30 August 2006

Zierholz in the home - MiniKeg road test

| johnboy
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Over the weekend I was lucky enough to be able to roadtest (for review purposes) a mini-keg of Zierholz fresh beer and was thoroughly impressed. (If you missed it the RiotACT team inspected the Zierholz Premium Brewery in Fyshwick back at the end of July)

The 10.3 litre keg comes with internal gas pressure so it stays fresh (I’m told) for up to three weeks after you first tap it. It also comes with a removable dispense head which also acts as gas regulator.

Zierholz keg

So how does it work?

OK, first you need to get the keg out of the fridge, assuming you have a reasonably sized fridge. Or if you have a rather large fridge you can operate the keg from in there.

the top of a keg of zierholz

Then get hold of the dispense head

minikeg dispense head

Place the head into the clearly marked spot on the keg, pull the handle over and down, wait a second while the pressure builds up in the dispense head (making a slightly disturbing noise) and you’re ready to go.

minikeg with dispense head fitted

The tap’s direction of operation is clearly marked and the pour is brisk but not aggressive.

pouring the zierholz beer

So, having had it over a weekend, helped myself to it, taken it around for my father to have a try, and taken it to a party where it was very well received I can vouch that the system works smoothly and flawlessly to deliver on-tap beer into the home.

The beer the keg was filled with was a new recipe currently under the working title of Hopmeister. It’s a delicious light-ale (but not at all light in alcohol content) with a fruity hops flavour that can only be found in beer that hasn’t travelled hundreds of kilometers on the back of an unrefrigerated truck. The Zierholz Pale Ale and Amber Ale is also available.

Zierholz label

And now we get to brass tacks, what does it cost?

Well the first keg is a doozy. A filled keg with dispense system will set you back $400, holding 10.3 litres that’s a steep $14 a schooner (still less than what you’ll pay for similar quality belgian beers in some pubs).

It’s going to be OK. Sit down, take a deep breathe, count to ten.

Once you’re set up each refill (on a swap and go basis) is a more reasonable $71.50 ($65 pre-GST) or $2.60 a schooner. Premium beers often sell in that range at case price, and let’s remember that a case of 330ml premium bottles will only give you a bit under 8 litres of beer.

So, if you think that VB or Carlton Draught is as good as beer gets than this is probably not for you. If you’re a home brewer with your own keg system this is not for you.

On the other hand I suspect there are many people out there who would appreciate a fresh beer to enjoy at home in a well appointed pool room or shed. This is for them (or you).

If you want to try before you buy I can vouch that the Zierholz on tap at Debacle in Braddon is tasting pretty good right now (particularly with the tapas).

Those who are interested should call Christoph Zierholz on 02 6162 0523 or email info@zierholz.com.au

One off keg hires are negotiable, but you’ll need to speak to the man.

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It’s worth noting that I got out to the brewery yesterday and not only is Cristoph a delightful fellow but he just loves to throw around a few samples.

Did I mention how good the beer is? My home brewer friend I took along for the ride is now feverishly planning schemes to brew 50 litre kegs of the darker stuff. He has been incredibly inspired you might say.

With reference to johnboy & Danman – I have done both 🙂

This story should be ‘stickied’.

Christoph has an infectious vibe for his beer. I think a run past Debacle tonight is well in order.

A trip on a scooter is going to do far less harm than months in an un-refrigerated container !
The brilliant thing about Zierholz beer is that it is fresh (so I am told disclaimer etc), being made locally here in Canberra from the highest quality ingredients..no disclaimer here, they are.
Fresh is best really does apply to beer, Fosters, one of the world’s biggest brewing conglomerates spruiks “Brewery Fresh” for some of their product and this is far more than a clever marketing ploy..its actually the truth.
Sure you can pasteurise your beer (I understand that most of the “long life” beer in Australia is) or you can have it fresh with no requirement for pasteurisation.
I can tell you one thing for sure, when me and the other alco’s in the park crawl out from under our sheets of cardboard in the morning, it aint past your eyes milk we are looking for baby!

All you’d need to set up a home delivery service is a scooter. A few badges on the side and off you go. Keeps the costs down due to the excellent fuel consumption.

Not sure what a trip on a scooter would do to the beer though.

or buy a keg ya tightarse 🙂

Well that’d be up to you letting your local know loud and clear what beer you’d like to see on tap.

Great to see a local person doing Canberra proud & even more importantly looking after our thirst for a decent brew. Please hurry up & get your beers on at my local so I don’t have to put up with the dogs piss they serve there any longer!!

Christoph – My fiancee and Matt “S” from the brewers club were at your fine establishment yesterday getting the grand tour. On all reports from Rachel consider one keg tentatively sold.

Christoph Zierholz12:48 pm 31 Aug 06

I’d just like to thank all the RiotACT crew for being so supportive and encouraging of our fledgling venture and for the exposure they have given us on these pages. Also, it is great to see all the positive comments – I especially like Big Al’s bit about making the world a bettter place as I have been known to remark that “I left a job in the public service to perform a true public service by making good beer for a living!”. If it takes doing a TW to succeed then I will, I just don’t know how I’d go with the licencing laws in this country – I do recall incidentally that my Dad used to get beer deliveries in Germany same as a milk run does the rounds here…
For now we’ll just have to set up a swap and go around town!
BTW soon we’ll be in a position to host some open days and home brewing demos so Canberrans (and other visitors of course) can see where their pint comes from. We’ll let you know and hope to see you there. Prost!

From the article:

OK, first you need to get the keg out of the fridge, assuming you have a reasonably sized fridge. Or if you have a rather large fridge you can operate the keg from in there.

It is, however, a big lump of fluid and metal.

So it holds its temperature for hours out of the fridge once you’ve cooled it.

How do you keep it cold, can it be stored in the beer fridge?

As one of the 3 or 4 actually Certified Beer Judges (under the BJCP) in Australia, and an alco who just crawled out from under a sheet of cardboard, thats real cred, I can testify to the quality of Zierholz Beers

Now all we need is for Christoph to adopt Tom Woodward’s sales technique – delivering these marvels of beer nirvana to our doors and the world will truly be a better place.

I’m told that the german engineering lasts for years of trouble free operation (rinse in warm water to clean).

Christoph did say he’d maintain them at cost for his customers. They cost less than $100 IIRC, the kegs are the expensive bit.

what are the replacement part costs for the system, if they were to go?

Beer for comment – literally!

barking toad2:53 pm 30 Aug 06

This information is far more important to mankind than fuckin’ biodiesel fuels.

And, the more you drink. the more you save!

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