Having a home bar is as we know a dream come true, stocked with your favorite bottled beer cooling down to the perfect temperature in the glass fronted refrigerator, it’s a divine picture.
There is nothing that could improve that picture, right? Wrong.
How about instead of bottled beer, or as well as bottled beer, we could have draught beer at home. If you are interested (who wouldn’t be), then a home bar beer dispenser, or kegerator is the equipment needed to make this happen.
What Is A Beer Kegerator
One day a beer keg was sat next to a refrigerator and complained of being too hot, the refrigerator flung its door open and invited the keg to jump inside to cool down. The keg didn’t need to be asked twice and jumped right in, and the kegerator was born.
Simply put, a kegerator is a merging of a keg and a refrigerator.
Then you need to add a CO2 Cylinder and tubing, a faucet and coupler, which needs to be the right type to fit the right keg. These are not all the components that make up a kegerator, there are more. Then you have the maintenance, you can’t just install your kegerator and expect to only have to connect and disconnect a keg once in a while.
You will need to clean your beer lines regularly and balance the draught system. At this point you may be thinking, I will just stick with bottled beer in the cooler because this kegerator thing seems way to complicated.
Don’t walk away just yet, it is worth finding out a little more before you dismiss the idea of your own draught beer at home.
Two Ways To Kegeration
It’s not even a word, but you know what I mean, put another way, there are two ways to own a kegerator.
I may have put you off above with it sounding a little complicated, but if you keep in mind that we are really only talking about a keg and a refrigerator, simple.
Convert A Fridge
It is possible to convert a refrigerator into a kegerator, all you need is a kegerator conversion kit, so get yourself one of them, empty the fridge and proceed. Forget I said that, I don’t want to encourage anyone to start cutting holes in an appliance, but if you are game please do the research first.
If you have done your research and you are confident that you can convert a refrigerator into a kegerator, then this would be an economical way of owning a kegerator.
A conversion kit would set you back a few hundred dollars, and it is possible to buy refrigerators fairly cheaply, so it is a good idea. Just remember to decide on the type of kegs you will be using, before you go get a fridge as not all fridges will accommodate a keg, so do your homework.
Purpose Built Kegerator
The easier option is to purchase a kegerator that has been purpose built for the job, it makes sense right. They are not cheap though, and could set you back a pretty penny.
That being said, don’t revert back to just bottled beer just yet, it is worth digging to find out if there is an affordable option for everyone to enjoy draught beer at home.
These are as the title suggests, freestanding units that look like a refrigerator with a beer tower and faucet protruding from the top of the unit. They come in single units, double units and triple units and can hold one, two or three kegs respectfully.
Built In Kegerator
There is not much difference visually between a freestanding and a built in kegerator (under bar kegerator), it is mainly to do with how they vent or exhaust heat to keep them running efficiently.
A built in unit will vent from the front, so they can be built into a bar set up or between other cabinets. The freestanding unit will vent from the back and will need a few inches clearance to run properly.
There are even outdoor kegerators, light up the barbecue and poor yourself a draught beer. If you have an outside bar, then an outdoor kegerator makes sense.
The difference between an outside kegerator opposed to one that has been designed for indoors, is as you would expect. An outdoor unit is going to have been designed to withstand the elements, it’s that simple.
For this reason they will typically cost more than an inside unit.
The cost of any purpose built kegerator is an issue because they are expensive, but sometimes we just have to have the things we want.
Could there be an alternative?
If your heart is set on enjoying draught beer at home, but the price of a kegerator is just way too much and unjustifiable to the other half, then don’t despair, I’ve got your back.
Think counter top draught beer without the headache and the price tag, think mini kegerator.
There are a variety of mini kegerators on the market, ranging from the smallest which can accommodate just one can or bottle at a time (not sure I see the point), to 5 liter kegs and beyond. Obviously the larger capacity you want, the bigger the unit.
They come in tidy looking units that house small kegs with built in cooler and CO2, or you can literally buy a keg with a tap already fitted. A 5 liter unit is a decent size and will dispense around 8 to 9 pints, but you can go bigger with a 10 liter unit, you can do the math.
The mini kegerator is a great compromise if you don’t want to go full kegerator.
A kegerator is a perfect addition to any home bar, it would be great to have the room and budget to have a full sized one fitted into the bar, but as I said the mini kegerator is a great alternative and will not break the bank.
Even if you haven’t actually got a home bar, a mini kegerator is a great way to enjoy draught beer at home. These great little units can easily fit on the counter top in the kitchen.
When Is A Beer Kegerator Not a Beer Kegerator?
I have been going on about beer kegerators, and they were made for beer, but they can be used to dispense wine, and other drinks too, but I will not get into that right now, just thought it was worth mentioning.
If you do decide to go for a fully fledged kegerator, then think about where it is going to be sited. Think about how easy it will be to access because that keg won’t last forever and you are going to have to get a full keg to it, meaning you do not want to be dragging a heavy keg to far.
I hope this post has given you some insight to what is involved in enjoying draught beer at home, if you decide on a kegerator, plan everything before you actually purchase.
You may have some questions, so pop them below, or just share your kegerator views and experiences.