Learn more about best beer for kegerator.
There’s no denying the appeal of having a kegerator at home – a cold, perfectly tapped beer is a game-changer. Choosing the best beer for your home kegerator can seem overwhelming with so many options available, but it all comes down to personal preference, the type of kegerator you have, and the capacity you’re working with. In this article, we will dive into some of the top options for beer enthusiasts seeking to amp up their home kegerator experience.
Wheat beers, with their high carbonation levels, are an excellent option for a kegerator. Some popular wheat beer choices include Blue Moon, Hoegaarden, and Shock Top, which offer a refreshing taste with a smooth finish. Another style to consider is sour beer. This relatively new style has quickly gained popularity due to its unique flavor and variety, making it an adventurous choice for your kegerator.
As you explore different options, consider the space and capacity of your kegerator, your personal taste preferences, and the type of beer you enjoy most. The perfect beer for your home kegerator should balance quality, ease of storage, and serving temperature, ensuring that every pour delivers a flawless taste for you and your guests to enjoy. With a little experimenting and exploration, you’ll soon discover the ideal beer that complements your home kegerator and elevates your beer-drinking experience.
Table of Contents
Choosing the Best Beer for Your Kegerator
When selecting the best beer for your kegerator, personal preference should be the primary consideration. It’s essential to choose a beer that you and your guests will enjoy. When you have a favorite beer style or brand, start by considering those options.
Craft beers have gained popularity in recent years, offering a wide variety of flavors, styles, and unique characteristics. If you’re looking to explore new tastes or support local breweries, a craft beer might be an excellent choice for your kegerator. You can experiment with different types of craft beers, such as sours, fruity beers, or barrel-aged options.
India Pale Ale (IPA) is a popular choice for many beer enthusiasts. Known for its strong hoppy flavor, bitterness, and high alcohol content, IPAs often have fruity, citrus, or piney notes. Many breweries produce various IPA styles, such as West Coast IPA, New England IPA, or Double IPA, giving you several options to choose from.
Lagers are another popular beer style for kegerators. These beers are generally crisp, clean-tasting, and refreshing, with a lighter body. Lagers can be a great choice for those who prefer a milder flavor and lower alcohol content. There are multiple lager styles to consider, such as Pilsner, Märzen, or Helles.
Stouts are dark, rich beers with flavors of roasted malt, chocolate, or coffee. They can range from creamy and sweet to dry and bitter. If you’re a fan of full-bodied, flavorful beers, a stout might be a suitable choice for your kegerator. Examples of stout styles include Irish Dry Stout, Imperial Stout, and Oatmeal Stout.
For non-beer drinkers or those looking for a healthier option, kombucha can be a unique choice for your kegerator. Kombucha is a fermented tea rich in probiotics and low in sugar and calories. It comes in various flavors and can even be infused with fruit, herbs, or spices. Just ensure that your kegerator setup is compatible with serving kombucha since it requires specific handling and storage conditions.
Top Kegerator Features to Look For
The temperature range of a kegerator is crucial for maintaining the optimal conditions for different types of beer. A wider range allows you to serve various beer styles at their ideal temperatures, enhancing their flavors. Look for a kegerator with adjustable temperature settings to accommodate your preferences.
CO2 Tank and Regulator
A CO2 tank and regulator are essential components of a kegerator for maintaining the right level of carbonation in your beer. The size of the CO2 tank may vary depending on the kegerator model, but a standard size is a 5-pound tank. Ensure the regulator is constructed of durable materials, such as brass or stainless steel, to provide long-lasting performance.
The draft tower is where the beer is dispensed from the kegerator. It can have single or multiple faucets to accommodate various types of beer. Stainless steel draft towers are preferable as they are durable and easy to clean. Pay attention to the tower’s height, as it can impact the beer-pouring experience and ease of use.
Choose a kegerator with a faucet designed for easy cleaning and minimal maintenance. Stainless steel faucets are recommended as they are durable and resistant to corrosion. Consider additional features like a flow control feature, which allows you to adjust the speed of the pour to suit different beer styles.
A drip tray is an essential accessory to keep your kegerator clean and mess-free. Look for a removable, stainless steel drip tray for effortless cleaning and durability. Some models have built-in drip trays, which can also work well if they are easily accessible and easy to clean.
The beer line connects the keg to the faucet, and should be made of food-grade materials to ensure the quality and taste of your beer. Choose a kegerator that uses a high-quality, vinyl beer line with a minimum 3/16-inch inner diameter to prevent kinking and maintain consistent pressure.
The coupler is the component that connects the keg to the CO2 tank, allowing the beer to flow through the beer line. There are different types of couplers, depending on the type of beer you plan to dispense. Select a kegerator that comes with a compatible coupler for the beer brands you intend to serve, or ensure that it’s easy to switch out the coupler for different kegs.
Types of Kegerators for Different Needs
Home kegerators are designed for personal use and typically hold smaller kegs. They are ideal for those who enjoy draft beer in the comfort of their own homes. Some of the top choices for home kegerators include the Kegco HBK209S-3K Homebrew Kegerator, which is highly recommended for its overall quality and performance source.
For those with limited space, a compact kegerator is a great option. These kegerators are smaller in size, which makes them suitable for apartments, dorm rooms, or smaller home bars. The Koolatron Mini Beer Cooler is a remarkable example, boasting a remarkable cooling capacity for its value source.
Commercial kegerators are designed for businesses, such as bars and restaurants. They typically have larger capacities, allowing them to hold multiple kegs at once. Additionally, they are built with heavy-duty materials to withstand frequent use. The Kegco MDK-309SS-01 Keg Dispenser is an expert-recommended option with features like 2 gas and beer lines, and compatibility with various keg sizes source.
Perfect for parties, tailgating, and other events, portable kegerators offer convenience and mobility. They usually have a compact design and are lightweight. Some models even come with wheels, making them easy to transport from one location to another.
Outdoor kegerators are specifically designed to withstand various weather conditions and temperature fluctuations. They are ideal for use in patios, decks, or other outdoor entertainment areas. The EdgeStar 15-Inch Built-In Outdoor Kegerator is highly recommended for its durability and quality source.
Kegerator Capacity and Keg Sizes
When choosing the best beer for your kegerator, it’s essential to consider keg capacity. The most common keg sizes are:
- Mini Keg: 5 liters (169.07 ounces)
- Cornelius Keg: 19 liters (5 gallons)
- Quarter Barrel (Pony Keg): 7.75 gallons
- Half-Barrel: 15.5 gallons (124 pints)
For reference, a mini keg is perfect for small gatherings or weekend camping trips, while a full-sized keg is best suited for larger parties 1.
Cornelius kegs are a popular choice for homebrewers and craft beer enthusiasts, as they have a capacity of 5 gallons (19 liters) 2. Typically adjustable to fit kegerators, these kegs allow for easy dispensing of homebrewed beer or smaller-batch craft beers. Be sure to check your kegerator’s compatibility with Cornelius kegs before making a purchase.
Oversized kegs are not as common and may not fit standard kegerators. They often hold larger quantities than full-sized kegs, making them better suited for commercial use or large-scale events. Be cautious when considering an oversized keg, as it may not fit your kegerator’s dimensions and could require modifications to properly dispense beer.
Full-sized kegs, also known as half-barrels, are the most common keg size, with a capacity of 15.5 gallons (124 pints) 3. This keg size is perfect for parties or those who wish to have a variety of beer options available. Full-sized kegs will fit any standard kegerator, making them a great choice for those looking to dispense their favorite beers at home.
Best Kegerator Brands and Models
Choosing the best kegerator for your home or establishment is essential to enjoy draft beer at its finest. In this section, we will discuss some of the best kegerator brands and models available today.
Kegco is one of the leading kegerator brands, known for its high-quality appliances. The MDK-309SS-01 Keg Dispenser is a top-rated kegerator that can constantly hold beer at an ice-cold temperature. This model is compatible with various keg sizes, including 2 sixth-barrel kegs, 1 quarter-barrel keg, or 1 full-size keg. The digital display allows users to easily adjust the temperature to their preference.
The EdgeStar KC2000SS is a built-in stainless steel kegerator that offers a powerful refrigeration system and a slim profile. This kegerator is designed for both indoor and outdoor use, making it ideal for those with limited space. Its features include:
- Strong refrigeration capabilities
- Slim design for space efficiency
- Versatility for both indoor and outdoor use
Nutrichef Pressurized Growler Tap System
For a compact option, the Nutrichef Pressurized Growler Tap System serves as a countertop kegerator. This convenient and portable system allows users to keep their beer cold and fresh without the need for a larger appliance. Key features include:
- Countertop design for easy placement on any surface
- Pressurized system to maintain beer freshness
- Portable and easy to use
Coldbreak Jockey Box
The Coldbreak Jockey Box is another option for those who need a portable and convenient beer dispensing system. This device is designed for outdoor events and on-the-go beer dispensing. Its features include:
- Portable design for easy transportation
- Quick cooling capabilities
- Ideal for outdoor events and gatherings
In conclusion, various kegerator brands and models are available to cater to different needs and preferences. By considering the features and benefits of each, you can make an informed decision and select the best kegerator for your specific requirements.
Installation Options and Accessories
Built-in kegerators are designed to be integrated into cabinetry or under counters, allowing for a seamless look in your home or bar. Installation of a built-in kegerator usually requires a professional to ensure proper ventilation, power connections, and clearances.
Freestanding kegerators are more versatile, allowing you to place them in any suitable area of your home or establishment. They come in various styles and do not require professional installation. Some even come with caster wheels, making it easy to transport and reposition them.
Draft Beer Towers
A draft beer tower is the visible part of the draft system, housing multiple faucets, and beer lines. They come in various styles, such as:
- Single faucet towers
- Double faucet towers
- Triple faucet towers
Select the right tower based on your kegerator’s capacity and the number of beers you want to serve simultaneously.
Tap handles are both functional and decorative, allowing you to easily identify each beer you are serving. Depending on your preferences, choose from:
- Generic tap handles
- Customizable tap handles
- Branded tap handles (featuring various brewery logos)
Guard rails attach to the top of the kegerator cabinet, providing both safety and style. They help prevent glassware from falling and come in a variety of designs, such as stainless steel or brass railings.
Double Gauge Regulators
Double gauge regulators, an essential component of a kegerator, allow you to monitor two pressure levels – one for the CO2 tank pressure and another for the dispensing pressure. This ensures that your beer is served at the ideal pressure and carbonation level.
Vinyl tubing connects the keg coupler to the tap faucet, transporting the beer from the keg to the glass. Be sure to use food-grade vinyl tubing to ensure the quality and safety of your beer.
Keg couplers are used to connect the keg to the dispensing system. There are various types of keg couplers available, such as:
- D System Sankey (for domestic beers)
- S System European Sankey (for European beers)
- A System German Slider (for German beers)
Select the appropriate keg coupler based on the type of beer you’ll be serving.
Expanding Your Kegerator Experience
Beer enthusiasts seeking to enhance their kegerator experience have several options to consider. From multi-tap kegerators to digital temperature controls, adding soft drinks, and pairing food with beers, there are numerous ways to enrich your home draft beer set-up.
A dual tap kegerator allows you to serve two different types of beer simultaneously. This is an excellent option for those who want variety and the ability to sample different brews at any given time. Some benefits of multi-tap kegerators include:
- Offering a diverse range of beer for your guests
- Saving time and money by reducing the need for multiple single-tap kegerators
- Creating a customizable and versatile draft beer experience
Digital Temperature Controls
Implementing digital temperature controls into your kegerator set-up ensures that your beer is consistently stored and served at the optimal temperature. These precise controls can be adjusted to cater to individual beer styles’ temperature needs, ultimately enhancing the overall beer experience. Key features of digital temperature controls include:
- Maintaining beer freshness
- Promoting proper carbonation
- Elevating the taste and quality of each pour
Adding Soft Drinks
For individuals who want a refreshing and non-alcoholic option, adding soft drinks to your kegerator can be a great choice. This not only accommodates guests who don’t drink alcohol but also provides variety for those seeking a break from beer. To incorporate soft drinks into your kegerator, consider the following:
- Invest in extra kegs specifically for soft drinks
- Adjust the CO2 pressure according to the soft drink requirements
- Sanitize the lines between switching from beer to soft drinks to prevent cross-contamination
Pairing Food and Beers
To further enrich your kegerator experience, focus on pairing complementary food and beers. By offering snacks, appetizers, or even full meals alongside your draft beers, the overall experience is elevated, and the taste profiles of each beer can be fully appreciated. Some tips for successful beer and food pairing include:
- Consider the intensity and flavor of the beer when selecting food
- Look for balance between bitterness, sweetness, and other tastes
- Experiment with different combinations to discover your personal preferences
In conclusion, investing in additional features like multi-tap kegerators, digital temperature controls, and incorporating soft drinks and food pairings can greatly enhance your kegerator experience, making it an even more enjoyable pastime for you and your guests.
Maintaining and Cleaning Your Kegerator
Taking care of your kegerator is essential to get the best beer experience while maintaining the quality of carbonated beverages and preserving their aroma. This section will guide you through regular maintenance, cleaning the beer lines, and replacing parts.
It’s important to frequently inspect your kegerator for any issues. Here are some key aspects to consider:
- Ensure that the kegerator is functioning at the right temperature.
- Check for leaks in the CO2 tank and regulator.
- Inspect the beer tap for any wear or damage.
By regularly maintaining your home appliance, you can extend the life of the kegerator and enjoy great beer.
Cleaning the Beer Lines
Cleaning the beer lines is crucial to keep the taste of your beer at its best. Here are some steps to follow:
- Prepare a cleaning solution by mixing a tablespoon of beer line cleaner with every gallon of hot water. source
- Turn off the CO2 supply and disconnect the keg.
- Remove the faucet and keg coupler, then soak them in the cleaning solution. source
- Flush the beer lines with the cleaning solution using either a gravity cleaning kit or pump-action cleaning jar. source
Regularly cleaning the beer lines will prevent the build-up of yeast, bacteria, and beer stone, ensuring a great-tasting carbonated beverage.
Over time, some parts of your kegerator may become worn or damaged. It’s important to regularly inspect the appliance and replace any parts as needed. Some parts to watch for include:
- Beer tap: Ensure it’s operating smoothly and replace if needed.
- CO2 tank: Inspect for any damage or leaks, and replace or refill as necessary.
- Regulator: Replace if you notice irregular pressure or inaccurate readings.
By keeping your kegerator in good shape, you’ll be able to enjoy the best beer possible while maximizing the appliance’s lifespan.