By Koriela (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
There was a time when the word “keg” triggered thoughts of wild college parties, cheap beer and plastic cups.
Well, the keg grew up and got its degree in luxury living. And, increasingly, people are making kegged beer, coffee and wine the focal point of entertainment areas and kitchens in their customized homes. Meanwhile, a growing number of homebrewers are installing taps in their homes to avoid the task of bottling their hoppy creations.
Party hosts and beer connoisseurs have a couple popular options to create an elegant tap set up in their home or as part of an inviting outdoor kitchen.
Many luxury homeowners opt for kegerators, which are essentially small refrigerators designed to house a keg, maintain a consistent low temperature and use CO2 or nitrous tanks to distribute the keg contents through a tap.
Meanwhile, handy beer connoisseurs are acquiring vintage refrigerators, breaking out their toolboxes and buying conversion kits to turn that old fridge or freezer into a homemade kegerator.
While beer is still easily the most popular type of keg you’ll find inside a kegerator, a lot of homeowners are venturing out and adding two or more taps, with one pouring cold press coffee, wine or another beverage, such as kombucha and soda pop. (Parents take note: tap locks are available to prevent children from playing with them.)
Tapping kegs is a bit of commitment. But a keg of beer held at a consistently low temperature and connected to a CO2 tank can last up to four months without losing a significant amount of its intended flavor, although different types of beer and other factors can influence the beer’s longevity.
Wine can last much longer, depending on the type of wine.
Cold brew coffee, meanwhile, typically lasts about a month to six weeks. Austin’s Cuvee is among the growing group of coffee brewers experimenting with tap coffees.
Elegant Examples on Tap
Kegerators have a wide price range, starting around $400. More expensive models typically have higher quality refrigeration designed to last longer and maintain more consistent temperatures. More expensive models also typically have digital displays to show the temperature.
If you decide to install one in your home, there are a couple things to know: You’ll want to decide whether to buy an indoor or outdoor model. Decide how many taps you’d like to have available. And consider whether you’d like a stand-alone model or one that has front-facing ventilation and can be installed under a kitchen countertop or in a cabinet area.
Here are a few examples of how homeowners have installed their taps.
Meanwhile, there are dozens of great examples of people who have used hardware store materials or conversion kits to retrofit vintage refrigerators. Here are a few nice examples:
If you have kegs, you’ll likely soon learn the importance of cleaning the plastic tubes that deliver your beverage of choice. It’s essential to clean them regularly. Generally, that’s every time you change out a keg.
It’s a simple project that will take less than a half hour, which includes the time tubes are just soaking in a cleaning solution.
Otherwise, kegs run much like refrigerators and tend not to need much maintenance.
Having a keg full of anything in your home is a bit of a commitment to that particular beverage. But, it can cut down on the number of trips you need to make to buy beer, wine or coffee, as well as eliminating empty cans and bottles.