Our columnist decides to find out once and for all how useful a beer koozie actually is.
Picture this: You’re sitting by a poolside in some beach somewhere, enjoying the cool sea breeze and the warm sunshine, and you reach out for that nice, cold beer beside you to take a sip.... and find out that it’s not cold anymore. Urgh.
Now, wouldn’t it be nice if there was a way to make sure your nice, ice cold beer didn’t get warm too quickly, and could stay cold at least until you finished it?
While I am fully aware that not ALL beers should be drunk ice cold (in fact, some ales and stouts taste even better when slightly warmer), it CAN get quite annoying when your beer gets warm way too quickly, before you even get the chance to finish it.
Well, short of bringing your own refrigerator or an ice-box around with you, there’s always the simple yet useful beer koozie, also known as a beer sleeve, beer condom, beer cozy, beer hugger, and in Australia, a stubby.
A koozie is usually made out of foam or fabric, and its primary purpose is to keep your cold beer cold by insulating your bottle or can from heat, which in the hot Malaysian weather, can be quite brutal on your beer, wine, or heck, any sort of cold beverage that doesn’t require ice.
So, how well do these things work, really? To find out, I decided to conduct a test with Huggaz, a recently launched brand that produces koozies for cans and bottles, as well as wine bottles (single or double).
But first, some rather obvious disclaimers. First of all, these only work on the bottles and cans. If you’re pouring your beers out into a glass, then it rather defeats the purpose of the koozie in the first place (though with the wine ones, you can at least keep your wine chilled in the koozie as you drink).
Also, since these are just to slow down the heating process, you can’t expect the beer to stay cold FOREVER, no matter how good the koozie is.
“A beer would normally stay cold inside a Huggaz koozie for about 30 minutes, while wine would stay cool for about 45 minutes to an hour,” said Huggaz marketing director Deepak Gill. “Unprotected beers warm up way too quick in our weather, but these can help slow that process down.”
True enough, after trying it out on a couple of beers (both can and bottle) that had been kept overnight in the refrigerator, I found that the beers actually stayed cold for about 20 minutes before gradually becoming cooler, but still drinkable within 30 minutes. By 45 minutes, it was already almost at room temperature (though really, if you’re still nursing that same beer by that point, you might want to think about whether you even LIKE beer in the first place).
Another obvious advantage of having a koozie is that you don’t have to worry about the beer “sweating” (forming condensation outside the bottle as it warms), and getting everything wet.
With its eye-catching and colourful designs, Huggaz koozies stand out for me. Also, while most beer huggers are made of soft foam, Huggaz use high-quality neoprene, a flexible and durable synthetic rubber compound that is also the efficient insulation material used for scuba suits. Huggaz products have a minimum neoprene thickness of 3.5mm, which makes them foldable, and are also machine-washable and stretchable.
According to Deepak, Huggaz is also able to produce customised koozies for celebrations like weddings and birthdays, or corporate gifts.
“Next, we’re looking at bringing in other products like colourful and trendy ice boxes, as well as foldable ice bags and lunch boxes,” he said.
Huggaz products are currently online at huggaz.com, or at selected outlets including Mish Mash (Jalan Muntri, Georgetown, Pulau Pinang); The Food Company (Taman Tun Dr Ismail, KL), Ben’s Independent Grocer (Publika Solaris Dutamas), Shiraz (SS3, Petaling Jaya), and Village Grocer at Bangsar Village 1, KL.
Prices range between RM10 and RM35 per item. For more information, visit facebook.com/huggaz.
> Michael Cheang wants a Huggaz that looks like an Alien face hugger.