Hopsy.
Hopsy provides the refrigerator/keg holder/draft dispenser (known as the “sub”) and the 64 oz. mini-kegs (known as “torps”) that go with it. The submarine/torpedo comparison is a good one because loading a keg into the machine follows the same process as loading a torpedo into a submarine’s torpedo tube. The quality and industrial design of the draft/refrigerator/sub are superb. (Compare to the very similar Draftmark, which we reviewed a few years ago.)
Once installed (an easy process), the sub ready (torp loaded into the sub), and the beer chilled, the sub delivers a fantastic draft beer. When the torp is at the right temperature the button on the front of the unit turns from red to green.
The system works. The quality of the machine is high. The beers that I’ve so far tried are all good, very good, or excellent, and the draft pouring mechanism delivers a great draft beer. In my view, Hopsy is a great success and a valuable addition to the world of enjoying beer. There are a few problems, none of which are insurmountable.
When I first ordered mini-kegs several weeks ago, nearly all the beers available were from California. But now, as of this writing, the available beers are only from New York or Pennsylvania, plus Dos Equis from Mexico, with none available from California. Therefore, I cannot re-order a torp that I liked from the initial shipment. It seems that there is some instability of sourcing and keeping enough mini-kegs on hand to meet growing demand. This translates to slow shipping times and lack of selection/availability. The company’s list of partner breweries is extensive and impressive with the implication that beers from those breweries are available for purchase. Unfortunately that may not exactly be the case.
Another important flub here is that the torp labels do not include the fill date. Beer lovers want fresh beer. Without the fill date on the mini-keg there is no way to know the freshness of the beer inside. Also remember that only torps purchased from Hopsy are compatible with the unit, and torps are not reusable. It’s simply not a vessel for homebrewers.
On the whole, Hopsy is a fantastic way to get excellent, high quality draft beer at a reasonable price delivered to your home. The inconsistent availability of torps is a problem, as is the fact that torps cannot be reused, and shipping delays add to the frustration. The draft beer system works great, the logistics side not so much. If the glitches mentioned are resolved (and fairly quickly), Hopsy should have a bright future.
B+ / $99 [BUY IT NOW FROM AMAZON]