Summer Kegs: A Tap Line Straight To Your Fridge
Much of the year, the word keg almost smells like light beer-soaked frat house furniture. Yet during the summer, a keg is all sun, sand and beach volleyball. Neat trick. But unless you happen to own a private beach, it's best to leave that keg at home, as it's illegal to tap a keg on local public beaches (despite what L.A.'s keg superstore implies).
Finding a home-friendly keg has always been tricky. Sure, you could buy the standard 15.5-gallon keg (or a smaller 5-gallon version known as a sixtel, about two and a half cases of beer) for your patio and simply plop it outside for easy summer drinking. But there's the little problem of refrigeration. And oxidization. As soon as you tap a keg, it starts to lose its carbonation like a soda. Unless you're throwing a party, you can expect a long summer of warm, flat, and stale beer.
Not to worry, as there are 5-liter kegs, the equivalent of about 10 pints, that fit snugly in the fridge (particularly in the German lager and pilsner realm). But they still have that same next-day stale soda issue once they're tapped.
Enter the 5-liter "DraughtKegs" that hit the market a few years ago from from Heineken and Newcastle (owned by Heineken). They're the first true draft mini-keg, which means much like a pub's tap line, a CO2 compressor pushes the beer up the line to keep the beer from coming in direct contact with air. It stays fresh longer (30 days is the promise), and you simply pull the level on the tap to serve a beer (as opposed to working a pump, or flipping open a gravity tap on the standard keg).
Great idea. But then again, it helps to actually like Heineken and Newcastle. You could just go to a beachfront pub and, well, order a pint of whatever the hell you want.
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