With any popular product comes a whole host of accessories aiming to capitalize on said product’s success. And beer is certainly no exception, with plenty of supplementary gizmos to go around: each year, there are new tools for head retention, temperature control, even opening beer (didn’t they invent that one already?). Believe it or not, some of these gadgets are actually quite useful!
I tested six such beer-related products across various price points to determine which provide value, and which are just full of foam.
While you may not need a bottle opener, we’ve seen many friends damage table tops and body parts trying to open a beer without one. The Cap Zappa from Spinning Hat can not only pop that top off your beer, but will also shoot the cap at your closest friend or enemy. The small plastic marvel has a range of 16 feet and retails for $2.70 with free shipping at Amazon. However, I’d recommend springing for the Prime option for just a few bucks more (my delivery took forever). For the price and the novelty, I rate this product a firm “buy it now.”
align:center width:800 credits:"Nick Britsky - Cap Zappa"
Fizzics Beer System
Setting-up a home keg system isn’t a task for everyone, but is, indeed, a noble endeavor. You’ll learn a lot about plumbing and will probably get sprayed with beer at least once. But for those who aren’t up for such a challenge, there are ready-made systems out there that will help achieve the same effect. One such product is the Fizzics Beer System, which can hold a growler or bottle of beer and dispense it just like you’re at your favorite bar. Whereas a typical kegerator employs carbon dioxide or nitrogen, the Fizzics setup uses battery powered pumps. Two available actions (regular and extra frothy) will help you attain the perfect amount of head on any beer. Fizzics retails for $130 to $170, depending on the model. I rate this “try before you buy.”
The popularity of tracking beer conquests on giant wooden maps via bottle caps is on the rise. One can purchase a map of the US or specific states from various craftsmen on the web, but traditional bottle openers will crease your bottle cap and ruin your would-be art project. Enter Clean Crown, with its ability to cleanly remove the crown of any beer (get it?). This is a handcrafted wooden opener engineered to lift off your bottle cap and preserve its ideal shape. Clean Crown goes for $25, which is aggressive for a bottle opener -- but it is beautifully made. I rate this “try before you buy.”
Of all the products I reviewed, here’s the one I’m most excited about. Beer presents obvious health risks, and overconsumption is a big one. Anything that can help my beer-drinking brethren get home safely is ranked high on my list. Historically, one would typically employ a breathalyzer to measure blood alcohol level (or BAC). These are fairly accurate, but amount to one more thing you’ll need to carry with you during your night out on the town. The BACtrack Skyn, however, is wearable on one’s arm. The small item tracks your Transdermal Alcohol Content (or TAC) through your skin, and displays your levels on an iPad, smartphone, or smartwatch. The unit was even designed to integrate with the wristband of the Apple iWatch. The unit I received is a test prototype, but the production model is due out this summer. At $99, this beats a trip to jail and we rate it “buy it when it’s available.”
The jokes were flying fast at my place when this product arrived in the mail. The Ultrabeer is, more or less, a beer vibrator -- but the product really works, using ultrasonic vibrations to create a immense stream of bubbles. The product is quite fun to watch, and a must-buy for beer photographers. Otherwise, $30 is a bit steep for a novelty toy. I rate this “try before you buy.”
Shower Beer Holder
It seems like the shower orange is slowly replacing the shower beer -- but we won’t let it die without a fight. And if you have a small shower without many ledges and nooks it could be tempting to get a Shower Beer Holder from SOLIDink3D. The clever device suctions onto your shower tile so that your beer can or (if you must) bottle is close at hand. Word of caution, though: your tile or surface must be absolutely smooth for a good connection. I found that showers with tile patterns or are rough in texture do not have a good adhesion and will put the beer at risk of falling into the shower. This product didn’t live up to expectations, so I give this a “don’t buy.”
This is just a small selection of beer gadgets available on the market. Which other ones do you like? Leave us a comment below to tell us about your favorite beer-related product!