Wanna Buy a High End Kegerator? – Co-op Your Kegerator Purchase.

OK, so let’s say you are a student – over 21 of course. Diligent. And you always do your schoolwork before indulging in BEEEERRRRRR at the weekly or even daily tailgate party at the peak of sporting season. Yes, you fit the profile of a High End Kegerator user despite your lack of dollars.

You’re going to need [WANT] a bigger keg – so how do you do it.

Firstly, I am not knocking the counter top kegerators/dispensers. They are great in their context.  They cost around the same as a basic food processor, they come in many different sizes and some only suit specific kegs.  They are sweet little machines you can fit into an apartment.  Easy to transport as long as you keep your little kegerator out of the sun or you will end up with a mess of foam and no amber fluid.

KRUPS and HEINEKEN B100 BeerTender with Heineken Draught Keg Technology,Black

Heineken Newcastle beers are easy to instal

Heineken Newcastle beers are easy to instal

installing-heineken-keg newcastle-heineken-kegs
This mini does the job. It looks cool. Performs well. All these little beauties are handy gadgets, affordable gifts and really, you could line up a few of these mini kegerators and that would be cool. But they are kind of like the Nespresso versus the Jura coffee machine. You don’t know that there is something better till you take it to the next level.

Nespresso - good coffee but do you really want all those pods in Landfill?

Nespresso – good coffee but do you really want all those pods in Landfill?

 

Jura coffee machine. Grinds, brews, foams, delicious.

Jura coffee machine. Grinds, brews, foams, delicious.

 

But back to the really important stuff: BEER.

I am now talking about the really super-efficient models that will go on and on, will protect your frosty brew for months and provide on-going *nutrition* without too much work. Many home brewers love these larger models as they protect that serendipity brew that just worked out so darn well. The pro style kegerators will retain the exact taste and deliver the best head of foam.

Of course, they can be fun as well.

The Barrel Kegerator – personalised and quirky – has a Kegco regulator, tap and all you need to pump that beer .

Solid Oak Kegerator made from a whisky barrel

Solid Oak High End Kegerator made from a whisky barrel

This one is a Mobile bar combined with a full kegerator to take your kegs to the tailgate party.

Most tailgate party fiends I know have a truck of some kind. But at least a vehicle that can transport a full sized, pro kegerator like the EdgeStar full sized single tap with a stainless steel door. It has castors which make it very mobile.

EdgeStar fullsized kegerator with castors for easy moving.

EdgeStar fullsized High End Kegerator with castors for easy moving.

My only advice is to stand it in a position where it can access some shade.  But I am assuming that its contents will disappear very fast at a tailgate party so no worries about spoilage. At home, for the daily imbibing, you can keep it inside in the kitchen, man cave or basement (which I am also assuming you have converted into a playroom for yourself and your buds.)

So I am ALSO going to assume you are not going to try to fit your kegerator into a Prius. Well, if that is the case, you can invest in one of these cute little attachments to hook up at the back.

Hybrid Trailer Co. Vacationer with Spare Tire and Cooler Tray – Enclosed Cargo Trailer, 990 lbs. Gross, 30 cu/ft. – Biker Black

Perfect way to transport your tailgate party gear.

Perfect way to transport your tailgate party gear including your High End Kegerator .

 

This is a great accessory and of course, make sure to have the correct trailer hitch for your vehicle. You can input your vehicle model on their site and they advise on what you need.  I have a friend who swears by this one – she has an ice cream-selling business and it holds all her freezers as she flits from farmers’ market to tailgate parties to dish out her products. Yes, she has margarita ice creams.

Kegerator transporting made easy

High End Kegerator transporting made easy

You’ll soon see that buying this trailer will be a good investment.

But back to the matter in hand. More BEER.  Perhaps the decision to buy a kegerator in a cooperative venture with friends is for you. Share the cost, share the fun. First step is to gather together your tailgate party core group – your regular best buddies and talk this through. Set a budget. You can decide how much each friend can contribute and also talk through the transport and storage. Don’t make the co-op too big – the more the members, the more the potential for a split. Keep this to your very closest and best buds. Talk about what will happen when a friend wants to cash out. Is it allowed? Do the others just take over the kegerator in that case? Anyway, set the terms, write them down and have a simple signed document setting out the terms. Just don’t leave any reason to bicker over a bar staple.

Let’s say you have 5 friends and they each put in around $200. That gives you a budget of around $1000 counting taxes and a cleaning kit.

So what should you buy? In no particular order, here are some examples of good purchases for a bunch of friends. When you break these down into their ‘shares’, each person would not have to pay much at all.

Edgestar Ultra Low Temp Home Brew Dual Tap Kegerator with Kegs – Black

This is the same as the one pictured above but with dual taps, something I personally prefer as it gives the option of running a faster bar but also you can put two different beers in there  – eg. dark and light ales.

EdgeStar Dual Taps Kegerator

EdgeStar Dual Taps Kegerator

 

Two taps on the EdgeStar Kegerator

Two taps on the EdgeStar Kegerator

First principle is exemplified by the words ‘dual tap’ in this description. Two taps are double the fun. Note that it has only one regulator so you can’t turn off one tap line – they both need to be open for full function.

As it converts to a normal fridge, it is versatile. Or when Mom comes to visit you can put a casserole in there to camouflage the beers.

A word of caution is that some of these do not accept rubberized Miller kegs or Coors.

The external dimensions (including the draft tower): 48 1/2″ H x 20 1/10″ W x 24.

13/16″ D

Taps can be changed for your choice of team colors or something else expressive.

GIants tap for kegerator

GIants tap for kegerator

The kegerator is rated as a very cold level of chill which is desirable in a kegerator.  Ultra low is no lie

The quality of the parts is high – Edgestar have had some problems with this in the past and have lifted their game as the demand for kegerators has also lifted the standard of market offerings.

Note that the kegs supplied are reconditioned and empty ball lock kegs and they hold up to a standard ½ barrel.  If you’re too lazy or buzzed to calculate how many beers that it, I can tell you a 1/2 -barrel gives you around 165 beers. That’s a lot better than the counter-top models. Don’t be alarmed if your kegerator arrives without the kegs. They are likely to be shipped separately to keep the weight down.

It is a very heavy, solidly engineered kegerator and you will need a couple of burly guys to shift it in the event that you will be taking it on site to your tailgate party. I suggest mounting it onto your trailer and leaving it there all season long.
Notes re holding the temperature though – if you stand it in the sun, it will lose its ability to cool and foamy beer is the result. I always put these into a shady place and some cover (even a canopy) is a help. They are not really made for outdoors but I have friends who have strained this to the max with OK results.

Most kegerators whether high end kegerators or cheap versions can give off loud gassy pops from time to time. This can be annoying, kind of like the ker-chung of the ice-maker in a domestic fridge.

In your kit, everything you need is supplied. Before you order, check out the kegerator installation video here as this is quite illuminating. You will need to scroll down to it.

There is a stainless steel floor plate included.

If you watch a few of these videos, you can make sure there are no parts left over at the end of installation.

A backup regulator is also recommended.

Taprite T752HP Two Product Dual Pressure Kegerator Co2 Regulator

Taprite regulator for kegerator

Taprite regulator for kegerator

This one is suitable for a dual tap model though you can find one with one regulator only here. It has a micron filter to keep all the contaminants out and if you get one and find it doesn’t fit, it is just a matter of drilling a second hole for installation. The dual regulator makes pulling a beer very professional.

And a cleaning kit:

Taprite Kegerator Cleaning Kit

Taprite Kegerator Cleaning kit

Taprite Kegerator Cleaning kit

Clean the lines every time you change the keg for best beer!

Our motto: ‘Cleanliness is next to beeriness.’

Two taps not enough for your killer thirst?

Then go for three!

EdgeStar Full Size Triple Tap Built-In Kegerator – Black and Stainless Steel

EdgeStar Full Size Triple Tap Built-In Kegerator - Black and Stainless Steel

EdgeStar Full Size Triple Tap Built-In High End Kegerator – Black or Stainless Steel

Featuring front ventilation, forced-air refrigeration, air-cooled beer tower with NSF approved draft components, this model, the Edgestar KC7000SSTRIP is a great tailgate party starter …. and continuer. The beer goes on and on.
Elegant stainless steel finished door with black sides and 4 heavy duty casters to make it mobile, this would probably suit most co-op buyers. A bit pricier than the previous model but you get more for your money.  A great choice for a co-operative venture between you and your buds.

I am all about a quality end product and this model has the sleek, finished look of professional bar equipment.

While it is not really for outside use you can, with care, transport it to your tailgate party site, set it up in a sheltered place out of the sun and heat. You definitely would need a trailer to get it there (or a Silverado and a ramp to get it on there and some kind of generator or battery to run it. We have discussed all these add-ons previously and our experience with the Duracell battery pack has been good to date.

The best thing about this high end kegerator is that it is well lit inside (cool LED lighting that will not heat up the high end kegerator) which makes it easy to change kegs. It is professionally fitted out in all its components.

Included are a 5lb Luxfer CO2 tank, 1 dual gauge regulator, three Sankey D stainless steel couplers, three beer lines (buy more of these as you will need them), three red CO2 lines and one stainless steel, air-cooled, triple tap beer tower with three stainless steel faucets, the handles of which can be adapted to your own design. The integrated thermostat makes it easy to control the temperature.  No more wastage through that foamy first beer pour! This system eliminates hot spots and the forced air keeps the chill circulating evenly.

The temperature range is 32-60°F.

The top has a guard rail (again, stainless steel) to stop your glasses falling off, and all you need is a few bar towels to look like a pro draft beer-puller.

It can stand alone or you can build it into a bench/counter in the man-cave. The caster wheels make it easy to drag out for cleaning. It also features a reversible door swing in case you prefer it to open a certain way to match existing furniture or room layout.

This keg refrigerator can fit most full size half barrel kegs, pony kegs or slim quarter kegs and up to two sixth barrel kegs.

I don’t have a preference between these two – it really just comes down to personal affordability and how many Benjamins your beer co-op can pull out of their wallets.
I would advise that the beer rules be clearly stated in regard to cleaning and maintenance as well as replenishing not just kegs but the CO2.

Read anyone who strays off the path the riot act!

After all, ‘all’s fair in love and beer’.

 

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Perfect Portable Electric Refrigerator-Freezer Coolers For Tailgate Parties

The Perfect Portable Electric Refrigerator-Freezer Cooler for tailgate parties

A few of my readers asked me why I haven’t covered the small but amazing range of perfect portable electric refrigerator-freezer coolers currently on the market.  They make their own ice on site, keep everything very cold and are ideal for keeping salads, perishables, pre-cooked meats and frozen margaritas at the perfect temperature.  Well, I guess I just wasn’t sure there was a market for them.  But I was wrong.  There’s a whole community out there that travels from state to state following games all over the country.  They are not all gray nomads either but diehard fans .and they need somewhere to stash their cream for the morning coffee.  At the tailgate party, these portable electric refrigerator/freezer coolers plug straight into the RV, Silverado  or whatever your ride is.

Anyway, thanks to my buds allowing me access to theirs and sharing their experience, I whittled down the range to the top three options.

Turned out, this was the most popular and while we are looking at the largest size, there are smaller models which we have listed for you.

Dometic CFX – 95DZUS Dual Zone Portable Electric Refrigerator-Freezer – 94.5 liters.

Dometic portable electric refigrerator/freezer cooler.

Dometic portable electric refrigerator-freezer cooler.

This is a 94.5 liter model and has two compartments, each with its own thermostat (-8F to +50F) covering fridge and freezer independently.  The power source is 120 VAC (wall plug) or 12VDC (cigarette lighter) or 24 VDC current.  It is the model that my pal Seth brings on the back of his Silverado along with his kegerator. It’s especially good when you need to drive to interstate games as you can avoid eating in restaurants and therefore, save your greenbacks for betting on fantasy football or even better, your cornhole games at the tailgate party.

But I digress.

The selling points of the Dometic Electric Portable Refrigerator-Freezer are as follows:

It’s big.  Like a small home fridge but packs a powerful punch being colder than, say, a bar fridge.  It makes real ice.  Speaking of which, a hint to keep it really cold when you are parked and to avoid drawing battery power, keep some bottles of iced water in the ice compartment.  These will keep the unit cold for a day or more. Otherwise, a 12 volt battery will keep the unit running longer.

Be sure to cool food or drink before putting into the freezer/fridge and you will preserve the low temperatures.

It’s absolutely terrific when you are in a remote area away from stores and ice machines as you can make heaps of it in this great freezer.  Fishermen, it’s for you to put your massive catch in as well.

Runs very quietly.

Very solid state.  I would recommend the insulated cover for it just to give it that extra care from dings.  You can then heave it in the back of your truck with a clear conscience.

Tested on ice-cream, popsicles and frozen peas and they stayed frozen for days.  There was no defrosting/re-freezing at all.  Performs well in the desert with high exterior temperatures. So it will work if say, you have to travel to Phoenix or Vegas for a game.  There’s little or no heat given off by the compressor so you can actually pack it quite tightly without the usual refrigerator air gaps required but do leave a space around the fan for the heat to escape.

Weighs 70 pounds.

Dimensions: 38.8 x 21.9 x 19.7 inches.

In conclusion, the owners of any of the range of Dometic portable refrigerator/freezer coolers love them whether for camping or tailgating and for the homegaters, this is a great second fridge as the power drag on your home electricity is very low.

The Dometic portable refrigerator/freezer coolers come in a variety of size options.

26 liters, 35 liters, 38 liters, 46 liters, 61 liters, as well as this one of 94.5 liters so there is one for all uses. Seems to make sense to buy the biggest when you shop at Costco for a heap of pre-made food for those occasions when you are not bothering with the whole BBQ thing.

Dometic CFX-CVR95DZ Insulated Protective Cover (for CFX-95DZUS)

Dometic Insulated Protective cover for portable freezer

Dometic Insulated Protective cover for portable freezer

The cover is sturdy and well manufactured and I really recommend buying one to give your portable electric refrigerator/freezer a longer life. It keeps the dust, dirt and sand out while you are traveling even if you just have it on the back of your pickup truck.  And on that note, it has eyelets so that you can anchor it to your truck for transporting. For tradesmen and engineers, or anyone who has to travel to the wilderness for work, this is a must. Then use it for the tailgate party when there’s a game …

Another popular portable electric refrigerator-freezer cooler

The ARB 10800782 82 quart fridge freezer

This portable electric refrigerator/freezer cooler is solid state – a combo of metal and plastic designed to keep the weight down.  It weighs in at 50 pounds empty.  You should be able to fit 90 beer cans or the equivalent in it.

The ARB features an automatic battery protection system that prevents car battery rundown when your vehicle is stationary.  Set it to when you want it to turn off and it does that automatically.

It runs quietly and again, better if you leave an air gap for the fan to breathe through.

Temperature wise, it is steady and cold and will retain that temperature for hours even when unplugged due to its insulated design.  Excellent for tailgating as its large interior will accommodate a very large array of food and drink.

You can run it on freezer or fridge mode depending on what you want to keep cool.

Advice from users includes getting a lead with 2 pronged 12 V plug rather than the cigarette lighter style plug but this is if you are taking an RV to the tailgate party and using the ARB there.  Otherwise, the cigarette lighter is fine with #8 wire.

It is a little smaller than the  Dometic but for its price it is good value and an efficient and reliable portable refrigerator/freezer cooler.  The other difference is that with the Dometic, you have the two thermostats and can use two temperatures – freeze or cool.

There are several different sizes available – 37 quart, 50 quart, 63 quart, 78 quart and this one, the 82 which is my preference though it really depends on which size portable refrigerator-freezer fits your tailgate party kit and transport.

The ARB 10900015 transit bag for ARB 82 quart portable refrigerator-freezer

 

ARB Portable Refrigerator:Freezer transit bag

ARB Portable Refrigerator-Freezer transit bag

As with the Dometic, there is a transit bag you can use for the protection of your valuable portable electric refrigerator-freezer.  It protects the appliance from the sun’s rays as well so that the battery doesn’t constantly kick in and cool the unit down.  This is designed to be used with ARB tiedowns.

ARB refrigerator tie down system

ARB refrigerator tie down system

These can be used to anchor the fridge onto the back of a pickup or other vehicle to stop it sliding around while being transported.  The canvas version is far nicer than the neoprene version though some users have reported that cleaning it will remove the colors.  My advice is never to scrub canvas and don’t ever use chemicals on it (eg. bleach).
There is also a fridge slider which can be bolted to your pickup but most users for tailgate parties don’t feel that these are necessary.  For 4WD trips, yes! But generally, the tie-downs are more than enough to get you to the parking lot.

Engel MT 80-U1 Dual Voltage 84 quart Portable Electric Refrigerator-Freezer 12V/24V/110V

Engel Dual Voltage Portable Refrigerator/Freezer

Engel Dual Voltage Portable Refrigerator-Freezer

This is the largest in the Engel portable electric refrigerator-freezer range and is solar compatible as well as being able to run on your auto or an independent battery.  It is top of the range, and a quality product.  Engel is well known to RV and trailer fans and tailgate partiers have been happy to discover this great unit.

Made from well insulated galvanised steel with heavy duty melamine coating, it is tough and marine hardy. Salt water? No problem. Drunken tailgate party dudes? No problem.

100% CFC free as expected, so you can care for the environment at the same time as keeping your booze and tailgate party food cold.

In the prepping movement as well as the tailgate community, this nice large portable electric refrigerator-freezer is highly rated mainly because it is so well constructed and also because of its low power draw.  Come the zombie apocalypse, your tailgate kit should be a lifeline.  Particularly a fridge full of cold beer.

Engel was the first name I ever heard in portable refrigerator/freezer ranges as Paul, our avid camper friend (you know him, the one who owns his own winery and wine labels) bought a second hand one, already 25 years old and he has run it in his trailer for around 8 years since then.  It has never failed.  So the brand alone is excellent and the execution lives up to the promise.

Basically, it holds just a little less than the Dometic reviewed above.  The comparables are around the same – a nice low power draw.  The solar connectivity is a good feature.

All these have a place you can plug in your smartphone for charging and that’s a real comfort. At the rate Wave sucks out power … well, that’s another story.

Anyway, the Engel also comes already equipped with AC and DC power cords and is so strong you can sit on it.

The side handles make it easy to carry but also are for anchoring in your truck so that it doesn’t slide around while in transit.

It does weigh 100 pounds when empty so you need to factor that in to the overall bulk of your tailgate party kit.

Note that at the point of sale, there are many short videos to help you decide what size Engel is best for you.

Finally, there are many lower end electric portable refrigerator-freezers on the market.  In general, these have a disappointing track record.  There are stories of the Engel being run continuously for over 20 years and I am not so sure than the cheaper models are capable of that.  Due to their low power draw, they are not expensive to run, so I am thinking that you will get years of great service from any of these three models outlined above.

Happy tailgating ! (And take them camping, traveling and prepping as well!)

 

 

 

 

 

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Best Novelty Drink Dispensers For The Tailgate Party

Well, heck, your tailgate party needs to be fun, doesn’t it?  Add an element of surprise in the way you serve up those drinks-other-than-beer.  Yeah.  There are some fun novelty drink dispensers on the market so check out these which are great for tailgate partying.

Here are a few ways to make people gasp at your ingenuity.

The Watermelon Keg

The Watermelon Keg

Let’s start with a keg made from the humble watermelon keg (or even a pumpkin).
Here’s how you do it –  The Final Touch Watermelon Keg Tap:

Cut a really neat hole in your pumpkin or watermelon towards the top/back of the fruit and carefully remove the pulp and seeds leaving the pith for stability.  I also cut so that the skin part of the hole is wider in circumference than the pith.  You can then secure the cut hole so that it has minimal leakage.  Attach the bung and tap as per the instructions on your kit.

You can use this novelty drink dispenser for margarita mix (take to the site in a heavy duty baggie with the crushed ice in the mix too if you want), or if you are using a pumpkin for Hallowe’en or Thanksgiving tailgate parties, fill it with eggnog.  Of course, you can fill with non-alcoholic drinks – watermelon, cucumber, iced coffee, cocoa etc. and these are always a hit with the young people. Or just try watermelon beer.

Watermelon beer, anyone?

Watermelon beer, anyone?

The great thing is that at the end of the day, you can just remove the bung for another day, (save that tap, obviously), put the dispenser  in the trash, lightening the load for the trip home.

Now here’s another oddball novelty drink dispenser.
Not 100% effective, but kind of fun at the tailgate party and you can prime it with the alcohol before leaving home.  Looks like a normal bottle of drink so …. I will leave that part to your imagination.

Fizz Saver Refrigerator dispenser for 2 liter bottle

Fizz Saver Refrigerator dispenser for 2 liter bottle

Fizz Saver Refrigerator 2-Liter Soft Drink Dispenser

The Fizz Saver gets mixed reviews but I kinda like the idea.  You can make it more leak proof by using some plumber’s tape (teflon tape) to tighten up the joints.

You can add the tap at the party or you can take it already attached.  Just test for leaks and you will be fine.

I am thinking you could put a tap into almost any oversized fruit or vegetable.  Pineapple is good, large marrows, canteloupes, pomelos.  You could stock each with its own juice for a really cool cocktail bar.

Then there are the Jelly Belly Draft Beer flavored jelly beans:

I can’t imagine why I have never noticed these in the store.  But they certainly seem like a great idea.  Can’t wait to try them.

Beer flavored Jelly beans

Draft Beer flavored Jelly beans

Then there’s a way to dress up your kegerator tap handle.  Such as this delightful dragon … particularly suited to some of those noxious home brews my friend Paul specializes in. From novelty drink dispensers to something for serving dragon’s blood.

Dragon Tap Handle

Dragon Tap Handle

Dragon Tap Handle

Dragon Tap Handle rocks!Of course, the only NFL team you could tailgate for would be the Barcelona Dragons but that’s quite a long way to go.  And you’d need to serve Tapas instead of a grill or mac’n’cheese.

This tap embellishment fits all standard kegerator handles and makes quite a statement about the brew within.  It’s made of strong plastic resin.  I found a range of these, more on a Goth/Hallowe’en theme.

But I digress – back to the drink dispensers.

All right, you asked for it: allow me to introduce …

Little Whizzer Novelty Liquor Dispenser

Little Whizzer Novelty Liquor Dispenser

Little Whizzer Novelty Liquor Dispenser

So here we have the veritable ‘a picture tells a thousand words’ situation.  All I can tell you is that it is battery operated and it is modeled after the famous Manneken Piss fountain.

Has a bit of an issue with squirting too hard and also some motor noise, but it is a cheap fun item for a raunchy tailgate party.

If you’re into Margaritas and have the Benjamins to fund one of these, check out the novelty drink dispenser to end all.

Margaritaville Mixed drink dispenser.

You can churn out the margaritas in an effortless motion, several flavors at a time.

Margaritaville Mixed Drink Dispenser

Margaritaville Mixed Drink Dispenser

This is a remarkable machine, everything at the touch of a button, easily cleaned and maintained and entertaining.  There’s an ‘I feel lucky’ button you can press which chooses the drink and strength for you.  A fun party game.  Theme your drinks in your team colors for an extra buzz.

There are 48 drink options (16 at a time) in this very well made appliance and it is so solid state that even a drunk can operate it.

You can choose which spirit to base drinks on and then put the mixers into the other canisters and it will create your drinks at the press of the button.

Tailgate Party games will be so darn easy with this amazing machine they will be twice the fun and so much less of a bar-tending chore. It’s kind of flamboyant in action, too and will certainly impress your buds.  They’ll want to drink more to see this thing in operation.  Really simple to clean up after the party too. The only disadvantages are that it doesn’t do the frozen margarita for the Ladies. Or the hair of the dog Bloody Mary for my Uncle Peter.

Check it out by following the links as there is quite a bit you can read and get inspired by in the manufacturer’s description.

There are also helpful videos on margaritavillecargo.com. 

Oh, I can’t believe we just went from a watermelon to a pissing fountain to a professional dispenser in one short article!

But talking about novelty drink dispensers is kinda like that.

Happy tailgating!

Best Kegerator 2017 For Your Tailgate Parties.

What was your New Year’s Resolution? Have you broken it already? ‘Don’t do this, don’t do that’? Here’s one I tailor-made for my tailgate parties and love of kegerators and it has nothing to do with ‘don’t’. Each year I keep it rigidly, never straying off the path of being true to my aim and my friends now have leaped on the bandwagon. Actually, I have two. The first is to find the best kegerator for 2017. Because, without the best kegerator, my second resolution is impossible to stick to:

Drink more beer, drink better beer!

But how do you achieve that without being stony broke? Buy an investment kegerator for your tailgate party, of course. One that is of commercial quality but for home use. We’ve updated our list of the best kegerators : a lot of these are priced really well on Amazon especially in the lead-up to NFL game season and as well, there are discounts at the end of the season as companies clear out last year’s stockpile.

Whether home-brew or off the shelf kegs in different brews, there is no better way to save beer-loving money by indulging your thirst for perfectly chilled malt and hops.

Here’s a tip: I saw on TV the other day that the start AND the end of the NFL year are both great times to buy a higher end commercial quality kegerator. The discounts around are amazing – some are $1000 off original price. There’s massive demand and inventory fills their warehouses. The situation drags on for a few months right through the Holiday season, Rose Bowl and then immediately after, there is a great clearance sale.  In February, for instance, you can start getting ready for the next season and can pick up bargains.

So, with that in mind, and the requirements of tailgate party site in the parking lot as your main criteria for beeriness (and the BBQ area/outdoor kitchen in your yard being second with the man cave as the third), here’s my list of the best of the best kegerators for 2017.

Best Kegerator updated list for 2017

Outdoor Kegerator 2017: Freestanding.

This is the kind of outdoor kegerator that has casters or wheels on it to make transporting easier. That can be home to parking lot or room to room.  Really, all you need to manage is to preserve the integrity of the temperature – keep it low, transport gently to the parking lot where you are having the tailgate party. Wrap it if necessary in a space blanket as well as soft material (flexible insulating foam such as hardwood floor underlay) so that you avoid dings. You can even do a white-trash fix-up and make a fitted cover using duct tape.  Hmmm, maybe in team colors …. Note that supply is limited.

Twin Summit Outdoor Kegerator

Summit freestanding kegerator

Summit freestanding kegerator can be used outside in shade

This versatile, commercial quality stainless steel-constructed and well finished kegerator is by far the best for the parking lot tailgate party. It features a cabinet made of non-corroding 304 grade stainless steel as well as a stainless steel door.

Roll it up onto your truck, pad it up with insulating covers and let the party begin. Note that it already has in its design three levels of weatherproofing but the extra cover would be advised. You can dispense from the back of your truck or roll it down to ground level.

It is suited to half, quarter or pony (mini) kegs and the size is 26 x 23 x 34.5 inches.

The twin draft tower also fits in standard cabinetry with auto-defrost and includes a fan to cool the compressor for built-in applications.

You can convert it to a refrigerator as there are shelves included. But really, who wants to do that? Keep it for dispensing that all-important Amber Food Group.

Be patient with learning the settings and before you dash out to a game with it in tow, run a few kegs through and note the optimum temperature for avoiding too much foam. ALL kegerators have an element of skill included. Read the instructions which come with it and remember that constant temperature is crucial.

There is a stainless steel tray to catch the drips and it is nicely made and finished and a really great accessory to your tailgate party hospitality.

You can easily run this as freestanding OR built-in, but the mobility is what attracted me to this model. They work well out in the field. (Remember to pack the generator – here is one of the gennies of my dreams!)

Honda Quiet Generator

Honda Quiet Generator

What’s In The Package?

Ships complete with all components needed to tap a single keg: CO2 tank, regulator, coupler, beer line, air line, tap, tower, cleaning kit, faucet, and faucet handle (keg not included). You will need extra gear if you are putting in more than one keg and a double or triple tap. (eg. A different draft tower).

Marvel 24 Inch Deluxe Outdoor Draft Beer Dispenser with Easy-Roll Casters & Built-In Drain

Marvel 24" indoor outdoor kegerator

Marvel Kegerator

Well, hey, this had me at ‘Marvel’ and I imagine that this is the superheroes’ choice of kegerator. Superhero or not, I can tell you this is definitely one of the best kegerators you’ll find this year!

Made for mobility, the non-corroding stainless steel Marvel 60HK-SSX-B-LR 24 inch model includes easy-roll casters, stainless steel mug railing and an efficient built-in drain system connected to drip tray for overflow beer. It has a year’s warranty of parts and labor and features a 5 year sealed system which makes it pretty solid state.

It stores half, quarter, or a sixth barrel kegs but when there’s no beer, the unique removable shelf-design converts to a full refrigerator. Yeah, as if that will happen! But in that case, the auto-defrost is really useful.

It is so versatile that it is classed as a portable, freestanding, or built in model suited to a 24″ wide counter top. In that case, you can use the simple height adjustment which levels the legs up to 1 inch to avoid that wobble.

It is designed for the 5lb. CO2 tank and features adjustable temperatures from frosty cold to 52F for dark lagers and ales. Marvel has also created a unique hinge system on its door that ensures that the seal is always reformed to keep beer cold and your energy costs down. No more slamming that door.

Note that if you use two 1/6th barrels, you will require the addition/installation of a double tower.

All the necessary tapping equipment is included: single draft tower, hoses, 5 lb.CO2 tank with its own regulator, and interior floor shield to protect the inside liner.

Height: 33.75″; Width: 23.87″; Depth: 24.5″

It weighs 140 pounds so factor that in to your tailgate party transportation list. Remember that some of the weight of the disposable containers for any beer you carry will offset the cost and size of this unit (except that you are taking it home with you).

Best Outdoor Kegerator 2017: Built-in.

EdgeStar Full Size Triple Tap Built-In Outdoor Kegerator

EdgeStar Full Size Triple Tap Kegerator

EdgeStar Full Size Triple Tap Kegerator

The EdgeStar Triple Tap kegerator is rated for outdoor due to the stainless steel heavy duty construction (cabinet and door which are above standard to resist corrosion). So you can build this kegerator into the outdoor kitchen and not be lying awake imagining it crumbling around your favorite brew. The door is reversible for convenience so that you can build it into an existing kitchen and reverse the swing.

All its parts are solid. The floor is reinforced stainless steel to provide a solid base for full kegs. It also has front ventilation which is another good feature. These built-ins are not good if they only vent from the back as they are often set into a stone/brick/concrete cavity and this causes temperature fluctuations. Cold at night, very hot in the daylight hours. This model has an adjustable thermostat with a temperature range between 32° – 60ºF and cool interior LED lighting. Due to a powerful forced air refrigeration system, cold air is evenly distributed all the way through and around the kegerator to preserve a consistent chilly temperature. This eliminates possible hot spots and guarantees a perfect pour with every pull of its tap. It has an electronic control panel with push buttons and digital temperature display. In addition, the beer tower is air-cooled so that it will not ramp up that foam during the pouring process.

Designed with a professional handle and safety lock, it is controlled by you, Oh Master of the Amber Fluid.

This is a commercial unit but well suited to the home and what I would call an ‘investment kegerator’. Ie. The more beer you drink, the more money you save, PLUS if you take care of it, it will maintain its resale value.

Four (4) casters are included if you want to convert it to a mobile unit.

The usual stainless steel drip tray, glass/mug guard rail and stainless steel top cover are included. Stainless steel cabinet and door; Draft components are included. You can switch out those tap pulls to ones of your choice, team logos, for instance. They just screw on. This one is awesome if you are a Florida Gators fan… But the Kegco Coupler Tap Lever is probably more practical ….

This is what you can fit inside:

  • 1 full size keg, or
  • 1 oversized beveled edge keg, or
  • 1 quarter keg, or
  • 1 slim quarter keg, or
  • up to 3 sixth barrel kegs, or
  • up to 3 Cornelius kegs, or
  • 1 slim quarter w/ 1 sixth barrel keg, or
  • 1 slim quarter w/ 1 Cornelius keg

Dimensions are 34 3/8″ H x 23 13/16″ W x 25 3/8″ D

It’s definitely perfect for an outdoor bar, man-cave say in a converted garage, home-gating,  anywhere you want to build it under a counter but it is also finished off in a way that to use it free-standing is great too.

Included are premium draft components to preserve the clarity of your beer.

1 x 5 lb. Luxfer CO2 tank, 1 x dual-gauge regulator, 3 x D Sankey couplers, 3 x NSF PVC beer lines, 3 x red CO2 lines, 1 x stainless steel triple tap beer tower, 3 x 304 stainless steel faucets, 3 x) black tap handles.

Best Indoor Kegerator 2017

Summit Triple Tap Built-In Kegerator

Summit Kegerator

Summit Kegerator

So you have a man-cave and you want to slot this one in next to your bar fridge. That’s fine. Or you want to roll it into the kitchen. Yep that will work. Whether you want it to be built in on all sides or free-standing, the design of the Summit Triple Tap Indoor Kegerator will accommodate your needs. I note that the feedback is not great, but the company does get back to you for any complaints and have modified their packing and shipping in response to these low ratings. Nevertheless, the Summit is fully finished so can be completely free-standing without looking raw.  It also will hold three Cornelius kegs or two 1/6 kegs. And this kegerator will dispense the contents through its triple tap system which is fully equipped. The chrome tower features three separate faucets which you can configure so that each tap line has a different connection — including various sankey & homebrew couplers.

The Summit kegerator converts to a normal refrigerator and has built in shelves should you want to do this. Flexibility is its strong suit, for sure.

Being able to dispense three different types of beers simultaneously is pure gold. The only caution here, and this is picky, that for the darker ales, the temperature should be warmer, so don’t mix the dark and light kegs if you are a purist.

It does have the option of portability with heavy duty casters. A 5lb. CO2 tank with regulator is part of the kit. There’s an adjustable dial control thermostat which is a bit old-school but reliable and easy to adjust. When it is empty, select the auto defrost and pack away for the non-beer-drinking season. Which doesn’t exist on my calendar.

Slightly larger than most kegerators at 24.9 x 23.6 x 34.5 inches.

It looks like a highly polished and finished black cabinet so makes more of a man-cave statement IMHO than the stainless steel but that’s up to you!

Contents:

  • 1 x 5 lb CO2 tank and single gauge regulator;
  • 1 x3-faucet chrome beer tower;
  • 3 x draft beer line assemblies
  • 3 x American Sankey “D” style couplers
  • 1 x cleaning kit.

A great indoor kegerator for the home bar!

Here are some handy tips I’ve put together for those who have found their best kegerator for 2017 but don’t know how to use it yet!

When empty, it is recommended that you keep the temperature between 35-38ºF.

When you brew your own beer you are paying less than $0.50/bottle – an affordable 6-pack would cost more than twice as much.

A kegerator saves you around 50% of a normal bottle or can of beer.
Good for the environment. Count up how many individual containers you are replacing!

When you are ‘learning’ the temperature adjustment technique, dispense a jug/pitcher of beer. It may be drinkable. If it isn’t, give it to the Missus for hair shampoo.   Or use it as snail traps in the garden.

No matter what kegerator you buy, I would recommend buying a spare set of beer and CO2 lines.

Bonus Round: Best Wine Dispenser (aka Winerator)

I have noticed at some tailgate parties that the imbibing of wine, particularly among the hipsters, has begun to sneak in. So why  not provide these people with a kegerator of their own? I did some research and… wow, there really is one!

Summit Wine Keg Dispenser – Wine on Tap System

Summit Winerator

Winerator

Well, who knew that winos would get onto the kegerator bandwagon? This takes those bladder-filled wine casks to another level entirely.

Can’t really vouch for the quality of wine that is kept in this kegerator/winerator/wine keg, but if you are constantly catering for a crowd of wine-drinkers, then this is a great buy, reducing your spend to around $3 a glass. A few cents if you are serving them Two-Buck Chuck. You can buy big containers of wine that fit in this little beauty from wine warehouses and even on line. A deal with a wine company to buy their vintages in carboys and dispense into a keg would be amazing. Consider it a different colored home brew!  They are so hot in this hipster town right now that event producers are buying them and dispensing the wine to their clients with massive markups.

Here are the advantages:

It protects the wine from light and heat.

Keeps a consistent temperature with great ease. White wine storing temperature = 45°F; Red wine storing temperature = 55°F

Saves twenty-six bottles per keg which is around 130 glasses.

The dispensing components have been carefully designed to be wine-friendly (eg. They don’t stain, corrode or impart flavors.

It is equally happy in the dispensing of champagne as it is with red or white wine.

Eliminates wine oxidation so it stays fresh (as in a bladder).

Stainless steel of high quality just as in wineries (Wine Certified 304 stainless steel dispensing hardware components).

It has been designed with barrier tubing and limits vibration which can kill a

vintage.

Internal dimensions: 28.5″ H x 16.5″ W x 15.5″ D

External dimensions (including the draft tower): 48.5″ H x 20.1″ W x 24.81″ D

Smart, black cabinet.

By eliminating bottles, corks, spunky labels and boxes and by using reusable casks, the use of the Winerator cuts down the amount of waste produced by you and the wine industry big-time.

Easily Convertible to a Kegerator too: Converting this Wine Keg Dispenser to a beer keg dispenser is simple. All you do is either replace the current tank valve or switch the tank itself to a CO2 tank and you are ready to dispense beer.

Buy the kegs for your wine from Key Keg. Buy the wine in bulk in a carboy from your local winery or already in a keg from these suppliers and more are being added as time goes by.

http://freeflowwines.com/

http://piccolawine.com/events/reserve-a-wine-keg-for-the-holidays/

http://vintapwine.com/

The latest trend is a Kimchee Kegerator.  But I think I will leave that alone. So far, Kimchee has not featured at my tailgate parties.

Samsung Kimchee refrigerator

Samsung Kimchee refrigerator

JUST FOR FUN here’s a link to 100 beer hacks to get you through college.

 

Best Beer-Themed Gift list For Holiday Season Tailgate Parties updated for 2017

Gifts are good, right?  But beer is better!  So here’s a list that combines ’em both into the best beer-themed gifts for a holiday season tailgate party.  I’ve been on the prowl to look for new gadgets for this year and some of our old favorites are still popular.

My list is in no particular order.  I would not presume to rank anything to do with beer as there’s so much to love in every item. I have been thinking a lot about Holiday Gift Giving and this crosses the peak tailgate party season, of course. It goes on for months. So if you are going to a tailgate or home-gate party, take a nice hostess gift with you and one of these little beauties will bring a smile to the face of your buddies.

Beer goes way back to earliest history when yeast was found to make drinks fizz and seems to be related to testosterone. OK, I made that last bit up. But most men appreciate, nay, LOVE, beer. It is the one drink that charms the world no matter whether in snow or summer heat.

Ultimate Sonic Foamer: This beer-themed gift makes beer taste great

Before-and-After-shots-Sonic-Beer-Head-Enhancer.

Before and After Sonic Beer Head Enhancer. Great beer themed gift!

The Ultimate Sonic Foamer was originally featured on The Tonight Show With Jay Leno not long before he handed over the reins to Jimmy Fallon. It’s really easy to use except for getting the beer to the optimum temperature. but if you have a kegerator, that won’t be a problem. All you do is put the beer on the stand and press a button and a finely calibrated ultrasonic vibration creates the perfect foam head. This vibration activates the gases to create consistent sized bubbles for the perfect beer foam head. You can buy your beers by the pitcher when you are out, take this battery operated gadget along and perfect that beer in situ. To avoid mess, you need to use a larger glass (eg. 20 oz glass for a 12 oz beer) so that it doesn’t overflow. It uses a frequency above the level of human hearing, so you not going to hear any unpleasant noise from it, especially after a few beers. The aroma of beer is released as the bubbles in the head pop to create the perfect aromatic experience in that foamy head. A neon blue light indicator at the bottom section tells you when it is operating.   6 AA batteries run it (not included).

Beer Cap Map USA – The original 177 beer caps

Great beer themed gift. Original USA Beer Map

Great beer themed gift. Original USA Beer Map

Here is an inducement to drink not just more beer but more different brews. Who wouldn’t love to collect 177 of those caps and plug them in to the template on a wall?  Savor the lovely brews as you collect.  Play tailgate party games along the way to speed up the collection process. The beer map measures over 3 feet wide and is a great decoration for the man-cave.  Home-gaters and beer worshippers will adore these.  Ohhhh, I want one with the entire world on it.  Great way to learn your geography, no?

Menu Beer Foamer – a beer-themed gift for cool beeraholics

Menu-beer-foamer-a-great-beer-themed-gift

Menu beer-foamer: a great beer-themed gift

There’s a specific angle and technique to pouring a perfect beer. But sometimes, you miss and the beer comes out flat or with soapy, large bubbles. You want a tight foamy head. Good dense beer foam will increase the taste, aroma and mouth feeling of the beer and the appearance is better too. This tool separates the foaming process from the pouring process just like those cappuccino foamers do for coffee-making.

The Menu Beer Foamer creates a consistent, crisp, bubbly beer and soft, dense foam just like draft. The foam is created in the clear shatterproof container while the copper top holds the foaming device itself – reminds me of the breweries’ large copper boilers.

Here’s how it is done:

  • Pour a 1/4″ – 1/2″ of beer into the container.
  • Put the top in place and press the button.
  • Pour the rest of your beer into your glass – gently and carefully in order to keep all those wonderful bubbles in the beer – and you will see the foam rising in the foamer’s glass beneath the copper top.
  • Take the top off and gently pour the foam on top of your beer.

Makers: Norm Architects. Dimensions: 3″ x 6.9″

Materials: Copper-plated Plastic, Battery Driven Motor, Stainless Steel, Glass.

The Menu Beer Foamer is a great gift for the beer lover because it makes beer pouring fun and is definitely a conversation piece in the Man-Cave. But what about the taste? Well, in blind tests, users said it tasted better than the straight pour.  And I suppose, despite being blind drunk, we can all be very discriminating about the quality of our brewskis. I think it definitely deserves its place in our best beer-themed gifts for a holiday season tailgate party.

Corkcicle Chillsner Beer Chiller – beer-themed gift and great invention

 

Worthy of best beer-themed gift list - The Corksicle Chillsner.

Worthy of best beer-themed gift list – The Corksicle Chillsner.

A simple idea – a long, thin, sealed ice block that keeps your beer cold. Even in the winter, you will know that beer goes warm, flat and tasteless if you don’t drink it fast enough. While the latter is not a problem in my house, I have some demure friends who like to linger over their beverages.

Just toss the stainless steel Chillsner into the freezer for just under an hour, then place it into your already cold beer bottle.

The Chillsner lets you drink the beer right through the device without it slipping down your throat, won’t dilute or pollute the beer, and ensures that you won’t have to stomach a tasteless, warm brew.

The point of it is NOT to chill warm beer but you can put two in the bottle to cool it down a bit.

Note also that the diameter is too large to fit into a Newcastle, Stella, Peroni, Bohemia or Negro Modelo, Pyramid Hefewizen, Redhook ESB, A Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’ bottle. OK, all the cause of research I have tested these. I haven’t yet drunk my way through every brand LOL but will do so and report any more that are too small.

Ice Core Beer Pitcher

Beer-themed gift - the Ice Core Beer Pitcher

Beer-themed gift – the Ice Core Beer Pitcher

These are a must if you serve beer in pitchers keeping your amber nectar frosty for hours. Just fill the aluminum core with ice, screw the lid back on, and keep in freezer till ready to serve. Don’t fill with water and freeze as it will expand oh heck you did that experiment in middle school science class didn’t you? SO maybe you could fill half with water and freeze. It’s low tech and therefore, really cheap. 

It keeps beer cold for hours even in tropical conditions.

Specs: The pitcher is plastic, the core is aluminum and here is the size: Capacity: 60 oz. Dimensions: 7 5/8″L (with handle) x 9 1/8″H x 5 3/8″W.

TIP: Don’t cross thread the lid!

Growler On Board – this beer-themed gift will save beer

 

A Growler Carrier is a great beer-themed gift

A Growler Carrier is a great beer-themed gift

Growlers can spill so this neat piece of carrying equipment is essential if you are looking for a spill-proof way to get back from the filling station AKA bar to the tailgate party table.   This can buckle three ½ gallon growlers in to the car and won’t spill on the car ride home. Just remember that some states ban the transporting of open alcohol in the car except in the trunk so this gadget is great for stashing in there as well.  That long straw leading from the growler to the driver’s mouth is just not acceptable. #drinkingwhiledrivingnotgood

It holds three standard ½ gallon growlers on the go or two liter swing top style – the ones with handles – and then you can use it as a drying rack by inverting your growler and stashing upside down in the space.

It’s made of low density foam so that it doesn’t add weight but has the same insulation properties as a foam koozie. You can carry it on the seat, floor of the car or in the trunk.

It’s a nice inexpensive tailgate party accessory again for those who don’t bring their kegerators to the parking lot. It comes in black, red and blue so you can sort of match your team. Maybe get a team decal and plaster that on to show your love.

Now here’s where the beer-themed gifts can get cute…

EZ Drinker Vest 12 Can

 

 

12 Can Insulated Vest is a great beer-themed gift for a tailgate party

12 Can Insulated Vest is a great beer-themed gift for a tailgate party

This is one of the best beer-themed gifts for tailgate parties in holiday season as it is a hands-free drink dispenser. You can supervise the ribs cooking on the grill, play drinking games, and wave your pointer finger in the noses of the opposition without slowing down the drinking.

Not only does it hold up to twelve 12-ounce cans of beer, and can be worn around your shoulder or waist but it keeps them cold as well!  Each holster pocket is insulated and it is perfect for tailgate partying on the move. Take it with you as you do the rounds, calling in on all those friends whose acquaintance you only make at the game. The adjustable waist belt fits a normal husky man-waist which may be great at the start of a decent tailgate party but afterwards you may like an extension or just sling it over your shoulder.

You can be Ambo not Rambo, toting that amber fluid under or over your jacket depending on the drinking rules at your tailgate party site. Heck, get two and wear one on your back!

1001 Beers You Must Taste Before You Die

1001 Beers You Must Taste Before You Die

Beer-Themed Gift: 1001 Beers You Must Taste Before You Die

The very best tailgate party games involve drinking beer. Actually, the best game of all is drinking beer! And, this book makes it legitimate. There’s a list to follow. Protocols. Categories. Criteria. There’s a few days’ work in here to make your way through the entire book, sip by sip. But I’m thinking that at a tailgate party, this could be a center-point of festivities. You and your buddies can sip like snobs or swill like slobs in order to work through the whole roster of beers.

The layout features critical tasting notes and subjective assessments that will help match the right beer to the right occasion. Is this beer light, crisp, and refreshing (good for a picnic), or dry, bitter, and appetizing etc. etc..

You don’t have to take the dude’s word for which is the best beer either.

Like wine, beer is a vegetable product. Hops are veggies in their own way. I’ve been trying to talk our local farmers’ market guy into having beer tastings. When he says yes, you are all welcome!

Anyway, back to the book. It’s really well organized, you can write your own notes on the beers as you sample and really, this would be the greatest tailgate party activity ever. You would never run out of choices because as fast as you finish this book and the beers within, there would be other brews on the market. Thumbs up for the book even though it is a few years old. An updated version would be beneficial. A great gift for the beer lover!

The Krups and Heineken Beer Tender – a great beer-themed gift!

Krups and Heineken Beer Tender kegerator is a great beer-themed gift

Krups and Heineken Beer Tender kegerator – a great beer-themed gift.

We’ve reviewed this before but I wanted to include it in this list. Imagine the look on your bro’s face if you gave him one of these for the Holidays!

For the tailgate party this one is very handy as it is possible to use it as a portable kegerator. Just make sure to keep it at a consistent exterior temperature and it will perform well. It is made by the team at Heineken specifically for their 5 liter Draught Keg, there are conversion kits available, allowing you to serve up any mini keg you’d like.  Follow the links at the bottom of the page and you will find a conversion kit for your preferred ale.

Fyxation Leather Bicycle Carrier (6-Pack)

Great beer-themed gift

Fyxation leather bicycle carrier for those guys with lumberjack beards

fyxation-leather-bicycle-carrier-closeup

Just as well Bono didn’t have this on the back of his bike when he came a tumble a while back. He would have added ‘glass cuts and smelling of beer’ to his injuries. This is a coooooool item if you are one of those hipster, new-age bods who likes to ride a bike to the tailgate party. Actually, sometimes, I put the bike on a rack at the back of the truck and use it to do the rounds of my tailgate party parking lot friends. Long ago, we established a tradition of visiting with them all through the course of the day and I generally take a 6 or 12 pack with me. Nice to be able to carry it on the bike in this smart container. It’s made of leather and has a handcrafted look. Made in Milwaukee. Support local beer industries!  This is certainly a great beer-themed gift for the holidays and really, you don’t need to have a beanie and a lumberjack beard, especially the ladies.

Moleskine Passion Journal – Beer, Large, Hard Cover

A Beer journal from Moleskin is a great beer-themed gift

A Beer journal from Moleskin is a great beer-themed gift

This is the journal for recording, organizing and describing your passion for beer, whether it’s lager, ale or stout. It has five themed sections and five tabbed sections which organize your beer glossary, pouring tips, glass types, tasting notes, home brewing log, space for your recipes, your cellar and your favorite addresses. There are also blank pages for your comments and 202 white and colored adhesive labels to personalize your journal. Cover and spine with glossy black embossing. Double expandable inner pocket.

It does not include beer goggles nor a cure for bleary eyes so write carefully.  The statement ‘I love you bro’ should not be used in this serious book.

Use this in conjunction with the 1001 beers book ….

It is a very classy gift for the serious beerophile.

BEER THEMED GIFT BONUS ROUND!

Gold Complete Beer Equipment Kit (K6) with 6 Gallon Glass Carboy

Beer Homebrew Kit with Glass Carboy a great beer-themed gift

BSG Beer Homebrew Kit with Glass Carboy

Some of you are home brew dudes.  If you are new to the game and interested in brewing your own beer and have the space and sanity to see the job through from start to finish, this is a good starter kit.   It makes 5 gallons of beer for around 50 cents a bottle or less. Full instructions are included.  I think this is an awesome beer-themed gift but you need to be sure that the recipient has the tenacity to brew. And it is CHEAP at the moment.

The Gold Homebrew Kit has all you need to get brewing and adds a glass carboy for secondary fermentation resulting in a cleaner finished brew and the kit contains True Brew Handbook & Kit Instructions, 7.8 Gallon Fermenting Bucket, 1 Lid Drilled & Grommet, True Brew Rack & Fill kit, 6 Gallon Glass Carboy, Fermometer Fermentation Thermometer, Small Buon Vino Drilled Stopper, Hydrometer, Bottling Spigot, Emily Double Lever Capper, 3 Piece Airlock, Bottle Brush, C-Brite Sanitizer 8-Pack. You need to supply your own bottles, caps, Jet Carboy/Bottle washer, a stand capper and a large stainless steel cook-pot for the brew. The hand capping process is a pain.

The kit also can be used to make wine.

I’m not a brew expert but have watched friends weep when their lack of scrupulous cleanliness has seen their brew ruin in a flash on a summer’s day. You need to read up on the process before committing. Or reserve this punishing gift for someone you really hate. Buy ‘The Complete Joy of Homebrewing’.  Note, if your brew is totally ruined, you can convert it into shampoo apparently.  Beer rinses were very fashionable once.  That must have smelled amazing.  Nuzzling up to the neck of a gal who rinses her hair in beer? Count me in. Don’t forget to grab a copy of The Complete Joy of Homebrewing to go with this awesome beer-themed gift.

It’s a very cheap kit and a good way to start and will make a great gift for the beer lover.

 Latest edition of the Complete Joy of Homebrewing


Latest edition of The Complete Joy of Homebrewing

If you want to complete the package, get them a decent stainless steel stock-pot such as the Bayou Classic.

Stockpile your beer bottles (the brown ones are best) and buy new caps. And make sure you sterilize them well with weak Clorox (a cup to a gallon) and then rinse well.

Anyway, it’s just a thought – your own beer may be the hit of the tailgate party or you’ll be labeling it ‘Panther’s Piss’ and drinking it for the alcohol rather than the taste.

Periodic Table of Beer T-Shirt

OK, so this is a nice looking T-shirt with a very witty bit of art work on the front.

It’s 100% cotton, imported with USA embellishments (the artwork).

Periodic Table of beer T-shirt - beer-themed gift

Periodic Table of beer T-shirt – beer-themed gift

Sizes will fit women as well as men.

Socksmith Novelty Crew Socks – Beer Taps, Beer mugs and others.

If you are the type who likes to give socks, check out this site and you will see beer-themed gifts a-plenty.  I think these are pretty cool as the wearing of colored socks is very popular for all ages.  Check’em out as they would be a good tailgate party uniform.

Kurt Adler Beer Mug Light Set

A  4 foot string of 10 light-up beer mugs, these could be fun for the beer-lover.

I will continually add to this list so keep reading.  As for me, I can’t go past the old triumvirate of kegerator, grill and smoker.  Or a new cooler with heavy duty wheels. So scroll through our other articles and I will hunt for some more fun beer-themed gifts.

 

Kurt Adler Beer Mug light set - great beer-themed gift

Kurt Adler Beer Mug light set – great beer-themed gift

Shop now for the Tailgate Party/Holiday Season style!

It is never too early to start shopping for the holidays and with tailgating season, you always need to think of the witty or clever gift.  A beer-themed gift is both. Stay tuned for more gift ideas for the beer lover in this long lead-up to Holiday gift giving (which is valid all year round through tailgating season). After all, a tailgate party, in itself, is the gift that never stops giving.

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Whaaaaaaaat? The New Red Solo Cup Is Now SQUARE!

Stopped dead in my tracks at Stater Bros. today.  OK, so this may not mean a thing to some of you but there is now a NEW version of the famous Red Solo Cup!  This new Red Solo Cup has a square, spill-proof base.

 

Red Solo Cup has a square base !

Red Solo Cup has a square base !

Hmmmm.  Does this mean that players of beer pong will be able to cheat?  No cups will be knocked over, no beer will be spilled (a good thing).  Oh and you can buy a trillion or so for around $75 so there’s probably no impact on the hip pocket.  Pretty much the same bargainacious offering as the old round Red Solo Cup.

Red Solo cup is square

Red Solo cup is square

Red Solo cup is square and BLUE

Red Solo cup is square and BLUE

What do you think about the new square cup?  What difference will this make to your tailgate parties?

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The Best Beer & Booze Accessories For Tailgate Parties updated for 2017

We’ve written a lot about the trials and tribulations of getting your vittles, beer & booze to the tailgate party.  One of my buddies says that instead of this being a chore, you need to use the exercise as a way of adding random fun to your game plan. OK, so we have been quite serious about our tailgate party equipment so far.  Technical.  Scientific. But you want to get straight to the point: What are the best beer & booze accessories for your tailgate party?

Beer and Booze Accessories are fun !

Smuggle it:

How to bring your beer to where it isn't supposed to be ...

Beer & Booze accessories – How to bring your beer to where it isn’t supposed to be … Secret Flask

What if one of you stumbled upon this site and want something not quite so somber?  You like to have fun with your beer and with your guests.  Of course, ‘fun’ is what a tailgate party is all about.  So here are a few things you could unexpectedly pepper your party with to spice up the day.  It’s just a list of nutty stuff that will make transporting food and drink to the parking lot, the stadium, the man cave, your buddy’s place or anywhere good sport is played (by others) easy.

Such as the secret flasks which allow you to take your ‘sunscreen’ wherever, whenever.  Might not be convincing at a night game though.

Don’t feel you have to buy the whole list.  Don’t use them all on the same day.  Just an occasional burst of craziness will do.  After all, timing is everything. So, here are the best beer & booze accessories for your tailgate party madness!

The iFlask – just like a real iPhone.

Booze and Beer Accessory - the iFlask

Beer & Booze Accessories – the iFlask

Here’s one you can’t make calls on but it will give you as much entertainment in a ‘difficult’ venue as a real iPhone.  Not sure whether the security guys are on to this trend yet.  They are cheap enough so that if you have to surrender it at the door, no sweat. It holds nearly 5 oz and has a built in bottle opener. Stainless steel frame and light-weight non-toxic ABS plastic.  No data plan.  Just a tailgate party plan.

The WineRack

 

Wine Rack - bring that wine to the P & T meeting and be done with it.

Beer & booze accessories – The Wine Rack – bring that wine to the P & T meeting and be done with it.

 

Here’s a novel and eye-catching way to bring the booze into the party, to keep it close to your heart, as it were.   You’re looking at a stunning rack … OK, it’s really a comfortable sports bra with polyurethane bladder which holds 25 ounces of your favorite beverage.  There’s a long drinking tube with easy-to-use on/off valve to control the flow and of course the enhancing effect is obvious.  And impressive.  And just to show you how new-agey and egalitarian I am, guys who like to dress up can use one of these.

It’s also super handy for those picnics held in communities that ban alcohol.  Who’s gonna risk patting you down for a booze check?  It’s all washable and comes in sizes 34C to 38C.  Not big enough for most beefy guys but the ladies can tote the beverages. A couple of usage notes:  test it with water prior to use (you’re gonna want to wash it well anyway) and if you find you have any leaks, either return for a refund or just remove the tap part on the hose and put a little Teflon tape around it to strengthen the seal.

But imagine the howls of laughter when Grandma turns up wearing it and sucks on her Pimm’s while playing cornhole.  Worth any amount, I’d say, not just the few bucks it actually costs.  In fact, you could buy a few and fill them with different liquids and pass them round the whole party.

Don’t overfill it or you could burst the bladder.  Just use a backup rack.

You can use it to tote warm fluids which would be handy in mid-winter.  Just remember that there is a health issue with anything dairy that is not kept at the right temperature.  And the visual pun of that would be way too obvious. Mamacita’s chicken soup would be more appropriate.

The Beer Belly

Beer and Booze accessories - The Beer Belly

Beer and Booze accessories – The Beer Belly

This polyurethane bladder looks like a beer belly when worn under your shirt (change to a larger sized shirt for the day, preferably a team shirt in “burly’).  It holds up to 80 ounces of any hot or cold beverage.  It fits any person up to 6 feet 8 inches tall and up to 40-inch waist – male or female. Yes, women can have beer bellies too…

It is easily cleaned and it is just for novelty use.  Seems a bit flimsy in construction but that’s OK for a few belly laughs!

Note that you need to drink the booze very fast as it will warm up quickly.  Not sure how you can combat that problem apart from quick and efficient downing of the liquid within.  OK for hiking but it’s not sturdy like those Camelbak bladders.  It also may take a bit of pre-washing to get the neoprene smell and taste out of the beer.  Probably better for spirits such as vodka and a rinse out with vodka will remove the vinyl taste fast.  Again, treat any leaks with plumbers’ Teflon tape.

Go Pong The Booze Belly – Concealable Flask

Beer & Booze Accessories - Go Pong Booze Belly

Beer & Booze Accessories – Go Pong Booze Belly

This one is small, only 750 ml. (a pint and a half) but if you resent the gouging at the concession stands for a beer, you can use it to sneak in your own brew.

Food grade materials so that will be a comfort to some but most people who want to buy this item aren’t really all that concerned with a few chemicals from a GuangZhou factory.

To use it, pour from the retractable spout.  It’s not a suck-through-a-straw model which is a mercy as beer through a straw can have its own problems and side effects.  OK, it’s a glorified beer bong in that case …

Test it before filling with beer.  Check for off flavors and flush with vodka (well, not much – but if you don’t want to waste the vodka, save it in a jar, put a vanilla bean in it and you have an acceptable flavoring).  If you have leaks, use the Teflon tape or place the whole thing in a large Ziplok bag.  Come to think of it, maybe you could just use a Ziplok bag.

Booze-holding binoculars

Beer and booze accessories - these binoculars hold booze

Beer and booze accessories – these binoculars hold booze

Believe it or not, these binoculars hold 2 x 8 ounce serves of your fave booze.  It probably wouldn’t pass a careful gate check and you definitely shouldn’t try this with the TSA.  I would class this one as a novelty item, stocking stuffer only and you would get one or two uses out of it before heaving it out.  However, if you are sick of waiting in lines for your booze at concession stands, it is very inexpensive, useful and if you are careful and can extend its life to a few tailgate parties and stadiums, you will more than pay for it in just a few uses by filling with your own beer rather than paying the inflated costs on site.  Plastic – so read the above notes on preparation and cleaning.

Drinker Beer and Soda Guzzler Helmet

Beer and Booze Accessories - 2 can Guzzler Helmet

Beer and Booze Accessories – 2 can Guzzler Helmet

The stock-standard cartoon boozer helmet with straws leading down to the mouth, this model now comes in five colors (2016) and does just what it claims. Holds two cans (be careful when putting them in their holders as they can tip over – you need to retain the balance),

It delivers booze in an effortless way, hands-free, leaving you to play your tailgate party games at the same time, thus doubling the fun. Homer Simpson would be proud to wear this cap. One size fits all.  You can order it in a range of colors. Unusual for a novelty item, it even has a one year guarantee!  Again, any leaks can be handled with the addition of a small piece of Teflon tape, that white trash fix-up staple.  So cheap you can buy one for all your mates. Where would we be without it?

Yeti Roadie 20 Quart Cooler

Beer and Booze Accessories - Yeti Roadie Cooler

Beer and Booze Accessories – Yeti Roadie Cooler

So here’s a little extra for you. Remember, most of us only go where beer can be overtly brought in.   Yetis are great coolers, there’s no denying that. And after all, what tailgate party would be a success without the conspicuous imbibing of a brewski?  So if you want to flaunt the best darn cooler in the world, this range should do it.  The  Yeti brand of coolers is pretty awesome.  They are engineered like no other version of cooler I have found.  I’ve been checking them out lately and it seems like today’s groovy vendors at farmers’ markets choose these to keep their products cold.  Then they go home, repack with beer and off to the tailgate party.  This 20 quart capacity model is a smallish one,  but is modular and really easy to pack no matter how small your car.  Yeti is fully guaranteed, beautifully designed and functional.  The Yeti guys have also created a heap of accessories to make the storage and packing simple and secure.  There are dividers, which will keep your food apart and easy to access, tie-downs to keep everything secure and even a Yeti bottle opener.

You’d feel pretty stylish kitted out with this whole pro cooler gear.

The coolers feature a special material which doesn’t sweat on the exterior.  They are a joy to transport.  Each cooler is rotomolded and tough to the core.  It is exclusively designed with Bearfoot™ feet which stops the box from slipping.  Easy to drain and clean after the tailgate party too.

Yeti Tundra 75 Cooler

Beer and Booze Accessories - Yeti 75 Tundra Cooler

Beer and Booze Accessories – Yeti 75 Tundra Cooler

The 75 quart model is outstanding and you can fit everything inside and it is wheelable but heavy duty so the wheels don’t snap off mid party.  Allow for the weight in your vehicle.  You can use it for transporting both hot items or cold including ice cream.  One of the vendors at our neighborhood market sells popsicles from hers and they never melt.

It is worth trawling through the Yeti range to figure out which one suits your tailgate partying needs best.  This one is solid and heavy duty. Just bear in mind the size of your vehicle and where you will stash it when party season is over.  But then, for most of my buddies, that season is all year round and it stays in the living room.  At worst, you can line ’em up and use them as a coffee table if you happen to buy the big size.  3 in a row.  Now there’s a novel thought. Or sit on them at the tailgate party.

Hydro Flask Insulated Stainless Steel Wide Mouth Water Bottle and 64 ounce Beer Growler

Beer and Booze Accessories 64 oz Growler

Beer and Booze Accessories 64 oz Growler

beer-and-booze-accessories-64-oz-growler

 

For some people, a growler is all they need to supply drinks at a tailgate party.  If everyone brings a growler, there’s enough for all.  There are some excellent designs on the market but the Hydro Flask is the best I have seen and really does what the company claims.  You can swing by your favorite boutique brewer and have it filled up with your hipster amber liquid and it will last up to 12 hours without losing its zing.  The key is to make sure your growler is well insulated and easy to carry at the same time.  The Hydro Flask is premium grade 18/8 stainless steel, double walled and comes in some cool colors fabricated from matte finished powder coating.  Note that you can actually keep water or beer cold for up to 24 hours (though you will lose the fizz a bit after 12 hours).  I take one of mine to Puerto Vallarta to keep beside the bed, to use for pure water for teeth cleaning and midnight rehydration and even there in the tropics it has kept cold for 24 hours.  Alternatively, you can fill it with some hot, strong coffee to swig at the end of the tailgate party for that all-important sobering up process.

Hydro Flask is an ethical company and donates 5% of sales back to charity of your choice.  Perhaps Alcoholics’ Anonymous ….

No BPA because there is no plastic involved and a Lifetime guarantee.

The addition of the Juglug handle is highly recommended.

Beer and booze accessories - Juglug handle

Beer and booze accessories – Juglug handle

Designed for the Wide-Mouth Hydro Flask Bottles and specifically the Flip Top cap, the JugLug handle makes it easy for you to carry your bottle with you wherever you go. JugLug fits 18oz Wide Mouth, 40oz, 64oz flasks or any other flask with a similar diameter mouth. (Note: These are placed under the lid of the bottle not around the body/neck of the bottle).  JugLug is not part of the Hydro Flask company, just a clever accessory company and you can use this carrier with other similar shaped bottles.

Here’s their legal disclaimer which I had better include just for the heck of it.

“JugLug, LLC is not affiliated with Hydro Flask or any other flask/bottle manufacturer. JugLug products are intended for use with multiple bottle manufacturers. All trademarks remain the property of their respective owners. Use of trademarks does not imply any affiliation or endorsement of JugLug, LLC by Hydro Flask or any other trademark holders, nor does it imply that these trademark holders endorse JugLug LLC’s products. JugLug, LLC does not endorse the use of any other product.”

 

Bundle-81 Electric Cruzin’ Cooler

Beer and booze accessories - Cruzin' Electric Cooler

Beer and booze accessories – Cruzin’ Electric Cooler

I’d like to find the guy who invented this little gem and shake him by the hand.  How great is this? Could it be improved?  Well, maybe by making an entire train out of it by attaching more ‘carriages’ (coolers) and filling them with beer and excellent food.  I have mentioned other mobile Cruzin’ Coolers in the past but the latest models are sublime.

This little beauty is not just for beer and booze.  Make every second one a heater and fill it with mac’n’cheese and other goodies, say, some warm tortillas, and the fixings for some tacos and your tailgate party is made effortless.  Some Borrego Barbacoa, frijoles, chopped onion, sliced cukes, shredded cabbage, limes, cilantro, pickled red onions and habanero peppers, tomatillo sauce…. Aw gee, I’m salivating at the very thought.  Then, my friend, you can park anywhere on the lot and ride over to where your friends have their vehicle parked and you can be the bringer of all things jolly and fine.  No more arguing over spaces in the lot before the tailgate party commences.

Don’t leave it sitting in the sun as the cooler part of it will be affected.  The manufacturers will guarantee that it cools to around 40 degrees lower than the exterior temperature so if you are tailgating during a scorcher, here’s what you can do.  Wrap the box in a space blanket or two at the party site, or put up a canopy to create some shade.  This isn’t an issue if you are at a parking lot where there is plenty of shade available.  Note that you can buy replacement batteries and I recommend purchasing a couple extra, keeping them on charge so that the party is always ready to kick in.

Party Pal Portable buffet table with beer can holder.

Beer & Booze Accessories - Party Pal almost hands free drink and food holder

Beer & Booze Accessories – Party Pal almost hands free drink and food holder

This is an innovative gadget that combines your foodplate with a beer holder.  OK, you CAN put sodas in there but we think a can of beer works well.  This leaves one hand free for eating and you can also use this on your lap, standing, sitting the lawn, on a blanket or other places where there are no tables.  It’s all BPA free and dishwasher safe – no more paper plates! You can get them in a large range of colors so you can match your team logo.  Great for the picnic set.  Strong and cheap ! They will pay for themselves in what you save in paper plate purchases.

Keeping it Classy Sassy Koozie

Keeping it Classy Sassy Koozie for tailgate parties

Keeping it Classy Sassy Koozie for tailgate parties

Beer Bucket in your Team colors

Beer & Booze accessories - Buffalo Bills Beer Bucket

Beer & Booze accessories – Buffalo Bills Beer Bucket

Got beer?  Put it in a bucket at your tailgate party – a bucket for every table.  Also, the bucket can double as a way to clean up the trash or just when the beer comes up again.

Ohhhh, no photo for that eventuality.

There are quite a few beer & booze accessories and we will update the list as we find more that are worthy of being at our tailgate party.  meanwhile, be cool and tailgate party on!

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Review: Best Portable Kegerators For Tailgate Parties.

One of the questions I am asked constantly is ‘what’s the best portable kegerator available that I can take to a tailgate party?’ It seems to be a perennial problem for most of my hard-partying, beer-swilling funster-dude friends.   They obsess over the details. Me, I used to be quite OK with slinging a few freshly filled growlers in a cooler and keeping life simple. After all, at the end of the day when the beer is warm and flat, you are generally in no condition to notice the quality of the brew. Oh, you are? Really? Well, OK then. The answer to keeping your brewski chilled, fresh-tasting and on tap is to transport it in a kegerator that you can set up in the shade (never in the sun) and fill it with a keg or two of your favorite beer.

There are not so many options in truly portable units so here are my three picks in large, medium and small size with a bonus improvisation that I recommend to the budget-challenged among us.

Let’s start at the ‘Go big or go home’ level. This assumes ownership or access to a Silverado or equivalent and maybe a canopy to erect to create shade over your dining experience. It also assumes that you will be sharing the tailgate party with a mob of your rowdiest friends that the designated driver is content to scrape up the remains of the party at the end of the day and hand out the hangover cures.

Tailgate Party

Raise your hand for the best portable kegerator!

Yeah, well that’s most people isn’t it? Here’s the best one on the market. It is also a little pricey, but you will save its price in beer in just one sporting season if you are a committed Beerophile. You may even qualify for an environmental warrior award in some states, say, Portland Or. – just by virtue of the fact that you will be avoiding using so many bottles and cans. Your drinking is doing the world a favor ….

The Best Portable Kegerator – High Budget

Some might call the Summit Stainless Door Portable Beer Dispenser the ultimate in portable Kegerators. For some it’s aspirational. To us, it’s just simply the best portable kegerator and it’s perfect for outdoor tailgate parties.

The Summit Portable Beer Dispenser / Kegerator (SBC500SSST) is a freestanding full size beer dispenser with a stainless steel top and wrapped fingerprint resistant stainless steel door. It is very definitely portable and has been designed using really tough casters on which you can roll your kegerator to wherever you want it.

Summit Stainless Door Portable Beer Dispenser

Best Portable Kegerator: Summit Stainless Door Kegerator

So for starters, you may need to invest in a dock plate, which can be adjusted as a ramp to wheel all the gear onto your truck.

BLUFF All-Aluminum Dock Plates

BLUFF All-Aluminum Dock Plates

This will make loading and unloading your gear an absolute breeze and really doesn’t cost much at all. You will find lots of uses for this nifty ramp around the party site.

The cheaper ones like the Eagle 1795 are made from heavy duty plastic but are still very durable.

But back to the kegerator. It is sleek and contemporary and will fit in with any décor so you can use it at the tailgate party, take it home and put it back in the man cave. By the way, in referring to ‘man’ cave, I am being in no way sexist. I appreciate that many women are great tailgate party givers and participants and have a beer-cetric corner in their mostly Martha Stewart kitchens. So please don’t judge me. It is just common terminology for a haven, a chapel to malt and hops. But I digress,

The Summit SBC500SSST Beer Dispenser/Kegerator comes with everything to enhance pulling a beer: a 5 pound CO2 tank, a Regulator, a Draft tower, a Sankey American tap which you can switch out for one of your liking, say a team logo tap or something cheeky or just one of those chalkboard taps where you can write the name of the brew, a top guard rail, wooden keg slats, drip tray and basic cleaning kit.

The SBC500SSST accepts half, quarter or mini kegs and allows you to serve ice cold beer on tap and the beer stays fresh for months. It is 100% CFC Free!

Oh, and just remember that if you are in the company of folk who recognize the name ‘Summit’ these are people of QUALITY. And if they recommend you upgrade to this little (or, should I say “big”) beauty, they are even more likeable IMHO.

The Summit SS Outdoor Serving Cart w/ Kegerator is probably better than the best portable kegerator in features and size. It outclasses them all – but, it’s also expensive! So, it can’t really take the place of the Summit SBC500SSST for poll position in the race for best portable kegerator. But, if you have the money… by all means – get this one!

Summit SS Outdoor Serving Cart w/ Kegerator

Summit SS Outdoor Serving Cart w/ Kegerator

The Summit company has a good name too and they stand behind every kegerator they make with a 1 year ‘parts and labor/5 years compressor’ warranty.

You supply the keg of your choice from the sizes mentioned – half, quarter and mini keg only. Don’t try to force a larger one into the interior as if you don’t keep the door shut snugly, you will never be able to keep the beer chilled. The result – one foamy mess. The appliance is quiet while operating and has been designed to run economically with an adjustable thermostat and regulator. I would highly recommend shelling out for a really great cleaning kit and build the cleaning regimen into your keg-maintenance routine. The other recommendation would be to make sure you have something soft (removalists’ blankets for instance) to protect it while on the road. I also would plug it into a battery pack to keep the cool happening till you set up at the tailgate party site.

The weight is 150 pounds without the beer and dimensions are 35 x 23 7/8 x 25 ¼ so you’d better have that Silverado as it won’t fit in a SmartCar.

Now let’s scale down to a small kegerator. This one may just squeeze into a SmartCar.

The Best Portable Kegerator For The Money – Low to Medium Budget

The Koolatron Beer Mini Kegerator

Koolatron Beer Mini Kegerator

Koolatron Beer Mini Kegerator

From time to time, you see an average-good appliance that has attracted some vicious negative reviews on selling sites. And other people have nothing but praise. In the kegerator world, the handling of the appliance is as important as the choice of which to buy. You need to keep them out of the sunlight, keep the lines and so on spotlessly clean and maintain it.

In other words, teach the designated driver some of these skills and most kegerators on the market, at any price point, will give you good service. Many problems could just be a maintenance/rough handling issue. Read the instructions and remember that cleanliness is next to beeriness.

So back to the Koolatron. It is neat, compact and eminently carryable. Will fit in the back of a car. My advice is to pack it in a box, cover that box so that sun doesn’t heat it up and also keep it plugged in during the journey to the parking lot. You can do that by purchasing a battery pack. We have a Duracell PowerPack and it runs for hours.

You will find this little beauty will keep any small kegerator chilled so that you will avoid the foaminess associated with a rise in temperatures. Handy as a light source and will charge your phone too.

But I digress …. The Koolatron Mini Beer Chiller is just 9.5 x 9.5 x 17.8 inches. It doesn’t hold a heap but gives you beer on tap. It has a removable drip-tray. It runs quietly and has been nicely designed with a bit of style to it. Only weighs 11.7 pounds without the beer so it’s a natural for a small car, small tailgate party. Will fit a mini keg.

The Best Portable Kegerator – Medium Budget

The similar sized Avanti 2 Mini Keg Portable Party Pub is such a great price (under $300) that everyone could bring their own when there’s large tailgate party happening. It may not be the best portable kegerator but, what it lacks in features, it makes up for in price! The Avanti is very popular for those who don’t want to make a massive investment in their kegerator and it will definitely get the job done without breaking the bank.

Avanti 2 Mini Keg Portable Kegerator

Avanti 2 Mini Keg Portable Kegerator

The company claims that you can bring the party with you wherever you go with the Avanti Portable Party Pub (CB350S-IS). Two (2) mini-kegs can be stashed in this little cutie and they can be different beers. Interior LED lighting with an on/off switch will light up the Avanti inside to make setting it up really easy. Some other kegs do not have this feature and it makes it quite hard to set up. Not for the Avanti which is a breeze! There’s a glass storage shelf to chill mugs/glasses and that is a really useful feature. The design is pretty nice and while there is a stylish draught style handle and tap for convenient pouring, you may like to switch that for something that supports your team. Hey, if you are tailgating, then dress your kegerator to match your party.

You’ll love the digital temperature control for easy temperature regulation. As it is really vital to keep the temperature chilled and constant, there’s a safety latch to ensure the door stays closed while you’re dispensing your brewski. Plus, it also has a see-through window to showcase and identify your beer menu as you can clearly see the side of the keg. It makes a good storage space for the kegs and so this means that when those ‘2 for 1’ offers happen at your beer store, you can take advantage of the cheap price and keep the beer a-coming for months. The CO2 regulator and pressure gauge may take a little bit of adjusting but all instructions are included. Do a test run before featuring this at the tailgate party.

Some users have reported problems with the Avanti. As with all others in this range of portable kegerators, I must emphasize that keeping the unit clean, out of the sun, plugged in at all times and chilled will avoid most of these dramas.

The warranty will ensure that any parts that may snap off (well, some of your drunken buddies may not be as gentle with the unit as you, the proud owner, are …) can be replaced by the manufacturer so keep all your paperwork handy.

Dimensions are 21 x 18.25 x 20 x 25 by the way and the input voltae is 115V/60 Hz. It weighs 35 pounds empty.

I think that this is a really great little unit suited particularly for a tailgate party where you may have guests who like different beers. You can give them a choice of two. At a low cost, this is a step up from the smallest unit but is not a massive outlay. A nice gift for that guy in your life as well. (Pick me, pick meeeee!).

Bonus round – the Low Tech Version: A Portable Growler Bag from KegWorks.

KegWorks Insulated Beer Growler Bag

KegWorks Insulated Beer Growler Bag

KegWorks Insulated Beer Growler Bag

The Best Portable Kegerator – Low Budget

From time to time, growlers come on the market at really low, low prices or in such cool shapes as to make them irresistable such as this cutie that looks like a real keg.

While it is not as awesome as having draft beer on tap with your own kegerator, it’s is a low cost insulted growler tote that keeps your beer at a reasonable temperature for the duration of the tailgate party. Sure, it’s not the best portable kegerator but, for some it’s better than the best of the best portable kegerators because it’s simple, ultra-portable and very convenient. You can buy a few of these and sling them over the back of your car’s headrest, but we all know that in most states of the US of A, this is a no-no. So here’s a warning to young and old, do pack these in the trunk of the vehicle as you cannot carry an open (or even refillable) bottle inside the car as it is against the Highway Code.

Stainless Steel Keg Style Growler

Stainless Steel Keg Style Growler

I know folk who take these when they go on micro-brewery crawls in the Portland Or. area, buying a growler or three on the way. One for each bottle of course. Anyway, they do keep the beer cold and require nothing in the way of power or technology. The dimensions are 7″W x 12″H x 6″D. Logically, you could sling a whole range of these into your picnic box and gently transport them to a parking lot where the merriment and beer menu will make your tailgate party memorable.

Ultimately, though, the beer is not a patch as good as draft beer no matter where you source it and the only way to get draft out on location is to transport a portable kegerator. The choice is yours as is the maximum fun!

Kegerator Review: EdgeStar KC2000 vs Keggermeister KM2800BK

There’s huge trend for tailgate party fans to equip their own homes with kegerators, setting up their BBQ/grill areas as a perfect homegating venue. Isn’t that the Great American Dream? Well, it’s reality for so many people now that I have a few reviews of the more fixed kegerators. The kegerator review below checks out the Edgestar KC 2000 and the Keggermeister KM2800BK which are both mid-range price-wise, both are single taps but fall into the category of small café size/big party size (as you will see in their specs).  They are well-priced and actually will save you money on your beer purchases over time. Since the beer stays chilled and fresh for up to three months, it seems like a way to go. So, read on for this very detailed kegerator review in which we compare the Edgestar KC2000 with the Keggermeister KM2800BK and find out which one is right for you!

Note that these are not for outdoors but in the man-cave or even the kitchen or just a bar area. They kind of both polarize their customers so I have set out to try to figure out why. In my experience, and after reading more than just one kegerator review, some people will either LOVE the Edgestar KC2000 and hate the Keggermeister KM2800BK or LOVE the Keggermeister and hate the Edgestar. Why? Yes, there IS a reason.

Kegerator Review: Edgestar KC-2000.

EdgeStar Full Sized Kegerator

EdgeStar KC-2000

Can’t for the life of me work out why this model, made at the same place as other Edgestar Kegerators, has received so much negative feed-back. All I can say is that occasionally in manufacturing, there is one lemon. One of these may be it. And yet it also gets glowing reviews. It is made with the same solid-state attention as others we review but somehow, there are problems with sizing and with the temperature.

I spoke with my pal, Seth, about this conundrum and what he said seems to make sense. The KC 2000 is specifically made for certain kegs that are listed on its specs and also are well identified by name, capacity, cup quantity and any problems you may encounter (such as the rim around some of the kegs in their designs). If you use this list as a guide (ie. do your homework) you should be quite safe with this kegerator. Another aspect he stressed was that all kegs need to be pre-cooled before use. Many users skip this step, but it is vital. Every time your kegerator welcomes its load of sweet amber nectar, the kegerator needs a 24 HOUR cooling period, no cribbing on the time, please, your lines and so on must be spotless and gunk free and the beer itself needs to be pre-chilled. It is pointless loading a warm keg into the kegerator as all it will tap is foam and that will overflow and waste beer.

It’s a nice, black finished kegerator and it does look darn suave in the man-cave.

Firstly, you must be aware that this kegerator CANNOT be used outside. It is strictly for indoor use. If you use anything apart from an outdoor kegerator I say, a BBQ area or even in the parking lot, out in the sun, you will compromise the temperature, your beer will bubble and froth like a witch’s cauldron and you will waste your brew. It will not be kept cold. Pure and simple.

However, in an indoor application, this is really good if you treat it right.

Owning a kegerator does require some dedication and logic. You must clean it regularly for a start.

Follow the instructions, check the interior size in the specifications sheet and you should be fine. Especially in regards to pre-cooling before any keg is installed.  Also use only the keg specified to slot easily inside – there’s a list of recommended sizes. For instance, the Kegerator KC 2000 specifies that half barrel will fit. So don’t go trying to fit a full sized barrel in it! The interior is 14.5 inches deep–from the condenser shelf in the back to the front edge at the door. If you intend using kegs with the additional rim, they will not fit, so make sure you select the keg to suit this model. Pony size, for instance will not fit due to the temperature gauge at the top and the hoses inside.

This is considered a mid-budget kegerator and, as such, is not going to be in the league of say, a Viking industrial refrigerator or your Miele imported kitchen appliances. However, it is engineered to last and another hint is to check it all over when you remove it from the box. Make sure that any screws, bolts etc. have not jiggled loose in transit. There is an element of assembly in owning one of these. I have not a lot of skills in that area and I sort of figured that a heap of owners may have just jammed it together. If you don’t put the door on right, then nothing will fit properly. Again, read the instructions and if you can’t figure it out, find a 10 year old child to do it for you. Never assemble while drunk. Drinking and assembling is a beer hazard.

Some reviewers say that the materials used in couplings and spellings are inferior. If this is the case, call the company who sent it to you and get them to pressure Edgestar as I get the impression the manufacturing company doesn’t have great people skills. Sounds like they’d rather make or use kegerators than deal with their customers. Well, that’s a crying shame as they have a large chunk of the market share.

So if you don’t have the courage to take all this on, what is the alternative? Maybe this will do it ….

Kegerator Review: Keggermeister KM2800BK Kegerator

Keggermeister KM2800BK Kegerator Full-Size Single-Tap Beer Refrigerator

Keggermeister KM2800BK Kegerator

Designed for home brewers or just regular beer drinkers, the Keggermeister KM2800BK is a full-size single-tap refrigerator. The makers claim it will keep your beer chilled and prevent it from going flat for up to three months. Bingo! Make or buy beer to put in it. (Be sure to check keg sizes). The stainless steel tower features a black and chrome spout that can accommodate a variety of different height beer glasses, mugs, Red Solo cups in all sizes, Mason jars if you’re a hipster or even bottles. There’s a chrome guardrail on the top so that you can line those glasses up on the counter-style top. The black exterior adds a very stylish finish and it is durable. Four tough casters will make it easy to move for cleaning or just for changing position. The temperature control is adjustable and of course, there are instructions on what temp is the ideal for beer.

This is labeled ‘full-sized’ so a full sized keg should fit. The specs say it accommodates a full-size keg, pony keg, or 2 5-gallon kegs. These, by the way, are enough for a decent party and there is a great chart on how many glasses you can tap from each keg here:

(http://www.kegerator.com/article?cgid=Kegerators&aid=keg-sizes-chart)

This is by far the best reference on the web for keg sizes and what each can deliver.

Note that this is a single tap beer dispenser and you won’t have the choice between beers.

As with all the larger models, the 2.5 pound CO2 bottle is included. I had a lot of specific enquiries on where to access CO2 for refills. Most areas have a dealer in gas and the best people, I find, to provide this service on a reliable basis are your paintball companies. The fill only costs around $10 at present. Cheap! Whoohoo, check out the paintballing and maybe you will want to spend a day splattering each other with something other than beer!

http://www.hollywoodpaintball.com/
Tempting ….. though it does take time away from the beer.

At 35.5 x 28.1 x 23.5 inches it is a large kegerator. While the item is around 80 pounds, when shipped it weighs almost 100 pounds. The shipping packaging in this kegerator is awesome. Double boxed with poly in between and small components and instructions in a small container, well-wrapped – so they don’t get lost. I liked the instruction book for this one as it is clear and has pictures that actually relate to the kegerator. It is a simple job to put it together. That gets 5 stars from me as so many units are damaged in shipping. The makers label this well with ‘This side up’ and ‘fragile’ so someone is taking care.

Be sure to invite some burly friends on delivery day, unwrap, read the instruction book together, christen it with a red solo cup of bottled beer, follow the instructions in regard to leaving it to cool down for at least 24 hours (many recommend 3 days prior chilling) and don’t add the (pre-cooled) keg of beer until it has reached Beer Chill Optimum temperature. Good hand-brewed (boutique) beer is generally drunk at a temperature of between 38° to 45° F as like cheese, it needs a little bit of warmth for the taste-buds to snap to attention. Of course, serving it warm as they do in the U.K. is not an option in my neck of the woods.

Just so you know, the unit is virtually silent. There’s a slight motor sound when you switch it on, but after that, it just quietly chills and serves the beer without complaint

Here are a few hints from other users. If you are opening and closing the door a lot, this will impact on your overall temperature. So don’t. But maybe you need to? A good idea is to add a little cooling fan in the back of the unit to circulate the air.   This tiny fan  runs off a computer, or any power outlet that is USB compatible (think chargers) or your computer or solar charger.

IO Crest USB Powered Desktop cooling fan

IO Crest USB Powered Desktop cooling fan

You can run the cable through the kegerator quite easily. Outdoor kegerators are definitely tricky in regard to maintaining optimal temperature but the fan certainly helps.

Some users like to customize by adding a small motor to force cold air up the tower for super-chilled beer which you can do with any of the manufactured brands (any that have ‘Ice’ in the title, for instance or those you purchase at Ralph’s).

The unit is only available in the U.S. at present.

You could add a dual or even triple tap conversion kit but in that case, you would be restricted to really small kegs which may not fit so I don’t even advocate a dual. Better in that case to buy a couple of small kegerators (under $100) on the side and set up your beer smorgasbord that way. Say, Guinness style in one and a Pilsener style in the other. You can run almost any beer through it Pyramid Hefeweizen, Budlight, Budweiser, Dos Equis, Corona, Stella, Heineken and more. Just check the keg size each time on the comparison chart or you may strike trouble.

When you do your first pour, don’t open the CO2 valve to the maximum. This will over-pressurize the keg and you will have a foamy overflow. With the valve in closed position, adjust the regulator to a position that is minimally open to begin with and pour your first glass. Take a moment to sip. If you ever accidentally over pressurize the tank, pull the pressure release pin on the coupler, release the built-up CO2 in the keg and start again. No problems! Drink another test glass.

Some people like to pour a jug of beer for the table. Pre-chill your jugs for a nice frosty drink and the head will be perfect and will stay for the life of the beer in the jug which, in my Grillstation area is an easy task. Those Corkcicle Chillsner Beer Chillers can add a nice touch!

Accessories for Portable bars and drinks

Keep beer cool with chill sticks

The tap handle can be changed to one of your own choosing, say a customized one or a team one for your homegating …

Don’t over chill by the way. Beer popsicles are not that nice. And hard to get out of a keg.

If you have ANY problems, no matter how small, call the manufacturer. Make sure that you have followed the advice above and read all instructions well. Be patient. You are dealing with some gases and temperatures here which need adjusting and balancing.

Note that with the Keggermeister, you can buy a stainless steel version if you so desire. The Keggermeister is shipped with additional parts and a dual regulator so that is a plus.

EdgeStar KC2000 or Keggermeister KM2800BK: Which is better?

Ok, you’ve read the kegerator review of the Edgestar and the review of the Keggermiester. But what is the conclusion here? They each have their avid fans, they each have their haters. It certainly seems that installation could be the main problem as the pressure set up is a little vague in the instructions. Do not run at full open position (on the CO2 tank. Just start small. After a few changes of position and a few foamy beers (yes, go on, you know you want to drink it!) you will find the right position. It just takes time and experimentation. If you are one of those rare buyers who received a broken kegerator, complain! Raise the roof till you get good service. And remember that cleaning is just a small price to pay for beer that stays fresh and chilled for three months.  The payback is that you will save 50% of beer money by using the kegerator.  Either one.  I have no preference.  They each seem to suffer from the same critiques and the users who are diligent about the installation/cleaning/setup rules seem to do OK.  So here are some videos that will assist you in that crucial set up step.

Video: How to set up the Keggermeister Kegerator

Video: How to set up the EdgeStar KC2000

Let the drinking begin!

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Kegerator Review: Summit Professional Outdoor Kegerator

summit professional outdoor kegerator review

Summit Professional Outdoor Kegerator

 

Kegerator Review: Summit Commercial Kegerator–Perfect for Outdoor Use and Made by a USA Family Company!

There are not too many USA made kegerators on the market and I went hunting for one that was well-reviewed. The lower end kegerators don’t really fill that bill. The upper level ones, more of an investment kegerator that some of those that really, you don’t expect to last more than one NFL season, have mixed results. But after a long search and a lot of questioning of friends and family, I think I have one you will like. And I’m proud to do a kegerator review of a 100% All-American company.

Summit is a manufacturer of outdoor refrigerators and semi-professional outdoor gear and they have around 600 refrigerator models in their range. They are as American as apple pie, so, with the outdoor kegerator specifically in mind, I took a look at this one they make. Felix Storch, Inc. was founded in 1969 and has been a leading supplier of compact, specialty, commercial, and medical refrigerators and freezers ever since. In its first year, they trademarked the Summit brand name to guarantee quality at the highest level. Distribution started in Long Island City, New York, before moving to the Bronx in 1983, where the company headquarters is now located with warehousing in Edison, Noo Jois-ey.

Summit is a private, family-owned business with no outside investors and that’s kind of great, isn’t it? I reckon that one of the grandsons has invented this smooth appliance. This is your perfect July 4th Kegerator!! Also perfect for Thanksgiving. Oh and Rose Bowl parties, Superbowl Sunday, Friday Night Lights and all that stuff. Mmmm, and watching soccer matches on the outdoor TV screen.

It’s been designed and made for the commercial outdoor market – outdoor bars, cafés that serve beer, resorts, beer gardens and … home BBQ areas where beer is king!

Remember the golden rule – most of the kegerators for indoor use need to stay there. Temperature fluctuations caused by the conditions in your yard will make beer heat up and foam too much and so there is wastage. Nooooooooo! You need a specific outdoor kegerator for the Great Outdoors. So, is it fair of me to include this in a site specifically about tailgate parties? Well, yes, as homegating has become the new tailgating. So many of my friends are tricking out their yards with BBQs,, upmarket grills, rotisseries, smokers, fire pits and of course, a great big TV. I think it is worth looking at the possibilities of adding value to your house and turning it into your own little touch of paradise – beer on tap whenever you want it!

Allow me to present the Summit SBC490OS kegerator and draft beer dispenser which has been constructed to meet commercial quality standards outdoors. It is set in a stainless steel, non-corroding 304 grade stainless steel with a matching door. With finished sides and top with a professional steel rail around the edge and generous drip tray, the Summit SBC490OS is equally suited for built-in or freestanding applications. I have seen these slotted into masonry work and others integrated into custom cabinets. This is a genuine full-sized kegerator which can readily accommodate standard 1/2, 1/4 or pony (mini) beer kegs. This gives you a cooler with a draft tower made for your beer whether purchased or home-brew. There’s a special fan to cool the compressor if it has been built in plus extra shelves are provided to convert the unit into an automatically defrosting refrigerator. Yeah, right, ladies, as if I will be allowing that to happen. You won’t be keeping your designer salads and tiramisu in my kegerator.

You can actually customize this kegerator to some degree. For instance, you can request a diamond-plate door to give it a cool industrial design. This is the great thing about buying a locally made product. The Summit company has a good name and they stand behind every kegerator they make. (I don’t mind them standing behind my kegerator as long as they just keep quiet don’t demand too much beer …).

The list of inclusions covers all draft beer drinking eventualities. You get the CO2 tank, a regulator, a coupler, beer and air lines, a tap, a basic cleaning kit, a tower, faucet and faucet handle (which you can convert and customize).   You supply the keg of your choice from the sizes mentioned – half, quarter and mini keg only. Don’t try to force a larger one into the interior as if you don’t keep the door shut snugly, you will never be able to keep the beer chilled. The result – one foamy mess. The appliance is quiet while operating and has been designed to run economically. I would highly recommend shelling out for a really great cleaning kit and build the cleaning regimen into your keg-maintenance routine.

Here’s a really great cleaning kit that easily looks after lines, taps etc. and remember not to scour or scratch the stainless steel finish.

Deluxe Beer Line Cleaning Kit

Deluxe Beer Line Cleaning Kit

This deluxe cleaning kit has all the brushes you need to get into nooks and crannies and also has a pound of Brew Clean, the best chemical (read, ‘safest’ and non flavor ruining!) you can buy for your kegerator. There’s no point in buying a kegerator and leaving it to build up gunk and sludge as the beer will be ruined, you’ll have a smelly mess in your BBQ area and probably get sick. Sicker than you would if you are drinking pure, icy beer!

Manuals on setting up and operating are provided and it is important to follow these instructions carefully. The manuals can also be downloaded online so when you spill beer on the paper versions, you have a backup.

The Summit comes with a one-year warranty on parts and labor and 5 years on the compressor. It is also environmentally friendly being 100% CFC free.

Technical Specifications

Well, I hope you’ve enjoyed this Kegerator review of the Summit professional outdoor kegerator. And, before I finish, don’t forget to double check these Technical Specifications and never forget California’s Prop 65 warning!

The power you need to run it? 115 volts, 60 cycle, 3 prong plug. Treat it right and it is energy efficient. Don’t continually open the door and don’t install in direct sunshine. It is one of the few outdoor kegerators on the market that gets high praise from all buyers.

It weighs 150 pounds and the dimensions are: . 34 1/2″h x 23 3/4″w x 26″d

For Californian residents: PROPOSITION 65 WARNING:
This product contains chemicals known to the State of California to cause cancer and/or birth defects or other reproductive harm.

No kegerator is a slam-dunk when you first put it in. It will take you a little effort to get used to correct settings in your environment. But if you persist. all the while ensuring that you follow the instructions, keeping the unit cool, all parts spotlessly clean and always using correct keg sizes, you will pay for it in beer savings over the first few years of owning the appliance, depending on how much you drink. In these economic times, doesn’t it give you a warm, fuzzy feeling to realize how much you can save by drinking more beer?