This is a review of MillerCoors new Home Draft System. The product I tested was Miller Lite Home Draft, although the MillerCoors new Home Draft System is also available in Coors Light. MillerCoors Home Draft is currently being tested in several markets in the United States: Dallas, Texas; San Diego, California; Jacksonville, Florida; Phoenix, Arizona; Denver, Colorado and Columbus, Ohio.
Small kegs holding a gallon of beer or more for home consumption have been around for years. Unfortunately, party kegs are often awkward to use and store. Not only that, but party kegs and gallon draught cans are not really designed for long term storage, so they are best saved for parties or special events like the Superbowl where you are less likely to have left over beer taking up precious room in the fridge as it goes flat.
MillerCoors thinks it has found the answer to longer term party keg storage with its new Home Draft System, which is designed to be easy to use and to stay fresh and bubbly for thirty days in your fridge. I bought a Miller Lite Home Draft System at the supermarket and rushed it home to test it out.
Miller Lite Home Draft System: First Impressions.
Miller Lite Home Draft comes in a box that is shorter and fatter than an 18 pack of cans. Inside the box is what looks like a two liter soda bottle on steriods. Instead of a screw top cap, there is a CO2 cartridge attached to a standard tap. You are supposed to tear the entire perforated end off the box and slide the whole thing into your refrigerator.
The Wall Street Journal reported that the MillerCoors Home Draft System is designed to be stored upright, but that is incorrect. Miller Lite Home Draft is designed to be stored flat and dispensed straight out of the fridge.
The instructions for getting the Home Draft System up and running are printed right on the end of the box, and it is ridiculously simple to set up. Remove the safety tab, twist open the CO2 cartridge and flip the blue lock tab. After that easy 5 second task, all you have to do is pour yourself a beer.
Miller Lite Home Draft is a lot easier to open and set up than the one gallon keg cans sold by microbreweries and high end imported beer brands. Also, once it’s opened and set up, that’s it: you do not have to take it out of the fridge to pour the beer or close it up again to keep the beer fresh.
On the other hand, the box looks kind of sloppy once opened. (See the pictures that accompany this article at the top of the page.) It also seems to take up more room in the fridge than it actually does. I’ve discovered two ways to fix the problems with the packaging. First, the box looks neater if you take out the cardboard that surrounds the tap, bend the sides backwards and slide it back into the box.
Second, even though Miller Lite Home Draft bottle is supposed to stay in the box, you don’t really need to keep it there. Beside the CO2 cartridge, there are four bumps on the bottom of the bottle that act like feet, so there is enough stability to keep the bottle from rolling around. Miller Lite Home Draft takes up a bit less space in the fridge and looks less hulking once the bottle is removed from the box.
Miller Lite Home Draft System: How easy is it to pour the beer?
When it comes to the main event– pouring yourself a nice frosty mug of golden pilsner goodness– the answer is real easy. Stick your glass under the tap, tilt the glass slightly to keep the head down, and pull the handle. The beer pours smoothly, with just the right amount of head, or foam, at the top of the glass.
I have to say, in all honesty, that I am truly impressed. The Miller Lite Home Draft System pours smoothly, with no spitting or sputtering. It is easy to use and dispenses beer quickly, but not so quickly that you are mopping it up off the floor. The MillerCoors Home Draft System dispenses the best of any draught can, party keg or draught keg beer designed for home use that I have ever used– and trust me, I’ve used a lot of them.
That’s nice. But how does it taste?
According to Andy England, head of marketing at MillerCoors LLC, Miller Lite Home Draft is designed for the 30% of beer drinkers who prefer draught beer to beer from a can or bottle. I don’t know about his numbers, but I definitely prefer draft beer over cans or bottles, so I was eager to see how Miller Lite Home Draft beer tastes.
The beer dispensed from the Miller Lite Home Draft system tastes good.
In fact, Miller Lite Home Draft tastes exactly like the Miller Lite beer on tap at your favorite, well tended and clean bar. Once again, I was impressed.
How long will Miller Lite Home Draft last in your fridge?
MillerCoors says its Home Draft System will keep its beer fresh and bubbly for 30 days. We drank all the Miller Lite Home Draft beer well before a month was up. However, in the interest of giving you the best review possible, I did stretch it out as long as I could. When I poured the final glass of Miller Lite Home Draft beer 18 days after I opened the package, it was just as bubbly and fresh tasting as the very first glass.
The Miller Lite Home Draft Blind Taste Test.
Also in the interest of providing the best review possible, I served Miller Lite Home Draft beer that had been open for one week to my unsuspecting husband and a neighbor.
Well, actually, it was open in the fridge, they wandered into the kitchen looking for a beer or three, and they helped themselves. Neither one had any problems pouring the Miller Lite Home Draft beer– even after sampling several glasses. Both men thought it tasted great and and was freshly tapped, and they were both astonished when I told them they were drinking week old beer.
The blind taste test verdict: two thumbs up.
Miller Lite Home Draft Review: final notes on value and quality.
The MillerCoors Home Draft System cost $17.99. It holds a gallon and a half (5 Liters) of beer, which works out to 16 twelve ounce beers. When it comes to Home Draft beer, you have your pick of either Miller Lite or Coors Light. The bottle is semi-transparent amber colored plastic, so you can see how much beer is left. This is a good thing: when you run out of beer using the MillerCoors Home Draft System, you really are out of beer.
When I drank the last of the Miller Lite Home Draft, there was almost no warning– it sputtered, dispensed another 8 ounces of good to the last drop beer, and that was that. There was none of that shaking and tilting business involved with other party kegs I have used. And it truly was a dead soldier: I gave the empty bottle a shake to see how much was left and the answer was nothing at all.
There is no need to worry about what to do with your empties: both the Miller Lite and Coors Light Home Draft Systems are recyclable, and that is the kind of Green beer I can stand behind and recommend.