I’ve always looked at the mini-kegs sitting in The Bacchanalia and thought they weren’t for me. How would I get through eight to nine pints of the same beer without it going off? Even the lure of that much Thornbridge Jaipur could’t make me buy one, so why then, did I buy a mini-keg of Adnams New Zealand Pale Ale on a whim?

It was September the 2nd last year, I know this as I checked it on foursquare. I must have been off work, as there’s no other reason why I’d have been in Saffron Walden at ten thirty on a Friday. I have a habbit of always going into the Adnams Cellar & Kitchen Store when I’m in Saffron Walden and picking up some beer, I think I was after some bottles of Ghost Ship, but they didn’t have any.

I’d wanted to try the New Zealand Pale Ale, but there aren’t many Adnams pubs near where I live or work, so getting an opportunity to try it was going to be difficult. I suppose that seeing a mini-keg of a beer that I really, really wanted to try was just too much, so I bought one. I’m still not sure why I bought it, as I managed to try the beer on more than one occasion later in the year, even managing to have a pint in The Sole Bay Inn, just a stones throw from the brewery.

I think the main issue I’ve always had with a mini-keg, is when I would drink it all, as it’s not like you can have a pint and then leave it for a week or two, you need to broach the keg and then finish it. It’s not that I don’t drink the same beer more than once, just look at how many Thornbridge Jaipur’s and BrewDog Punk IPA’s I’ve had (231 and 70 respectively, since November 2010), it’s more that I very rarely drink the same beer more than once in a session, I like variety. I suppose this is one of the reasons I don’t go down to my local pub more often, as I don’t want to drink the same beer all night, every night. That poses a bit of a problem when you have a mini-keg, especially if you’re going to drink it on your own.

This conundrum is probably the main reason why I held onto it for so long, I only drank it at the start of the month. I think that I was hoping for an opportunity to share it with some friends, or some such, but an opportunity never materialised. In the end, it sat in my shed for, pretty much, six months before I opened it, which was far, far too long.

It was only recently that I convinced myself to open it, I also had the perfect oppertunity as my wife was away for the weekend and I had the Friday afternoon off; I had to pick the kids up off the school bus. I figured that I should easily be able to finish the eight to nine pints over the course of two and a half days.

Never having had a mini-keg before, I was a bit unsure of what I’d get out of it and was quite disapointed when the first two pints came out with quite a lot of sediment. That calmed down and the last five or so pints were all pretty much clear. It was quite the novalty to have it draft beer sitting in the fridge, I have to say, it’s just a shame I’d waited so long to open it. The beer had obviously suffered out in the shed for six months, as it was lacking quite a bit of the Nelson Sauvin hop flavour that I remember from my pint at The Sole Bay Inn. It was still nice though, but it would have been marvelous, if it hadn’t lost that extra punch.

The main issue was boredom though. I wouldn’t say I was bored after the second pint, althought something with a bit more IBU would have been nice. I was definitly bored after the second pint on the Saturday and throughly sick of the sight of it by the Sunday. I know that’s my issue though, I’m sure if I only drank Greene King IPA down at my local, then eight to nine pints of Adnams New Zealand Pale Ale from a mini-keg in my fridge, would have been a breeze, but it was just too much for me, just not enough variety.

I know everyone isn’t the same, some people are quite happy drinking eight to nine pints of the same beer, one after the other. I have a work collegue who regularly buys mini-kegs of Thornbridge beer and it quite happy to demolish it all in a couple of days. I don’t think it’s for me though, I need more variety, I need to experience new flavours, I think a mini-keg is just a step too far for me to drink on my own. I’m not sying I wont buy another, but if I do, it will be for a party, where there will be plenty of people to help me drink it.

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