The sun is shining and the weather is warm. It's time to enjoy the sunshine with the perfect outdoor barbecue. It's not a barbecue without the beer flowing but let's be real, bottles and cans are not the solutions. If anything, they're extremely wasteful. So, if you really want to take your outdoor get-together to the next level, you'll need one of these beer dispensers or beer storage options.
The king of beer dispense is the kegerator! Draft beer is not just for breweries and bars, it's for everyone who appreciates beer. Outdoor kegerators are designed to withstand the brutality of the outdoors and maintaining chill temperatures despite the ambient temperature it is placed in. These kegerators work efficiently outdoors to perfectly chill and serve your beers or beverages for continuous pours.
There's nothing quite like a kegerator when it comes to achieving the perfect pour every time. Kegerators deliver the most consistent temperature, taste, and mouthfeel every time. What makes the kegerator so superior to other dispense methods is the use of CO2 and a refrigerated cabinet. The CO2 dispense method ensures that the beer remains properly carbonated when dispensed and delivers that fresh tap taste that you can't get from a bottle, can, or other dispense methods.
It is also incredibly important to keep your keg consistently chilled to prevent your beer from foaming. Also, the temperature greatly affects the taste of your beer and prevents it from spoiling quickly. A kegerator has a powerful refrigerated cabinet that stores your kegs at the ideal temperature and keeps it cold until every last drop is dispensed.
If you really want to take your barbecue to the highest level, a kegerator is an upgrade you need! The party doesn't stop with a kegerator because you can continuously serve a full-sized keg with the most consistent great taste. Also, after set up, it takes no effort to pour and enjoy. Plus, if you choose to upgrade from a single tap to a dual tap or triple tap kegerator, you can enjoy up to three beverages simultaneously!
You really can't beat a kegerator when it comes to quality and taste. The beauty of an outdoor kegerator is that it can be built into a patio or barbecue area or it can be used freestanding, which means you can use it outdoors in the summer and indoors during the rest of the year! It's a very versatile appliance that will continue to deliver great-tasting draft beer for years with minimal maintenance and service.
The perfect tailgating dispenser, the jockey box is designed to be portable and for dispensing outdoors. These jockey boxes are designed to chill your beer while withstanding the heat from searingly hot concrete. Whether you're on the patio or in a parking lot, the elevated base of the cooler prevents the cooler from heating up when placed on a hot surface.
A jockey box is easy to set up and ideal for on-the-go outdoor applications. This dispense system uses one of two methods, a cooling plate or cooling coil to rapidly chill beer as it runs through the coil or plate. Learn more about jockey boxes and how the different methods chill your beer in our jockey box guide. The coils or plate is submerged in ice water, which is the only additional thing you'll need to start dispensing. We also recommend submerging your kegs in ice water to ensure the perfect pour all day long despite the hot summer temperature.
This dispense system is more affordable than a kegerator but it isn't as fool-proof as a kegerator. With a kegerator, you have a refrigerated cabinet to maintain the temperature of your kegs but with a jockey box, you don't get that luxury. You will have to place your keg in a large bucket or trash can filled with ice water. The issue with this is that you can't achieve a precise temperature and as your ice begins to melt, you will need to refresh your ice water for your keg and your jockey box or risk foamy and warm beer.
However, a jockey box is easier to store than a kegerator because it doesn't take up as much space. You can also store additional beverages in the jockey box cooler, which adds to the versatility of this beverage dispenser. This really is a great way to upgrade your summer barbecue with minimal effort and it delivers maximum payout.
A step down from the jockey box, a keg pump is a great and affordable way to upgrade your summer barbecue. You can get the fresh draft taste with minimal equipment, which is great for those who are beginners to draft beer dispense or you don't have the time for setting up a kegerator or jockey box.
Keg pumps are convenient for one day events and don't require very much cleaning and maintenance. However, a keg pump is ideal for when you expect to finish a keg because this dispense system using air to pump the beer out of the keg, and exposing your beer to air will cause it to degrade quickly. A keg will not stay fresh much longer than a day once you begin using a keg pump.
It does still effectively serve the same purpose as a kegerator or jockey box but it can be a bit trickier to use. You may find that the beer does not dispense as smoothly and perfectly as with a kegerator. You will also have to ensure your keg is constantly staying chilled to prevent foamy beer. This may mean you will have to constantly switch out the ice water in the vessel you submerge your keg in and that can be a lot of extra work during your summer barbecue.
Learn more about tapping a keg and how to use a keg pump in our guide. Another benefit of using a keg pump is being easily able to switch kegs in the middle of your barbecue without much effort because you don't have so many components. This also means that you aren't using CO2 to dispense your beer, which can affect the overall taste and quality. Still, it is one of the easiest and best easy to get the draft beer taste. It is significantly better than a bottle or can of beer.
If you want an affordable kegerator option, then DIY kegerator conversion kits are the way to go. A kegerator conversion kit includes everything you need to build yourself a kegerator! All you need to do is source a refrigerator or freezer. If you have the time and the motivation, it's actually quite easy to convert your refrigerator or freezer into a functioning kegerator.
With minimal effort, you can get the same high-quality draft beer taste you get from a kegerator. Using the same high-quality parts used in a professional kegerator, a conversion kit can be just as good as a kegerator. The benefit of building your own kegerator is the ability to fully customize your dispense system from the refrigerated cabinet to the dispense parts inside. You could create your ideal outdoor beverage dispenser with as many taps as you need, a stylized cabinet, and custom tap handles. Your outdoor brewery is about to be opened!
If you really don't have the time for setting up a jockey box, maybe a kegerator is out of your budget, or maybe you don't want to serve a whole keg; a growler is the perfect summer barbecue upgrade for you. A growler allows you to head to your local brewery to get it filled with fresh draft beer. The beauty of a growler is that it will preserve your draft beer at the peak of freshness and you can continue to get the fresh taste as long as you keep your growler chilled.
Due to their airtight caps, an unopened growler can last up to two to five weeks, however; there is a limit on one that has been opened. An opened growler will remain carbonated for 24 to 48 hours, which is just enough time to have an amazing summer barbecue! Growlers are a great way to enjoy draft beer without the equipment and the costs. However, you need to keep in mind you will be sacrificing some taste.
Growlers can also be used to empty out your kegs from your kegerator or jockey box so, you can hook up a new keg for dispensing. This way, you can keep the party going and never be out of beer. You can learn more about how to use and clean growlers in our guide.
These are the best ways to upgrade your summer barbecue but if you want to keep your party going, you need to ensure your beverage dispensers stay clean. Luckily, maintenance of these beverage dispensers is easy and it will greatly prolong the life of your dispensers. We recommend hand pump cleaning kits for kegerators, jockey boxes, and converted refrigerators. We have a thorough and detailed article on how to clean your kegerator here. As for growlers, you can use the same sanitizer you would use for cleaning all the other dispensers.
Upgrading your summer barbecues is easier than ever with the addition of a simple beverage dispenser. You can keep leveling up your summer fun with a variety of other products. Contact our team of experts at 800-710-9939 and ask them how you can upgrade your home and summer parties.