The best tasting beer is beer that’s served on tap. That means that enjoying your favorite beer the way it’s meant to be consumed often means having to go out and find a place where it’s served on tap by someone who knows how to pour a drink. But home taps – real, bar quality taps – make it possible to have any beer you want poured fresh right in your own home. Simple, single-tap rigs are about the same size and shape as an average mini-fridge, and can install right into your existing cabinetry and counter. These CO2 fed dispensers – collectively referred to as Kegerators – produce tavern-quality beer from just about any sized keg.
How Do They Work?
Kegerators are more or less like mini-fridges with a tap on top, but with the nice, nifty ability to keep all the parts hidden and create a single seamless unit. Close the door, and you’ve got a nice shiny stainless steel or wood-finished appliance to blend in with the rest of your kitchen, but open it up (again, just like a refrigerator) and inside you’ll find a keg and a container of CO2, along with all the hookups. You can put anything from a pony keg all the way up to a half keg inside – that’s something like 175 12oz glasses worth, and it will stay fresh for up to two months. Just connect both canisters to the tap up top and you’ve got yourself a bar-quality setup. The CO2 will force the beer out of the keg and through the tap, giving it a fresh carbonated mouth feel without contaminating the remaining beer in the keg.
For A Big Bar Or A Small One
If you have the space, or want to make a real-deal in-home bar, you can easily install multiple kegerators along the entire length of a full sized bar. Better still, if you’re going for variety, many kegerators come with adjustable hardware, so you can have up to three taps on a single unit. With three kegerators, which is a little on the small side for a bar length-wise, you can keep up to nine different draft beers on hand and ready to serve at all times. The more taps per kegerator, the smaller your kegs will need to be (say, three pony kegs instead of a single half keg), but if you have a multi-kegerator setup, you can change out your hardware as needed, to have a half keg of your favorite brew on a single tap, and maybe change out smaller amounts of “test beers” in another one. No matter what your space constraints (or how much traffic your home bar sees), if you have space for a mini fridge, you have space for a kegerator, especially because…
Indoors Or Out
Kegerators come in both indoor and outdoor varieties, and many of them have either slide-able casters or smooth glide wheels. That makes it perfectly versatile for use just about anywhere in your home, inside or out, and ideal for outdoor parties. If you don’t want to dedicate counter or cabinet space to installing one permanently, you can just roll it where it’s convenient and move it as needed. Anywhere you can find an outlet, or run an extension cord, a kegerator can provide you with tavern quality beer. This is world’s apart from the beer you’re otherwise likely to find in someone’s back yard, and weatherproof outdoor varieties even make a nice addition to outdoor kitchens or built in grill areas if you do a lot of cooking or entertaining outside.
So Why Not Make Your Own?
I’ll admit, it’s entirely possible to make your own kegerator from scratch. With the right parts, a little knowhow, and a little time spent browsing youtube, you could probably piece together something that would work roughly as well as your average kegerator. So why buy it? Because a even a simple premade kegerator offers a lot of advantages over the home brew (pun intended) variety. First and maybe most importantly, unless you have the skill set and a spare mini fridge laying around, there’s a good chance that anything you make wouldn’t be nearly as efficient, or even more cost efficient than just buying one intact. Poorly sealed parts will cause your kegerator to leak, and without a mini fridge or ice chest, you won’t be able to keep your beer at a drinkable (or palatable) temperature at all. Buying pre made eliminates these problems because professional kegerators are designed to keep, store, and serve beer properly.
Still not convinced? Pre-made kegerators also have a much, much nicer finish to them, both in terms of the tap hardware and the fridge itself. Many kegerators come in a wide variety of finishes that you just couldn’t pull of with a cobbled-together home tap. While you could pile CO2 tanks and kegs into a heavily modified freezer unit, if you want a seamless, authentic bar look, it’s worlds better to opt for something that’s designed to blend seamlessly with, or even enhance your decor. Put simply, if you want beer that’s worth drinking, it’s really worth doing it right – and buying a decent kegerator will ensure the appearance, efficiency, and even mobility that you need.