Eliminate the Beer Run: The Advantages of Home Draft Beer Systems

Having your very own home draft system is a dream come true for almost every beer geek. There’s nothing quite like enjoying a cold, draft beer in the comfort of your living room or backyard. Forget the hassle of opening beer bottles and the excess waste they create. Owning your own kegerator is the perfect set-up that every beer geek needs.

Types of Home Draft Beer Systems

There are several home draft beer systems you can choose from.  Before going out and buying the first kegerator you find, make sure you know the differences between the two most common types of kegerators so you know which one will be best for you.

Mini Kegerators

Mini Draft Beer System

The mini kegerator is the smallest kegerator that you will find. It’s designed to tap and serve a 5-liter keg, but only contains approximately 10½ pints. Because of its smaller size, it’s perfect for those that don’t drink beer very often. Additionally, if you don’t have much space in your kitchen or man-cave, then a mini draft beer system may be the best fit for you, because it can fit easily on a countertop or corner table.

Another great benefit of having a mini-kegerator, is how easy it is to find 5-liter kegs of beer. Many grocery stores carry them along with their six-packs and cases of beer. Specialty craft beer and liquor stores also typically carry a wide variety of 5-liter kegs.

Full Size Kegerators

Full Size Draft Beer System

The most common type of kegerator is the full size system. This is your typical draft beer system that you envision when you think of a kegerator. There are many kinds of full-size kegerators available to you. The two most common are the single-tap and the dual-tap.

Just like the draft beer system you see at your favorite bar, this system works the exact same way. You can fit many different size kegs into this larger single tap system, including half barrel kegs, pony kegs and slim quarter kegs. Each size keg will serve a different amount of beer, so be sure to know how much each size keg holds before you go out and buy more beer than you need. If you aren’t sure about how many beers are in a keg, it would be wise to check out our handy keg comparison chart.

Full size kegerators also work better at keeping your kegs at your chosen temperature. Make sure you get a home draft system that has foam insulation or refrigeration within the tower, as this helps keep the beer inside the lines stay at the right temperature before it’s poured.

Cleaning Your Draft System

Like anything you buy for your home, a home draft beer system does require a little bit of maintenance. Draft beer is ideally dispensed through a six-foot line that connects the keg and the faucet. It’s important to clean all of the components of your home kegerator regularly. Not only does this help protect your investment in the equipment, but it also ensures that you have the freshest, best-tasting beer.

Cleaning the various components of your system is easy and doesn’t take much time. We would recommend buying a cleaning kit because it will make the process much easier for you, but it is possible to clean your kegerator without a kit. For more information, please refer to our previous write-up that details how to clean your kegerator.

Don’t Forget About Glassware

Now that you have your home draft system set up and your beer is ready to be poured. We would also recommend getting a nice set of glassware. There are many different types of beer glasses available, so learn about the differences and buy a nice set. You’d be surprised how much better your beer tastes and smells when you drink it out of the right style of glass.

If you really want to go the extra mile with your beer glasses, then purchase a special kind of detergent designed for glassware. Your typical dish washing detergents can sometimes leave a slight film on the glass. You may not notice if this film affects the taste of your beverages, but it may cause the CO2 in your beer to break out and lead to it tasting somewhat flat.

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Mini Kegerators Aren’t Just For Beer

rootbeer mini keg

Mini kegerators are great for personal use and can also be utilized while entertaining. If you are using a full size kegerator to serve beer, a mini kegerator can be used to serve a nonalcoholic option. This gives you a wider variety of drinks to serve your guests. It’s also a nice option to have if you are entertaining people who don’t drink alcohol or if there will be children at your party.

Virgil’s makes mini kegs of Root Beer and Cream Soda that can be served with a mini kegerator.  The benefit of the mini kegerator is that it will add CO2 and make for a faster, more carbonated pour. Not to mention drinking soda from a keg is a pretty darn fun and is sure to amuse party guests.

Mini Keg Beers for the Mini Kegerator

EdgeStar Mini Kegerator

If you’re a draft beer lover like I am, there is something to be said for bottled beers. The beers they contain are delicious, but something about them being in a bottle just doesn’t taste as good as if they’re poured right from the tap. Unfortunately, most grocery and liquor stores force you to buy the bottles, and there is no way around the fact that you’ll have to drink bottled beer yet again.

That is where the 5 liter keg comes in. It was designed by draft lovers, just like you, to allow you to serve fresh draft beer in your home without having to buy a keg or build a home bar. We love these specialized kegs, but not every beer brand comes in this size. So, to help you out, we’ve compiled a list of a few brands that you will be sure to love on draft. If you’ve had them, try them on draft; if you haven’t had them, then be sure to put them on your grocery list!

 

heineken mini kegHeineken Lager

As one of the most popular European beer brands, Heineken’s unmistakable look and label has given the beer increased notoriety over the last few decades. This clean-tasting lager is malty and has a nice bite to it, and the most distinctive part of this beer is its “skunky” smell, meaning that the hops really take effect in the aroma of the beer. A good mix of sweet and bitter, this Dutch beer goes down smooth.

ABV: 5%

 

newcastle mini kegNewcastle Brown Ale

Newcastle Brown Ale is heralded by critics, thanks to its sweet and nutty flavor that seems to please most beer drinkers. Originating from Britain, the brown ale has hints of caramel, a malty taste, and a creamy texture that is easy to drink. The light body also gives this beer a certain quenching aspect that enables you to drink several without getting too full.

ABV: 4.7%

 

Coors Light Mini KegCoors Light Lager

Coors Light, one of the major American brews enjoyed by millions, is a thirst-quenching beer with a light body for easy consumption. The crystal clear beer features notes of grains and high carbonation, which is great for those who don’t like heavy or dark beers. A crisp finish and clean taste, this beer can be enjoyed by people of different tastes and styles.

ABV: 4.2%

 

Paulaner Mini KegPaulaner Oktoberfest Marzen Amber

A local favorite in Germany, the Paulaner Oktoberfest was a seasonal beer that was so popular, the brewery decided to brew it year-round. Very malty and sweet, this beer is great for those who don’t like an aggressively bitter taste, and the medium body has hints of bread and butter. Because of the malty taste, this beer goes down smooth and quite easily and leaves a bit of an aftertaste to enjoy.

ABV: 6%

 

DAB Mini KegDAB Original Lager

The DAB lager is a German pilsner with a very earthy smell and rich golden color. A simple beer, the taste of bread, malt, and hops are the key notes taken away from the taste, while a slight citrusy flavor combines to provide a great aftertaste. The light body allows for it to quench your thirst with ease, while the crisp flavor will leave your taste buds satisfied.

ABV: 5%

 

Widmer Mini KegWidmer Hefeweizen

This popular American brew is a slight mix between a hefeweizen and a wheat beer, as the taste is wheaty with a mix of a citrus flavor like most wheat beers. The medium body ensures that it will be lighter than wheat beers, but the overall light taste is reminiscent of a hefeweizen. With a malty feel and distinct taste, this hefeweizen will be sure not to disappoint.

ABV: 4.9%

 

Bell's Oberon Mini KegBell’s Oberon Wheat Ale

A typical wheat beer, Bell’s Oberon has a full wheat taste with a hint of citrus for flavor, as well as a nice, hoppy taste that will mix together well. A sweet, floral aroma entices you to drink more, while the malty texture mixes in with the smells and tastes to create a wonderful drink. The sweet flavor and medium body is great for drinking in the summertime, which is the only time this beer is in stores.

ABV: 5.8%

 

Rogue Yellow Snow Mini KegRogue Yellow Snow IPA

In the traditional fashion of most IPAs, Rogue Yellow Snow features high notes of hops, but it also has a citrusy bite to it that gives the beer some flavor. Beer drinkers should note that, like most IPAs, the bitterness of the hops in this beer takes over as the main flavor. With a hazy feel and medium body, this beer will quench your thirst as well as fill you up, and the aftertaste has hints of pine and, of course, hop.

ABV: 6.2%

 

Bitburger Mini KegBitburger Premium Pilsner

This light pilsner hails from Germany, and – as most pilsners – is very golden in color, and features a grainy aroma. However, Bitburger is a bit of an anomaly when it comes to pilsners, as it has a more hoppy flavor than others thanks to its origin. This beer provides a good balance of spice and bitters with malt to give a good, crisp taste.

ABV: 4.8%

 

Spaten Mini KegSpaten Premium Lager

Originating in Germany, the Spaten Premium lager is an easy beer to drink, thanks to the smooth taste and light body. The grassy, earthy aroma gives a clue to the taste: an herbal taste with a small amount of hops. A malty texture is another feature of this beer, and the balanced flavors make for an overall enjoyable drinking experience.

ABV: 5.2%

 

Warsteiner Mini KegWarsteiner Premium Verum

As a German pilsner, the Warsteiner Premium has a straw-colored yellow look with a crisp, light taste. The mild hop flavorings do not tend to overshadow the rest of the beer, and a malty sweet flavor tends to carry through the initial taste. A very simplistic but refreshing beer, the carbonation level is not too high, which is great for being able to taste the subtle notes inside.

ABV: 4.8%

 

Feel free to leave a note in the comments if I missed any!