Commercial Walk-In Beer Coolers 101

October 30th, 2014

Your guide to commercial beer coolers

For commercial establishments serving multiple varieties of beer on tap, having a walk in beer cooler is essential. This piece of equipment keeps multiple kegs of beer in the optimal 36-38°F temperature zone, ensuring that all of the draft beer served in the establishment will remain fresh, perfectly, chilled, and perfectly carbonated for serving.

walk in coolerCommercial walk in coolers operate under similar principles to kegerators—which is to say, they are specially designed for the purpose of keeping keg beer cold. The main difference here is scale, in terms of the number of kegs that the cooler can hold. A kegerator can hold anywhere from 1 to 8 kegs, which is great for home bars or for establishments that have only a few varieties of draft beer to offer. Most restaurants and bars, though, will want something larger. Some bars can have as many as 40 or more different beers on tap, and need a walk in cooler sized to match!

Inside the walk in cooler, the kegs should be arranged strategically to prevent tangling of the beer lines, and to prevent accidentally disrupting the beer system equipment when changing out a keg. There needs to be ample space for the kegs being tapped, and the individual beer lines, plus space to maneuver new kegs into place. You should also have space inside the cooler to store backups of your most popular kegs so that you can quickly and easily change them when needed. Specially designed rolling shelving units can improve your use of space and ensure easy access to your kegs, as can individual keg stackers. Both can be used either for organizing tapped kegs or keeping them safely stored until it’s time for them to be used.

In addition to your walk in beer cooler, you’ll also need a system for keeping your beer cold as it travels down the beer lines from the keg to the actual tap. Depending on how far your cooler is from your dispense point, you’ll want either an air- cooled draft system or a glycol- cooled draft system to keep your beer cold between points A and B. A general rule of thumb is that air-cooled draft systems work well when your keg in the cooler and your dispense point is only a couple of feet apart.Glycol-cooled systems are needed for when the keg cooler is in a remote area from the point of dispense. Individual restaurant and bar setups can be quite different, though, so be sure to ask an installation expert if you’re unsure of the best options for your space.

Though there are many standard sizes available for walk in beer coolers, commercial establishments with specific needs including unusual layouts or large numbers of kegs on tap may want to consider getting a beer cooler custom designed for their specific needs.

Do you have specific questions about walk in beer coolers and beer refrigeration systems? Get in touch with us today!

keg cooler howells and hood

Hosting a Home-Brewed Beer Tasting Party

October 30th, 2014

Every home brewer knows that brewing up beer is only half the fun. Once you’ve created your secret recipe and brewed it to delicious perfection, you need to show it off! Here’s how to host an unforgettable home- brewed beer tasting party that will make you a local celebrity among your beer- loving friends.

Beer tasting party ideas

The first element of any beer-tasting party is, of course, the brew itself. Once you’ve made your tasty, tasty beverages, you need to be able to serve them! The best way to do this is with a home kegerator, or keg refrigerator, which will keep your brew at the your perfect desired temperature for the optimum level of taste and carbonation. A kegerator kit can convert an ordinary refrigerator into a home brewer’s personal source of beer on tap, or you can invest in a specialized system for dispensing your beverage masterpieces. Ideally, your dispensing system should be equally as epic as your brew.

The next step, once the beer is sorted, and the beer kegs have been tapped, is figuring out your ideal foods to go with what you’ve brewed. The best approach is to treat your food pairings like tapas, with small plates designed to complement the beer that you’re serving.

If your home brew is a pilsner or light lager, pair it with lighter foods so that your flavors will complement rather than compete with one another. Spring or summer rolls are good options, as are all varieties of sushi. If you prefer to use a cheese pairing, a creamy brie is an excellent option, particularly with fresh berries or peaches in the summer. If your home brew is an IPA, try pairing it with something slightly spicy like kimchi fried rice, curry, or spicy black bean nachos. For a cheese pairing, try a spicy camembert. If you’ve brewed up a porter or similarly dark brew, you can choose foods with a strong enough flavor to stand up to the porter’s intensity. Rich, buttery cheeses make an excellent pairing: a wensleydale or stilton work well here, along with a nice, crusty bread. You might also include some grapes or figs to add some sweetness to the mix. Alternately, porters go amazingly well with chocolate and chocolate desserts.

If you’ve been awesome enough to brew up multiple types of beer and ale, it’s best to go in courses, serving the lighter brews first and then moving to the darker brews. That way, you’re moving from the most subtle flavors to the boldest flavors, rather than the other way around.

Once you’ve tapped your keg(s) and set your menu, the only thing left to do is to bring your friends over and indulge! Show off your mad brewing skills and your extensive knowledge of home bar equipment, and inspire your friends to try home brewing themselves. Then eat, drink, and be merry knowing that you have the best home brew—and the best home brew party—in town!

The Vineyard Is Now On Tap! From The Winery… Straight To Your Glass

October 14th, 2014
glass of wine from a tap

Image by Daniel Horacio Agostini

A good glass of wine is one of the great pleasures in life. A glass of wine that’s gone bad is significantly less pleasant, but keeping wine fresh is a surprisingly difficult task—one that can be solved using tap wine systems. These innovative systems, which resemble draft beer systems, preserve your wine in the optimal conditions to keep it fresh and flavorful from the moment it leaves the winery to the moment it hits your glass.

How exactly does serving wine by the keg help keep wine fresh? We’re so glad you asked!

Wine is vulnerable to both oxidation and fluctuation in temperatures, meaning that improper transportation and storage can damage and change the taste of the wine before the bottle is even opened. Once the bottle is opened, exposure to air will cause the wine to oxidize and go bad within a matter of days. Fortunately, the power of technology means that in the modern era these problems have an easy fix.  By storing and serving wine in kegs instead of in bottles, you can protect the wine from both changes in temperature and exposure to oxygen. Your wine will stay fresher, longer, so that you have the perfect taste in every glass.

First and foremost, kegs are more resistant to temperature changes than are bottles. Partly this is due to materials: stainless steel kegs will change temperature less than glass bottles. In addition, the volume of wine in a keg means that even when the keg itself becomes over heated or over cooled, the wine will take longer to change temperature than it would in a smaller container. This advantage means that your wine will be less susceptible to the unpredictable conditions of storage and transportation that can happen between the winery and your establishment.

Holland Wine Font - Single Tap - Polished Chrome Finish - Air Cooled

Second, serving wine by the keg keeps the wine significantly fresher than serving it from bottles, because it prevents the oxidation that causes spoilage. When wine is served from a bottle and then re-corked, the air inside the bottle will cause the wine to oxidize. The wine will then spoil within a matter of days, meaning that you may have to throw away bottles of wine from which you’ve served only one or two glasses. When wine is served from a keg, however, the problem of oxidation is eliminated, as is the problem of waste.  Once the keg has been tapped, the wine inside it is kept under pressure with a mixture of nitrogen and carbon dioxide gases. No oxygen remains within the keg. Because of this unique system, wine on tap can be kept for a full year after the keg is opened and taste perfect every single day.

With the incredible technological advantages of wine on tap systems solving the primary problems of temperature and oxidation, you gain a competitive advantage that few others can claim. The wine you serve your clients will taste exactly the way that the vintners intended—it’s almost as though your tap system is a direct link between the winery and the glass!

Intrigued? Find everything you need to set up your own wine dispensing system today!