No matter which method of dispensing is used, remember to keep the keg chilled to 38° F for both dispensing and storage. There are a wide variety of methods available for dispensing draft beer at a party.
Keg party pumps are the most commonly used method to dispense draft beer at parties. Pressure to dispense the beer is provided by a hand operated pump which is used to pump air into the keg. Party pumps are generally used in single keg special events environments, with the beer being consumed within a few hours, because the outside air pumped into the keg will cause a bacteria reaction that will spoil the beer within 8-12 hours.
Party dispensing systems that use CO2 are the ultimate way to dispense draft beer at a party. The pressure is provided by a CO2 tank so there is no need to pump the keg as with a traditional party pump. Just open the faucet and let the beer flow.
Using CO2 will maintain the freshness of draft beer longer than party pumps which add unfiltered air to the keg. If the draft beer is kept at the proper temperature and pressure, this type of dispensing will allow the beer to remain fresh for 45-120 days. (See How long will a keg of draft beer remain fresh?)
Basic CO2 party dispensing systems are easy to dispense the draft beer either through a hose with plastic picnic faucet or a upright dispensing rod with attached traditional chrome faucet which makes an excellent professional presentation! Party coolers, also known as jockey boxes, are a great way to keep the draft beer flowing. The beer is run through either a stainless steel coil or aluminum cold plate that is covered with ice. This chills the draft beer just before it dispensed from the faucet to assure a ice cold glass of beer.
Portable dispensers are wheeled draft beer dispensers complete with a draft beer tower and drip tray. These mobile units are ideal for special events and catering. Clamp-on towers are an inexpensive way to dispense draft beer in a temporary location. These mount easily with a built-in clamp, and are used with a small 8 quart cooler to chill the beer. This creates a fast and very professional way to dispense draft beer.