Which Kegerator is Right for Me?

It’s very easy to get excited about making a kegerator purchase. The very nature of the product brings thoughts and images of great get-togethers, joyous celebrations, and all-around good times. It’s certainly not like shopping for new windshield wipers, or perhaps, say, napkin rings (if those things excite you, there’s absolutely no judgment here). But beer is something that instills a certain sense of excitement simply because it reminds us of fun, and oh-so-delicious, times. Mmm, beer…

Wait, let’s not get ahead of ourselves! It’s important to remember that there are many things to consider when making a kegerator purchase. Will you enlist it to serve up large amounts of libations regularly, or only break it out for special occasions? Will you use it inside, outside, or both? Do you want to install it in your home bar area, or will it stand uncovered on its own, to bask in all its glory? These are just some of the many important questions you should ask yourself when deciding which kegerator to outfit your space with. Remember, there are a lot of kegerator models out there to choose from, but the one you choose will most likely become an official member of your household, so choose wisely!

There are more types of kegerators than you might think. There are a wide variety or full-size home kegerators, commercial kegerators for restaurant and bar use, and even mini kegerators, designed specifically for use with 5-liter “mini kegs”. The following will detail the capabilities and drawbacks of each type of kegerator, and will ultimately help you decide which one is right for you.

Full-Size Home Kegerators

One Half Barrel Keg

These kegerators are designed for personal use in your home and come in a great number of styles to suit all sorts of applications. They are great for those that like to keep larger quantities of beer and/or entertain guests often and are capable of holding full-size half-barrel kegs.

Freestanding Units

First, choose a model based on whether or not you want to use it indoors or outdoors. If you plan on using your kegerator exclusively indoors, there’s no need to shell out the extra cash for outdoor capabilities that you do not need. Full-size indoor kegerators can either be designed for freestanding or built-in (under-counter) installation. Freestanding models are fully-finished, fully-enclosed units that can stand on their own.

EdgeStar Full Size Kegerator

Additionally, most models include casters that allow you to move the unit about easily (as seen on the underside of the EdgeStar kegerator to your right). Though, freestanding kegerators require at least 3-4 inches of space between the back of the unit and wall, as well as 2-3 inches on each side in order to properly ventilate.

Because the compressor is located on the back of the unit, there must be a sufficient buffer that allows the hot air produced by the compressor to escape. Using a freestanding kegerator in a built-in application could cause overheating and will undoubtedly compromise the unit’s performance overall.

Built-In Units

Summit Triple Tap Kegerator

So, if you’re looking to install your kegerator under cabinetry or another type of enclosure, built-in models are for you. Kegerators that are capable of built-in installation will always highlight the ability as a feature due to the fact that it’s the sole differentiator from a freestanding unit.

Otherwise, built-in models tend to look very similar, if not identical, to their freestanding cousins. You can also usually spot them out because they typically have cooling systems that ventilate out of the front of the unit.

This feature allows flush installation without a need for any extra space around the sides and back. Though some units on today’s market still vent from the back, but have an additional fan to help channel and force the hot air away from the cabinet. One downside of built-in kegerators is that they usually cost more due to a more complex cooling system design. Higher-end units are also completely enclosed, including the backside.

EdgeStar Full Size Dual Tap

Now, if you want to use your kegerator outdoors full-time, say, in a patio entertainment area, or just want to have the ability to use it outside, say, for a backyard barbecue on the weekend, you should go with an outdoor kegerator.

These outdoor-specific units are different from those built for indoor use in that they have a weatherproof construction, made to outlast the elements. Additionally, they have increased insulation to keep your beer at the perfect temperature, and are also equipped with more powerful compressors that have greater cooling capabilities to combat extreme ambient temperatures. Keep in mind, outdoor kegerators will typically cost more than units made for indoor use due to these upgrades in design, functionality, and versatility.

Mini Kegerators

Don’t have the space for a full-size kegerator or just don’t have a need for a full-size keg? Then your best bet is a mini kegerator, which is small enough to sit on your countertop while taking up minimal space. They are designed to store and dispense beer from 5-Liter Kegs, which come in a variety of offerings.

EdgeStar Mini Kegerator

Mini-kegerators are perfect for people that prefer draft beer over bottled, but don’t like to commit to multiple gallons of a single beer. A mini-kegerator gives you the power to pour yourself a fresh pint as you would get at a bar, but from the comfort of your own home and without the premiums involved. Also, mini kegerators are great for European beer enthusiasts as many popular Eurobrews are sold in 5-liter kegs. These mini kegs can be tapped easily without having to purchase a European-specific coupler to fit the keg, as you would with a full-size keg.

It’s also important to be aware of the fact that mini kegs come in pressurized and non-pressurized varieties. Pressurized kegs come filled with the gas necessary to dispense the beer. All mini kegerators are able to dispense from pressurized kegs, making them the more convenient option. However, some of your favorite beers may only be offered in non-pressurized kegs, in which case you will need to make sure that your mini-kegerator has the ability to dispense from them. These mini kegerators will specify if they have the ability or will sometimes offer an additional kit that allows you to infuse gas directly into the keg. This gas cartridge system will add the perfect amount of gas to your keg on the spot, and will provide the pressure necessary to serve beer from the previously non-pressurized keg.

Commercial Kegerators

The biggest, and typically most expensive, breed of the bunch is the commercial kegerator. These are kegerators designed specifically for use in commercial settings, including bars, restaurants, and grocery stores. They are constructed of the highest quality materials and feature a sturdier design to withstand high usage levels.

True Commercial Kegerator

Unlike many residential kegerators, commercial units often employ a different cooling method known as forced air cooling. Instead of using a cold plate within the refrigeration chamber to maintain internal temperatures, a fan forces cold air throughout the space. The result is a more evenly cooled space that allows all contents to reach and maintain the same temperature. With forced air cooling nothing within the kegerator can come in direct contact with cooling components. With cold plate cooling, you can get cold spots, where kegs that are closer to the plate will have a lower temperature.

Commercial kegerators are definitely not for everyone, as they carry a higher price tag, and can take up a lot more space. Additionally, larger commercial units are intended for a single point installation, and cannot be easily moved from place to place. However, they are ideal for businesses and even residential applications that demand the absolute best performance capabilities and durability.

While there are a tremendous amount of options and aspects to consider when picking your perfect kegerator, just remember that it’s a kegerator! I’m willing to bet that it’s one of the purchases in life you’ll be most excited to shop for. When you find the perfect fit and pour that first pint, be sure to raise it not only to your friends, but to your delicious draft beer-dispensing kegerator, too!

 

Host a UFC Viewing Party at Home

UFC Jones v EvansWhether you’re a hardcore UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship)  and MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) fight fan that religiously watches each event (like me), or you’re just wanting to have some friends over to watch an anticipated fight card, you may be looking for ideas to spice up your viewing party. With the UFC now on FX, you can host one of the free events if you’re new to the sport, or you can purchase the next Pay-Per-View event, UFC 145 Jones vs. Evans.

The essentials to host a fight at your home are food or snacks, beer, wine, or beverage of choice, a large HDTV and plenty of seating.

I’ve hosted a good number of events and have been to many hosted at friends’ homes. Besides these essentials, you’ll need great company to enjoy them with you!

For food or snacks, I personally love to grill if the weather permits. Then friends will bring other side items to add to the mix. You could also order pizza, have chips and salsa, and some sweets for later Outdoor Televisionin the evening. If I could put together my ideal viewing party, I would love to set up a backyard/patio living space, equipped with  outdoor furniture, a nice grill (maybe even with a stove on the side),  an outdoor TV and an outdoor beverage refrigerator. If the weather isn’t as friendly (especially for the big New Year’s event they have each year), you could get a griddle for your gas stove. Turkey sliders have been a hit at past events, since they’re easy to eat, and they come out great on a griddle as opposed to a normal frying pan.

The next essential piece for a UFC viewing party is beer, and plenty of it! If you plan on hosting a UFC event on more than one occasion (I tend to rotate with friends), a great addition to your home is aMini Kegerator kegerator, that way your beer is cold and on tap. Kegerators come in different sizes and for different uses. If you don’t want to take up too much space in your home, but like the idea, you could get a mini kegerator! Another alternative that works well if your friends usually bring their own beer is to purchase a beer cooler for your living room. Or maybe you and your friends prefer wine or margaritas… in that case you could get a wine refrigerator or margarator. WTF is a margarator you ask? We wrote about it here. An ice maker may also be an essential addition if you plan to have other drinks, and your fridge doesn’t produce enough. Whatever your preference is, it helps to be ready to entertain your guests.

Besides food and beverages, it’s essential that your television and seating is large enough to accommodate the number of people you plan to have over. I know from personal experience that standing, sitting on the floor, or struggling to see the TV amongst all the guests can be a buzz kill. Having an HDTV makes the experience even better!

Who’s your pick for Jones vs. Evans? Let us know by commenting below!

 

Outfitting Your Man Cave

The Man Cave.

A simple yet misunderstood idea, the beginning origins of the man cave can be traced back over centuries. Many famous men throughout history had their own versions of man caves: Thomas Jefferson had his study at Montecello, Ernest Hemingway had a writing room and even Winston Churchill would be seen with a brush in hand at his very own art studio.

For a long time, men have needed these solitary confines to take respite from the burdens and responsibilities of everyday life. Today, many men decorate spaces inside their homes or garages to give themselves this much-needed area. The décor often reflects the things that these men hold dearly: sports, games, music, television and many other items that pique their interest. Outfitting today’s man cave requires thought into the man himself, and we are here to help. Here are the things men need to make their man cave great:

Kegerator

Undoubtedly the centerpiece of almost any man cave, the kegerator is perfect for dispensing brand name or homemade brews to your friends during game days or just when you’re hanging out. Kegerators can be installed in a wet bar or run freestanding; either way you set them, the result is the same: delicious, cold draft beer.

Our Favorites:

EdgeStar Slim Kegerator     EdgeStar Full Size Kegerator     True Dual Tap Kegerator

EdgeStar Slim Kegerator          EdgeStar Full-Size Kegerator          True Dual Tap Kegerator

Beverage Refrigerator

One of the best tools for your man cave is the beverage refrigerator, which can easily hold all that a man needs to survive. Able to store drinks like sodas and beer, as well as some food items that can last in low temperatures, the beverage refrigerator is an integral necessity to make your man cave even manlier.

Our favorites:

Danby Beverage Center     EdgeStar 120 Can Beverage Cooler     Danby Built-In Beverage Center

                            Danby Beverage Center            EdgeStar Beverage Cooler      Danby Built-In Beverage Center

Snack Machines

Something that is often overlooked in most man caves is an appropriate snacking machine. Men who forget this small but important detail generally have to leave the cave and head to the kitchen, which is a task that is unnecessary and avoidable if you stock your cave with essential foods and machines that can produce delicious snacks in little time.

Our Favorites:

Great Northern Popcorn Hot Dog Machine     Electric BBQ Grill Plate     Professional Popcorn Maker

                                   Hot Dog Machine                     Electric BBQ Grill Plate           Professional Popcorn Maker

 Wine Cooler / Racking

Wine collecting, tasting and drinking have become hobbies and pastimes for many men throughout the ages, and today’s modern, refined man is no different. For those man caves with a cultured palate, wine coolers are perfect for keeping your reds and whites chilled to perfection, while wine racks help you to store your collection during the aging process.

Our Favorites:

EdgeStar 21 Bottle Wine Cooler     Avanti 8 Bottle Wine Fridge     Wine Cellar Innovations 26 Bottle Scallop Rack

                              21 Bottle Wine Cooler              8 Bottle Wine Refrigerator               26 Bottle Scallop Rack

Deep Fryer

If there is one thing men love eating more than steaks, it is a deep fried steak. Men have deep fried everything from Oreos to butter, and modern technology allows your man cave to be suited with the latest in food frying machinery. For game days or just snacks, you can be sure to deep fry anything you want when you want it.

Our Favorites:

T-Fal Emerilware Deep Fryer     Bayou Classic Deep Fryer     Deni Mini Deep Fryer

                             Emerilware Deep Fryer            Bayou Classic Deep Fryer                 Deni Mini Deep Fryer

Coolest Bev Fridge Ever. EVER.

There’s nothing better than cracking open an ice cold beer on a hot day. However, there’s also something to be said about throwing back a cold one on a brisk day. Either way, cold beer is delicious beer. We. Like. Beer.

We at kegerator.com recently went on a quest to find a beverage refrigerator that could reach seemingly freezing temps without leaving your beer in ice cubes at the end of the day. Well, we were pleasantly surprised to find that the coldest (and coolest) beer refrigerators were actually our very own freestanding EdgeStar models: BWC120SS, BWC90SS, and BWC70SS. These units get temperatures as low as mid 30’s degrees F whereas others in the market only get to low 40’s degrees F. And not to brag or anything, but we have three different sizes so you can choose which one makes the most sense for your lifestyle and/or space constraints.

Yeah, we think it’s pretty cool (no pun intended) too.